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The Whipple Company Store, located on State Route 612 south of Oak Hill, was built by coal operator Justus Collins in the early 20th century. As the commercial and social center for the mining town of Whipple and surrounding communities, the store housed offices for Whipple Colliery Company, the post office and doctor. The store stocked the necessities for a household, from food to furniture.

Collins started the Whipple Colliery Company in the late 1890s. In 1906, the New River Company bought several Fayette County mines, including Whipple. The Whipple store was renamed New River Company Store No. 4.

The most prominent building in town, the two-story wooden structure sits on a cut sandstone foundation. The six-sided first floor is topped by an octagon-shaped second floor. An arch frames the building’s main entrance, which leads to a large circular area on the first floor. From this circular space, doors allow access to smaller rooms next to the outer walls. The store building is an eye-catching landmark and a reminder of earlier times in the coalfields.

The Whipple Company Store is one of four identical stores that were built in the early 1900s in the New River area. The earliest one was constructed in 1893 in Glen Jean for the Collins Colliery Company. In 1900, the store burned and was rebuilt. The third store was constructed in Prudence. The last to be built, the Whipple store is the only one still standing.

In 1957, the Whipple mine shut down and the store closed. Reopened as a trading post, the store operated until the late 1980s, when it was used as a private residence. In 1991, the Whipple Company Store was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Whipple Company Store was listed as an Endangered Property by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia in 2011. The current owners operate the store as a museum and offer guided tours.

Read the National Register of Historic Places nomination.

This Article was written by Nancy Ray Adams

Last Revised on August 22, 2013

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Sources

"." National Register of Historic Places Nomination, West Virginia Division of Culture & History, 1991.

Cite This Article

Adams, Nancy Ray "Whipple Company Store." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 22 August 2013. Web. 15 December 2018.

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