About The Town of Pocahontas
The Town of Pocahontas owns and operates the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum, a National Historic Landmark and Virginia’s official “coal heritage zone.” The “show mine,” as many locals call it, features tours from retired coal miners into the real mine that served as the birthplace of the world-famous Pocahontas #3 coal that heated homes across the United States and was the chosen fuel of the United States Navy. The exhibition mine, open from April-October annually, features a 13-foot tall coal seam. There is also a museum and education center located in the mine’s former powerhouse.
The town also features a registered Virginia Historic site, the Pocahontas Cemetery. The cemetery features graves that are over 100 years old and a mass grave of coal miners killed in a mine explosion in Pocahontas on March 13, 1884. Each year, the town holds a ceremony at the cemetery to remember the more than 114 coal miners killed in the explosion.
The town is also home to St. Elizabeth’s Roman Catholic Church which features ten life-sized murals on the ceiling and walls of the church. The church also holds an annual Hungarian cabbage roll dinner to honor the European heritage of the coalfields.
The Pocahontas State Correctional Center was completed in the summer of 2007, and officially opened on September 5, 2007. The medium-security prison can house around 1,000 inmates and provide around 300 jobs. Unfortunately, the state brought the prison employees from other states and hired only 10 local employees.
Plans are currently in place to develop a “tourist train” from nearby Bramwell, West Virginia in Mercer County, to the coal community. Railroad has recently been donated towards the project, and the project is endorsed by Democrat U.S. Congressman Frederick “Rick” Boucher from Virginia’s Ninth District. Virginia also created a “Tourist Train Commission,” for the project.