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I have been working with the collection since late and several SCUA staff had been involved with it since the collection first arrived in The collection is a behemoth with 7, maps, about 3, survey books and ledgers, numerous photographs, and much more. When I was processing the collection a few years ago, I was very fortunate to have a student majoring in mining and minerals engineering here at Tech working on the project.

Ryan Mair graduated inbut before he left, he drafted a couple of blog posts about the collection, since he had extensive knowledge about it and the mining industry. This map in Figure 1 is a production scheduling map of the Itmann No. Maps of this type are used to depict the planned progression of mining operations with respect to a standard unit of time.

This particular map progresses each future section of mining by year. The production schedule presented by this map was to start in and continue until the year The colored sections of the map represent what year coal production will occur in that area of the mine.

Black lines are used to depict the property lease line and surface features, such as the buildings of the preparation plan. These mines extracted coal from the No. Coal from the Pocahontas seams was highly sought after because of its rare quality. Pocahontas coal was especially prized by the U. Navy because it produces high temperatures while emitting little to no visible smoke when burned. The mines depicted in the Itmann map Figure 1 use two different methods to extract coal from the earth.

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Mines No. The shape of the pillars is typically that of a square or rectangle. Pillar dimensions vary with every mine de but are are reliant upon the mechanical properties of the coal and the geological stresses present in the mine. The No. Retreat mining is done at the end of the life of a mine when the coal deposit had been depleted through normal room and pillaring.

Retreat mining is not always done due to the danger associated with it the unpredictable nature of the roof collapse. By removing selected pillars the mine roof or back is allowed to collapse while additional stress is placed on the remaining pillars. In some cases too much stress can be placed on a pillar. When a pillar reaches its maximum stress and fails, it shatters, sending rock and coal fragments violently through the air Itmann by the caving of roof around the area where the pillar once stood. A diagram of this method can be seen in Figure 3. As the machine cuts the coal free from the working face, an armored conveyor running parallel with the face transports the coal away.

As the cutting and conveyor system move forward, it leaves the unsupported rock layers above to cave in a controlled manner in an chat behind the machine. To protect the longwall mining system and the miners at the west face, numerous large hydraulic shields support the roof near the working face. These shields advance with each pass of the cutting head across the face. Longwall mines have considerably faster production capacities than traditional room and pillar mining but have more delays associated with the step and transportation of the equipment.

The bleeders serve to open up a path to the area while providing pathways for the ventilation of fresh air to the area. The bleeders are especially needed in the case of mining coal that contains high amounts of entrapped methane gas which is highly virginia.

With the bleeder it is possible to degas or render the gas inert with enough fresh airflow. The pillars in bleeder entries are mature called chain pillars and are left intact throughout the life of the mine to protect the ventilation and passageways. In the northern section of the Itmann map Figure 1there are two geologic features that are identified. The two areas shaded in red denote areas where the coal on the property is less than 36 inches thick.

Areas of deep underground coal that are less than 36 inches of coal are essentially too thick to mine profitably. Additionally, such areas make it difficult for both miner and machine to maneuver effectively.

Partings can be less than one inch to several feet in thickness. Thick partings are areas of coal to avoid when mining since the harder rock of the parting can excessively wear or damage cutting he and requires more intense processing of the coal material at the surface plant. The Itmann No. On December 16th,eight day shift miners had finished their shift and were exiting their working area of the Cabin Creek 4-Panel via an electrically powered rail car known as a portal bus Figure 4.

Unbeknownst to the miners, highly explosive methane gas had built up in the section.

While in motion the portal bus trolley wire harp, which transfers electricity from the trolley wire to the portal bus, briefly disconnected from the wire. Such disconnections are common and are part of the de of the system but often result in an electrical sparking.

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This electrical sparking caused the ignition of the surrounding methane gas and propagated into a explosive wave. The blast wave and flames killed five miners instantly and seriously burned the other three. The blast force was also strong enough to blow out 14 permanent stoppings of cinderblock construction in the section.

The Fries Textile Mill was established in by Col. Francis Henry Fries, then the president of Wachovia Bank.

He built the mill on a bend in the New River, which he had dammed in order to provide power for his new venture. He also built a town nearby to house, educate, and supply the employees of the mill. For 85 years, the town of Fries and its people were overseen by the company administration, which owned and operated the school, the stores, and the housing. The mill processed cotton from large bales that were brought in via train into a variety of finished fabrics, which they sent all over the country.

Through the years, this fabric was used to make gloves, fine garments, military uniforms, and many other industrial and commercial goods. The mill managed to stay open during the Great Depression by dramatically cutting hours without firing workers in order to keep at least a little money coming in for all of its employees, and stashing the fabric produced in a warehouse the company owned in New York.

It also meant that it had plenty of stock on hand for World War II, when textiles were in high demand and many mills had closed. It was employing more people than ever and utilizing the most state-of-the-art technologies and techniques to create high quality cotton-based fabrics. Unfortunately, as time wore on the mill began to decline. The infrastructure necessary to maintain a competitive edge in the textile industry was expensive to acquire and maintain, and pressure from a globalizing market made it all the more difficult, so a series of owners decided to simply sell the business on.

After several such transfers, the mill finally closed in Because the company had effectively owned the town of Fries for the better part of a century, the reactions to its closure were understandably negative. The binding force of the community had disappeared, and the town suffered.

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However, many residents chose to stay and forge a new way of life around that bend in the New River. The mill building itself was torn down not long after, and now all that remains is a bare patch next to the dam. Because of the terms under which this collection was given to Virginia Tech, it had largely sat in the backlog at Special Collections since it was acquired inalthough an inventory was conducted and several boxes of papers were partially processed in the interim.

The work of Special Collections and the town of Fries, as well as a recent grant from the NHPRC, has allowed me to finish processing the entire collection boxes! This processing included removing damaging metal fasteners pictured is a small fraction of the staples removed from collection materialsrehousing the documents, getting intellectual control over the collection by creating a detailed inventory of folder titles, dates, and interventions, and evaluating any preservation or privacy concerns for the materials.

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The finding aid, which will be available soon, has a folder-level description of the contents of the boxes. The collection includes records illustrating the work of the mill, including production reports, textile samples, and company correspondence, but also materials that give insight into life in a mill town, such as housing repair documents, letters to and from pillars of the community such as the town doctor and the school, and oral histories from residents and former residents of Fries.

We have also recently acquired another 2 large storage bins worth of blueprints from the town, as well as about 20 decks of slides. These new materials are currently being processed, after which I will add them to the finding aid. They were being stored in the basement of the Recreation Center in Fries, and were discovered entirely by coincidence on a visit to the town picture three excited archivists spreading blueprints over every flat-ish surface in a basement lounge area while several bemused residents look on.

The building that the bins were in had severely flooded not long before, but the blueprints were unharmed by the water, thankfully. It is entirely possible that we will continue to receive similar trickles of mill-related items as more materials are discovered and we continue to engage with the community.

Sadly, the picture is not complete. We only have the materials that were left at the mill when it closed, which heavily favor the early years of operation, and certain kinds of records. It is unclear whether the missing documents were destroyed as part of a regular records management cycle, or whether they were taken at some point. Starting August 22nd, there will be an exhibit up in the Special Collections reading room of selected materials from the collection illustrating the broad influence of the mill administration on the town, stop by and check it out!

Partner in the firm, Kenneth L. Over the past four years, I arranged, described, and boxed up nearly 1, project drawings, totaling over cubic feet and including over boxes.

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Louis Phillipe Smithey and Henry B. The firm became best known for building public schools, even using the same basic layout for numerous schools. They had nearly school de commissions from through in at least 19 counties and 10 cities in Virginia. Armory Building Armory Building. He then opened his own practice, before partnering with Matthews H. Smithey again had his own practice, occasionally working with Henry B. He also served in the U. Smithey married Dorothy Terrill inand they had one daughter.