The New River Gorge National River was authorized by Congress for inclusion in the National Park System by Title XI of P.L. 95-625 on November 10, 1978. Kay Moor is located upstream from the New River Bridge, located on Rt. 19, which is considered a cultural and engineering landmark in West Virginia. It is the second highest bridge in the United States and is also a significant symbol of state pride.
The origins of the Kay Moor mine and town can be traced to the Low Moor Iron Company of Low Moor, Virginia. Founded in 1873, the company utilized in its furnaces the coal and coke mined and manufactured at Kay Moor. The town of Kay Moor, located at both the top and bottom of the New River gorge, was founded to house the mine workers. It was a company town, with all aspects of housing, supplies, and transportation supplied by the Low Moor Iron Company. The town and mine were sold in 1925 to the New River and Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Company, a subsidiary of the Berwind-White Company, later the Berwind Land Company. Mining continued until 1962; Kay Moor Bottom had been emptied of inhabitants by 1952, with only portions of Kay Moor Top surviving in any form. Located in the famous New River fields, producers of the legendary "smokeless coal," the Kay Moor mine and its supporting town were thus contributors to a larger economic scene.
The remnants of mining activity still extant at Kay Moor offer a unique interpretive and visitor use challenge for the National Park Service. The story of bituminous coal mining in West Virginia can be interpreted at Kay Moor, with all of its extant structures and machinery.
A word must be said about the name of the mine and community. The site was originally named Kay Moor and appeared as such on papers of its owner and founder, the Low Moor Iron Company of Low Moor, Virginia. The name, however, appeared as Kaymoor in period newspaper articles as well as in other primary sources, and the name has evolved as such through the years. The author has agreed with Jack Bergstresser, author of the historical data section, "Kay Moor Historic Structure Report," to use the original nomenclature, hence, Kay Moor. Direct quotations or source titles using the one word name are honored.
Emphasis in this study was placed on Kay Moor's early years because of the availability of the Low Moor Iron Company's papers and the lack of primary source data during the Berwind-White Company years.
Last Updated: 30-Jan-2009