This April, the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Blair mountain, the West Virginia site of a 1921 labor confrontation, as one of the country’s most threatened historic places.
“Past preservation efforts have failed because of fierce opposition from the coal companies that own or lease most of the ridge,” said the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Hobet Mining, Arch Coal, Massey Energy Company and Aracoma Coal Company, were identified as intending to strip mine the site, which would destroy the battlefield.
“It is particularly important, given the recent mining tragedies in West Virginia, that we not lose this symbol of the bravery and determination of union miners to improve their working conditions,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust. “It is incumbent upon the property owners and preservationists to work together to permanently protect and interpret this little known but highly significant historic place.”
“It is certainly ironic that we have to talk about preserving a mountain, which has been around since time began,” said Denise Giardina, a West Virginia writer whose novel Storming Heaven was set at the Battle of Blair Mountain. “But that is the horrifically absurd position we find ourselves in. It will take the efforts of a national organization like the National Historic Trust to bring it off.”