Sunday, August 30, 2009

West Virginia Camping-Part 3

One of the days, the boys and I took off to Beckeley. Pooh wanted to see some kind of museum. That's his thing. I looked and found an Exhibition Coal Mine right in Beckeley. We were able to go on an underground tour of the mine.

Here the boys are on the little train cars that you ride into the mine. You stay on these the whole time and there are little places the guide will stop and show you interesting memorabilia. They are wearing jackets because it's always about 58F in the mine. Pretty chilly for a summer day.
Here's our guide. He was a coal miner for 39 years. One of the ladies in another car asked him if he had health problems. He gave an emphatic yes! He has a bad knee and lung issues. He said he figured if he stopped moving he'd die so he keeps moving.
We saw a 1 ton car that was used in this mine and a 2 ton car that was for show. Tigger really enjoyed when the guide showed us the various forms of lighting the miners used over the years. One of them almost seems like magic. You have to do a little movement with your hand, you hear a loud POP! and the light comes on. He gave a lot of little facts that showed how the 'company' owned you when you mined. You shopped at the 'company' store. You were given 'company' money. Most of the old timey miners never had real money, just company money. It's very sad.

Although, the same type of thing can happen nowadays, just in a different form. Enron anyone? Greed, pure and simple.

Another cool thing is the old buildings they had around the mine. They had the Superintendent's house and Schoolroom. All you Charlotte Mason lovers would die at the old books they had in there. Mostly books from the late 1800's and early 1900's.

There was also an older homestead. Here are the boys in the one room school house built in the 1830's. They are using feather pens to write their names. The tour guide told them how the kids had to do all their lessons with these feather pens. Tedious work! The liquid is made from Elderberries which I thought was interesting. That's the main ingredient in Sambucol--a product many take during the winter to boost their immune system.

After one try, Tigger managed to get all three wooden pieces moving at the same time on the little whirligig they had there! Determined and talented!! :D

In the house, she told them to go upstairs and look at the floor. Bear skin rug!

And, finally, don't they look like they've worked in a coal mine all day? LOL

Never a serious picture in this family.
By the way, if I were to recommend a time to go, it would be fall. The leaves would be beautiful and according to our coal mine guide, it's less wet in the fall. The mine was very wet and drippy. I think there was a part he couldn't take us to in there because of the water puddles.

And that's it for the West Virginia trip! Hope you enjoyed touring with us!