Omar, WV

The community of Omar was named around 1913 after an early settler with that name.*

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1935 Omar WV

October 1935, Omar, WV courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Omar, Logan County, West Virginia
Photo Gallery

Omar Safety News, August, 1941 courtesy of Robert McCormack.
For readability, the images below are large. Consequently, a different gallery app is used which will provide an option to view the full-size images.

Logan Democrat, Thursday, March 30, 1916
(courtesy of Brandon Ray Kirk)

Bright, Clean, Happy and Prosperous it Has Set a New Standard for Coal Mining Camps.


Location of the Operation of the Main Island Creek Coal Company Ideal for the Business.

Island Creek Coal Co. has, in only a little over two years, wrought wonders. We will take the train at Huntington, and travel 75 miles to Logan on the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad, and from there, nine miles on the Main Island Creek branch of the same road to this new model town. We can leave Huntington at 7 o’clock in the morning, or at 2:40 in the afternoon, just as you prefer. If we go in the morning we arrive at Omar at about 11:30 – in time for a good dinner at the company’s fine, new club house.

Recreation, Entertainment, Etc.

After lunch, we will take a little time to look around. First, the club house itself is a large, two-story building, with wide halls, large and well-lighted rooms, a reading room and parlor; and in this, we find a piano, a victrola, books, music and games, in the rooms we fine good furniture, nice carpets, curtains and all that makes for comforts. Bath room, and some of the rooms have private baths. The club house is not merely a boarding place – it is a home for “the boys” over in the store and offices, a building just a few hundred few across the way.

Now we’ll take a look though the Y. M. C. A. and theatre, sitting out there at the edge of a wide grass plot. And here we find preparations for a gymnasium, a swimming pool, bowling, billiards, etc. Everything is in the best of shape.

Schools, Churches, Etc.

There is a splendid school building where several grades are taught; capable teachers, and a large attendance. Churches are found, both for white and colored employees – all good substantial buildings, and the main, supported by the company and its employees.

The Store and Offices.

The store and office building is one of the largest in the state. Besides
(From Friday’s Courier.)
The following is reproduced from the “Mines and Mining” column of the Charleston Daily Mail of March 24: Just a few years ago a coalfield town anywhere was a synonym for grime, dirt and slovenliness; and, at the same time a coal mine was at once associated with the word death, in the minds of the general public. In some ways, all this was a true picture. It is not now.

If you will take a little trip with me, we shall visit what is probably the largest new model mining town in West Virginia – Omar, where the Main (missing text) the stone basement, it has three stores, with offices of the mine officials, engineers, etc., opening off from the downstairs store room proper, and on the second floor above. The third is used chiefly for storage of package goods until they are required for sale in the main store room and on the second floor.

In the main store, we find a wonderful display, indeed. All the fixtures, counters, shelving, soda fountain, etc., are of the latest design, and the merchandise, from the silk counter clean on back to the sanitary butcher’s counter of white marble, is just the same as you see in any of the fine city stores. Only, take notice: the prices are more reasonable. What? Yes, sir; the goods sold to the employees of this company are sold at less profit than your dealer charges you. How is that, you ask? Just for this reason: The Main Island Creek Coal Co.’s main business is mining and shipping coal; the store or “commissary” is just for the accommodation of the employees, no more. It expects to make only a small profit on the goods sold in its store.

No let us wee what kind of house the “poor miners” live in. Well, but you say, let’s look for the grime. It’s no use; there is none. These houses you see — all cozy, well built, large of room, large windows, electric lighted, plastered; many of them with water piped in, withy kitchen sings, with good-sized yards and gardens, all fresh painted, and having brick chimneys built from the ground and wide, open fire places – all these are the miners’ homes. You see for yourself they are no “shacks.” And, mare you, these good looking, real homes rent for a great deal less than your city workers for $2.00 per month per room with lights at 25 cents per month per light, while coal is furnished – that is required at $1.00 per month, delivered. Can you beat it?

The Mines.

We can now enter one, or all, of the four mines now in operation at Omar. Oh, you needn’t start humping yourself over like that. Just walk along upright, for these coal seams are seven feet thick, and there’s plenty of room between your feet and the stone roof above you for a pretty tall man to walk without stooping. And you need not worry about where you step, either, as it’s dry. Only look out and don’t touch that heavy wire over there to one side. It’s loaded. Pretty soon a train of mine cares, pulled by a motor that’s run from that wire, will come shooting along; but we’ll just step off here, under this electric light, until it goes by. Then well go on ahead to where “the boys” have “shot down” a great pile of blocks of coal from the wall of coal, and are shoveling them into cars. And truly a wall of coal it is, standing up there before us at the “heading” between two horizontal layers of thick, smooth rock. This is the great Island Creek seam of rich splint and gas coal, know everywhere for it purity and commercial value. Miners just love to work in this seam. And this company has nearly thirty thousand acres of it!

General Features.

The town of Omar is beautiful for situation. In the summer, when the foliage is on the trees of the forests which roll away in all directions like billowy mountains of green, there is no more beautiful spot. The is pure, and winds and numerous swiftly flowing steams play unceasingly upon it. The mechanical equipment of this (? unreadable) mining plant is such as to make possible a production of 4,000,000 tons of coal a year, and methods are in use to prepare this to suit the requirements of all classes of coal consumers.

Personnel of Officials.

The Main Island Creek Coal Co. is one of the John Laing group of mines or, properly, the Wyatt Coal Co. group. Mr. Laing, who was lately state mine inspector of West Virginia, is one of the commanding figures in the mining industry of the state. Besides being the executive head of this company, he is also president of the MacAlpin Coal Co., on the Virginian railroad; the Wyatt on Cabin Creek; the McGregor, on Rum Creek in Logan County, and the McCaa on the Little Kanawha, in Gilmer County, and of course, of the Wyatt Coal Co., the selling company whose main office is in Charleston, with branches in Cincinnati, Detroit, Richmond and New York. The Main Island Creek operations at Omar are in the charge of big “Jack” Alton, good friend to everybody, and one of the best men in the mining business.

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*Source: Where, When, and Who of West Virginia Locations By Tom Gayhart

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14 Responses to Omar, WV

  1. Kathy Sizemore Browning says:

    Wonderful pictures, brings back such good memories. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Carole McLemore Minton says:

    Loved seeing the pictures. I can remember going to the old mercantile and the theater, as a child. We lived in Monaville.

  3. ruth shannon says:

    loved seeing this very much,,,, but now how can i remove all these pictures thank you ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • Admin says:

      Sorry, copying photos is discouraged because some are copyrighted. Besides, you can always see them by visiting this website and by doing so, you will also see the ones added since your last visit. If you want to share any of our photos on Facebook, you can do so by using the Facebook Share Button. I am glad you enjoyed the photos and thank you for visiting.

  4. terry vanover says:

    Does anybody remember Virginia Oliver her mother was Mertie Oliver andshe gad a sister named Minnie?

  5. April Kane Davis says:

    I recognized my father, Carl Kane, in picture # 31. He told us so many stories of growing up in Omar during the depression. His father, William “Red” Kane was killed in the mine and his mother died several years later. He and his sister, Nelle Kane continued to live in Omar and she was a school teacher. Evidently, she was not much of a cook, because my father ate dinner with different families. When we would visit Omar, he would point out the houses where he ate and say, I had goulash on Monday there, and spaghetti there, etc. He was always grateful for the generosity of the people of Omar as he felt he was raised by the village, and he carried that generous spirit with him through life and reached out to many people who needed a hand. He left Omar with the Sheehan brothers to enlist in WWII and never returned there to live, but we always visited every year until my Aunt Nelle died. Thank you for sharing these photos.

    • Patty Hatfield Geld says:

      Carl and Nell were friends of our family. In fact, if I remember correctly,Nell and our family traded houses. She lived alone in a 3 bedroom house and we had a two bedroom with the five of us. Good memories.

    • Anne Musick briody says:

      April FB me please

    • Peggy Riffe Cline says:

      Did Carl teach at Omar ? My 9th grade teacher was a Carl Kane

      • April Davis says:

        He may have taught there after he graduated from Marshall. I know he met my mother when they both were young teachers at Logan High. He also taught at Chapmanville in 1954. Our family left West Virginia that summer.

  6. Dorothy Martin Fields says:

    I was born in Omar in 1937. My parents, Hyatt & Lucille Martin were very close friends of the Winegardners. My brother, Charles, was madly in love with Virginia Winegardner. We lived across the tracks from them, House 505. I left Omar shortly after graduating in 1955. I knew all the Mays, Wanda especially. Ted and my father plus Cecil Bays, John Porter, and many of the Coal Miners at #5 mine would hang out on our front porch in the evenings telling tall tales about their fishing and hunting trips. Once in a while, the pint would be passed around and the stories would really get hot and heavy. Ha. It was such a different life back then. Sometimes, I wish it back. I thank you for the wonderful pictures you have here. Dorothy Martin Fields Newcastle, California.

  7. Gloria Leigh O'Dell says:

    I noticed that my cousin Kathy Laux submitted pictures. I was born in 1943 in Omar and left at 18. I visited in 2001 and both houses I lived in were gone. Loved seeing picture of No. 5 Tipple where my grandfather worked. His name was Ted Winegardner

    Gloria Leigh (Davis) O’Dell

    • Paul Mays says:

      As I remember, Ted and his wife lived in one of the left row of houses near Omar as you head toward Pine Creek. My sister Wanda Mays worked at the Chauncey store and spent much time after work at their home waiting for my brother to walk her home at Pine Creek. They were great people.