Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Owe My Soul To the Company Store

Trammel, Virginia, was a coal mining town that was built by the Virginia Banner Coal Corporation in 1917. The last spike of the Carolina, Clinchfield, and Ohio Railway, which was completed in 1915, had been driven near here.

In the 1970s, coal resources started drying up and coal companies began laying off employees. The economic conditions hit coal mining towns hard. The company that owned Trammel eventually went out of business and became an estate. In 1985, the estate decided to sell the town, including 50 homes, the company store, post office, and water and cable systems. All were put on the auction block. Local residents, most of whom were unemployed and disabled, banded together with the help of churches and foundations to raise money and form a homeowners association. They purchased the auctioned homes and saved their town.

While their efforts gave them possession of their homes, conditions have not improved in Trammel. There are no businesses or industries and therefore no jobs. Unemployment is extremely high. Many of the residents are elderly and depend on black lung compensation or social security. The economic outlook for the residents of Trammel is grim.

Information from In Motion Magazine and Dickenson County by Victoria L. Osborne & Dr. Ralph Stanley.


  1. Been there and done that! Went to the Trammel Elementary School in the '50s; graduated Ervinton in the '60s. With no future for any of us in this community, I left after HS graduation with tears in my eyes, pain, and sadness in my heart. What was one to do? I left physically but forgot to tell my heart. Here I am forty-five years later working with the community from afar; the Daughters of the American Revolution and the local community center. This is more than a sad story for those of us who remember Trammel as a booming coalmining community—restaurant, school, post office and, of course, the company store!

  2. Lived in Trammel (Walnut Grove) late 60's early 70's. My family left in 1975. I think back to living there. It was sad to leave the mountains and friends. I was shocked to see how run down this building has became(at the time I lived there it was only the PO). As you can tell my thoughts are still back in Trammel.

  3. I also left Dickinson County in the early 70's after graduation to find a job. Now I'm almost ready to retire and I can't think of anywhere else to spend my retirement. I miss those mountains, Breaks Interstate Park, Old curvy roads. all of it