For many decades, southern West Virginia produced more bituminous (black) coal than any other region in the country. The coal boom was crucial to the industrialization of America and its place in the world market.
Coal single-handedly fueled the Industrial Revolution, and Bluefield was the gateway to up to 40% of that fuel. By the early 1900s, coal was essential to virtually every aspect of life in the United States. Black coal heated homes, fueled Navy battleships and powered railroad engines.
The coming of railroads was a game-changer for king coal. Norfolk & Western Railway decided to make Bluefield home for its Pocahontas Division headquarters, in part, because of the natural-gravity “hump” that allowed switching of trains.
Railroaders used gravity to help collect eastbound coal cars into unit trains. In the early days, coal cars were "draped" over the hump and sent eastward in trains of 100 or more cars. Railroads were the catalysts for the burgeoning coal industry.
The Pocahontas Coal Company was formed, in 1886, to act as the railroad's marketing arm for the coalfields. These extensive coalfields started in Bramwell and stretched over forty miles. West Virginia's coal was a major component in contributing to the United States' rise to dominance during the late 19th century.
Bramwell's wealth was largely supported by the Pocahontas coalfields, which employed well over 50,000 miners. To put this into perspective, the number of miners in the state increased from 3,701 to nearly 90,000 between 1880 and 1917. At one time, the Norfolk & Western railroad had more than a dozen trains a day stopping in Bramwell.
Around the turn of the century fourteen millionaires resided in Bramwell during the town's heyday. Bramwell is best known for having the highest number of millionaires per capita in the entire United States during the late 1800s.
The Historic Bank of Bramwell was the financial hub of southern West Virginia (rumored to be the richest bank in the country). The bank's janitor, Henry Wade, would regularly push wheelbarrows of leather bags filled with money down the brick paved streets to the nearby train depot.
Now, West Virginia exports billions to the rest of the world and coal makes up a third of those exports. Businesses in West Virginia exported to 147 countries in recent years; namely Canada, China, Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, UK, Ukraine, Japan, Germany, and Mexico. West Virginia coal is mostly produced in northern parts of the state, since Southern West Virginia coal production has accounted for less than 50 percent of statewide coal output in each of the last four quarters.
Our contribution to humanity truly stretches around the globe as our state continues to illuminate and supply the world with coal and other goods.
The COAL Pack
The "COAL Pack" is inspired by the bustling rail and coal days of southern and now northern West Virginia. The gateway to the southern coalfields serve as the focal point for this narrative. Nostalgic railroading and mining iconography is paired with quality fabrics to create a modern, yet timeless visual.
The pack includes eco-friendly apparel that has original spins on iconic coal mine and railroad workwear, including a hoodie, short and long sleeve tees, and caps.
The railroad tee and zip-hoodie both feature stripes similar to the ones miners and railroaders once wore. These lightweight garments have a natural worn-in look and feel to signify our industrial heritage. Both showcase our notable 3 Up 2 Up “Palms-In” hands.
The long sleeve tee has a unique hue which resembles the color of bituminous coal. This garment-dye process creates subtle variations so that no garment is exactly alike. This garment has a unique worn-in look and feel that signifies our coal industrial heritage. Our long sleeve tee showcases our newly released “3 Up 2 Up” box logo.
All items above contain organic and recycled materials.
Lastly, the denim cap has a similar yet distinctive hue which resembles the color of bituminous coal. Our cap has the classic "3 Up 2 Up" font embroidered across the front. It features a bronze-colored buckle in the back to signify our industrial heritage.
This pack will have ongoing additions throughout all season(s).