Welch History Notable: 62 years ago today, May 9th, 1959, JFK was in Welch on the campaign trail. He visited Welch several times that year (April 26 and May 3) and he visited Gary, WV mining facilities along the way.
Why is Welch, WV Called CoalTown, USA?
Nestled in the picturesque Appalachian Mountains, Welch is the county seat of McDowell County, WV. Also known as CoalTown, USA, our city remembers our coal mining heritage and honors that many of our citizens, currently carry on this tradition and proudly call themselves WV Coal Miners.
We invite you to come and visit our town, learn our history, enjoy our special events, and embrace this unique place in the heart of Coal Country.
Welch, West Virginia is known is a city built on coal. However, it is a historic community in the heart of the mountains, where outdoor recreation, like ATV riding and hiking, are as abundant as the peace and quiet found on our safe streets.
Since the establishment of McDowell County in 1858, the main source of income for its residents has been derived from the coal mining industry. The population boomed during the 1950s and 1960s and reached more than 100,000 residents in the area.
Despite its smaller footprint today, coal mining continues to drive industry and commerce in Welch and the establishment of CoalTown, USA celebrates the future, while also remembering the heritage that made The City of Welch strong.
Visitors will also enjoy learning about our diverse and storied history, which showcases the Appalachian perseverance that helped build America and how Welch, WV continues trail blazing ahead into the future...
The City of Welch, West Virginia
NATIONAL COAL MINERS DAY
National Coal Miners' Day Commemorated in Welch, WV Welch, WV Coal Miners' Day Proclamation
Whereas, Coal Mining is an important part of our economics, history, and culture in McDowell County, we recognize National Coal Miners Day in The City Welch to honor our Coal Miners on this most special day, and;
Whereas, West Virginia Coal Miners are a vital part of our community and our local families rely on their dedication and hard work in helping provide many of the products essential to America’s most vital needs, and;
Whereas, this notable honor is for each coal miner who demonstrates an extraordinary responsibility by working in this mines; while also serving as community leaders, parents, and role models in the City of Welch and the surrounding area.
Therefore, each of our Coal Miners shall be commended today and everyday hereafter, as we extended our heartfelt appreciation and respect for their efforts in this essential career field.
As the Mayor of Welch, WV, I proclaim that we acknowledge each and every coal miner in Welch, WV, and the surrounding area, on this important occasion, National Coal Miners Day.
The City of Welch extends to our sincere appreciation and prayer for their continued safety and success by official proclamation on this day, December 6, 2022.
Harold McBride, Sr., Mayor, City of Welch, WV
Meet The African-American Miners of McDowell County
Starting in 1870, thousands of African Americans and European Immigrants came to West Virginia to become coal miners. African Americans workers were drawn to West Virginia to escape the economic challenges and oppressive living conditions of the south after the Civil War. Many European Immigrants came to the area to pursue the American Dream and established ethic communities in Coal Camps in McDowell County, WV. They found commonalities in being near their fellow Italians, Hungarians, Poles, Austrians, and Russians since many didn’t speak English when they arrived. This collaborative group of men with lots of optimism and determination rose to the challenge of Appalachian mountain life and became Coal Miners. The worked in the coal mines with an optimistic hope of building a better life for their families. By 1909, African Americans and European Immigrants made up over 60 percent of West Virginia mine workers. These miners exerted a powerful influence upon the culture in the Coalfields that we still experience today in the region in our foods and traditions. These workers were also instrumental in creating early organized labor movements that led to mining regulations and safety standards we see today in the industry. Mining was considered one of the nation’s most hazardous occupations and when miners died, which was common, their bereaved families were evicted from company-owned houses immediately and left to fend for themselves. Today, while still dangerous, coal mining has strict safety standards in place and workers are prepared with training and equipment. We honor all Coal Miners and their families in Coaltown, USA. We’ve created the CoalTown Miner’s Gallery of Honor to recognize miners who built the community we love in Coaltown, USA! If you have Coal Miner that you’d like to honor, please email us a photo, name, and years they worked in the mine and where and we will add them to the Miner’s Gallery of Honor.
Photo (left) Michael Edwards Jr. EDM #1
2011 to present, Shuttle Car Operator Mine Rescue Team
Click on the scrolling gallery below to meet more McDowell County Miners.
(Click on any photo to learn more about the individual miner.)
MCDOWELL COUNTY MINERS
Something for Everyone
History doesn't define Welch... People Do!
Our citizen continue to grow our great community.
We invite visitors to explore how our town has evolved and progressed over the last century...
If you are a McDowell County Coal Miner or have someone you would like to honor, please send an email to the email@example.com. We will ask for the miners name, location of mine area, years of service and a photograph that we can post online in our Miner's Gallery.
Welch offers several annual events that celebrate our town and heritage. You can learn about each one by visiting our EVENTS page. Several highlights include the WV CoalFields Cookoff, the WV State BBQ Championships the second weekend in June, The CoalTown Beach Bash celebrated on the Fourth of July weekend, the CoalTown Fall Festival, held the third weekend in September, the Welch Haunted Hayride in October, The Veterans Day Parade in November and the CoalTown Christmas activities in December. We also recognize National Coal Miners Day on each December 6th and the New Years Coal Drop on December 31. Learn more...
The Indian Ridge ATV Trail
The Indian Ridge ATV Trail System is part of the larger Hatfield-McCoy trail system, which is one of the largest off road trails in the world. We offer a nice variety of trails of all difficulty levels. This trail offers access to Welch, which is an ATV friendly community. We invite you to rest, fill up gas, get a bite to eat, and visit our ATV geared businesses.
This trail also connects with two others in the larger Hatfield McCoy Trail System. Pinnacle Creek and Pocahontas will allow you to extended your off-road trips in Wild and Wonderful WV. Learn More Here...
The City of Welch offers individual events or annual sponsorships that offers outstanding benefits and unique opportunities for your brand and company in CoalTown, USA. Partner with us and provide a refreshingly fun, healthy, local activity for all ages while providing a big "WOW" for clients, vendors and employees. To discuss sponsorship and advertising opportunities contact Andrea Ball 301-335-2715 (mobile) or send a message to this page.
Recreation & Lodging
Three Picnic Shelters, each can be reserved all day for $25 by contacting City Hall at (304) 436-3113 All visitors must abide by Park Rules. Amenities include basketball, tennis and volleyball courts and a swimming pool.
Martha Moore Riverfront Park
Located in the center of downtown Welch, this riverfront park offers free WiFi and beautiful view of the Tug River.
Lodging in McDowell
The City of Welch is committed to supporting media by providing the latest news for residents and visitors. We post press releases, updates on events, and pertinent city information. We work with the media to promote CoalTown, USA as a great place to live and work, and as a tourism destination. We invite journalists interested to contact us and schedule a guided visit or interview. Visit our newsroom for the latest News in Welch, WV.
Veterans Day Parade in Welch
The country’s longest running Veterans Day Parade found a new way to carry on in McDowell County. The Welch Veterans Day parade took place every year for the last 105 years.
Stories of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns...
Gerard Flanagan, photo credits
The incredible Dr. William (Bill) H. Turner, author of The Harlan Renaissance: Stories of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns. Dr. Turner is the premier expert on the history, existence and influence of Black people in America’s Appalachian region. Listen to Dr. Turner as he shares his personal stories along with Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns by clicking on the video to the right.
The Jack Caffrey Arts
& Cultural Center
The Jack Caffrey Arts & Cultural Center, located at 143 Wyoming Street is a historically renovated structure that welcomes heritage, education and business to the City of Welch. Through community involvement, sales, and education, the Jack Caffrey Arts & Cultural Center supports Appalachian traditions, history, arts and crafts, offering year-round art exhibits, and special events. The gift shop is a great place to purchase CoalTown USA gifts, keepsakes and souvenirs. To organize your upcoming event, you can book event space from the JCACC. To learn more, (304)436-3113 or visit www.coaltownusa.org.
Currently, two single office spaces and a large event space are available for rent. Please contact (304) 436-5392 for details.