The Pocahontas Land Corporation has roots in the 1880s rush to acquire land and coal resources in the Flat Top Coal Field in southern West Virginia. Frederick Kimball, president of the Norfolk & Western Railway, formed the Flat-top Coal Land Association, corporate ancestor of the Pocahontas Land Corporation, to oversee the purchasing and development of coal lands. With headquarters in Bramwell, the company eventually acquired more than 300,000 acres, mostly in McDowell and Mercer counties. In 1901, the Flat-top Coal Land Association was reorganized as the Pocahontas Coal & Coke Company. In 1925 the company moved to Bluefield, and in 1939 changed its name to Pocahontas Land Corporation.
In announcing its centennial in 2001, the company reported that 1.7 billion tons of coal had been mined from Pocahontas lands since 1901 with another 1.7 billion in reserve. Holdings now extend far beyond southern West Virginia. By 2002, the corporation and its subsidiary, Pocahontas Development Corporation, had gained control of 1.05 million acres of natural resource properties in Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. In 2009, the company reported that total production from its properties had grown to 1.97 billions tons of coal with 23 million tons produced in that year alone.
Pocahontas Land Corporation has donated property for public uses such as the Hatfield-McCoy Trail and the Twisted Gun Golf Course, the latter built on reclaimed surface mine property in Mingo County. The Pocahontas Land Corporation remains a subsidiary of the Norfolk Southern Corporation, which is the successor to Norfolk & Western.
This Article was written by Kenneth R. Bailey
Last Revised on October 22, 2010
Sullivan, Charles Kenneth. Coal Men and Coal Towns: Development of the Smokeless Coalfields of Southern West Virginia, 1873-1923. New York: Garland Publishing, 1989.