Black Bottom

When this page was created for this gallery, I simply called it Black Bottom because that’s what my Dad called this area. I knew parts of it were called Ellis Addition and Deskins Addition, but I’ve never understood exactly where one stopped and the other one began. When I was a kid, I assumed Black Bottom got its name for the black mud that would accumulate there after a flood. However, according to Paul Gaylock (see his comment below) Black Bottom got its name from the black ash and cinders dumped there by the power plant.

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Logan County, WV 1963 flood at Black Bottom.

1963 Flood at Black Bottom courtesy of Robert McCormack.

Ellis Addition and Deskins Addition (a.k.a. Black Bottom) Photo Gallery

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21 Responses to Black Bottom

  1. Douglas Dempsey says:

    A 1937 newspaper article at this address (https://loganwv.us/bits-of-history/#-1/42/the-logan-banner-nov-12-1937-early-life-in-logan-county-described-by-k-f-deskins.jpg) in the Bits of History and Nostalgia link on this site, details that Deskins Addition was named after John Wesley Deskins who was the father of K.F. Deskins, a successful Logan County businessman (and inventor) who owned much of the area known as Deskins Addition. The article describes that the Deskins family owned some 600 acres of land. A 600-acre block of land would measure about 5,000 feet on each side, larger than what is now Deskins Addition, Black Bottom, Ellis Addition, City View, Mt. Gay, Coal Branch combined. It is likely that the Deskins family owned land in areas of Logan County other than Deskins Addition.

    K.F. Deskins’ birth records show him as Kennis Farro Deskins. The 1900 Logan County census shows him as Kennesse Deskins. He lived there in the 1920’s.

    K.F. Deskins married Rachel Hulda Dempsey, the sister of my grandfather, Sherman Peter (Uncle Pete) Dempsey. K.F. Deskins and Rachel were aunt and uncle to my father, Homer Dempsey.

    Deskins and some of his family moved to Barboursville where he had real estate holdings and operated a commercial berry farm in the early 1930’s. Some of the Deskins family continued to live in Logan until around 1950 or so, in a house located adjacent to where the State Police headquarters building was at the Triangle area. As a child in the 1940’s, I visited the Deskins family in Logan and Barbourville with my parents several times. I think one of his sons continued to live for many more years in a large two-story brick house across from the Shoney’s site at Logan. I think that house is no longer there.

    My grandfather’s wife died when my father, Homer Dempsey, was very young. During his early youth and teenage years, my father came to spend a lot of time with the K.F. Deskins family for extended periods, both in Logan and at Barboursville. I recall my father telling me that Deskins “rented” the carnival site at Black Bottom to the carnival people and my father “kept check” on them for Mr. Deskins.

    Likewise, as a high school teenager while at Barboursville in the early 1930’s, my father managed the berry farm for Mr. Deskins and also collected rents and did other real estate work for him. My father told me that K.F. Deskins absolutely would not loan any tool to anybody, but instead, he would readily offer to loan that person money to buy a tool. My father said that Deskins insisted that every farm tool be returned to a tool room at the end of the day and he even went so far as to paint the outline of the shapes of the tools on the wall so that each was placed in the proper location.

    My father went to Garrett, KY for his last year of high school in 1933 where he lived with my grandfather’s brother, Dr. Mark Dempsey. After a brief stint at Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, my father returned to live on Crawley Creek and became a well known “moonshiner” delivering moonshine to the coal mine camps on Mud Fork and to clients in Logan and to the juke joints in the community of Negroes at “Black Bottom” for a few years.

    In the mid-1930’s, my father began his coal mining career working in coal mines at Merrill Coal Company (Chief Logan Park area). While there, he was given the task of installing the company’s first unit of mechanized loading mining equipment. Over the next 40+ years he worked in supervisory and management positions for various Logan County companies including Logan County Coal at Lundale, Island Creek Coal at #28 Mud Fork, #22 Holden, Guyan #? at Stowe (and briefly at Island Creek’s mine in Evanston, KY.). He retired from Chafin Coal Company after a severe injury.

    On several occasions, when I was in my early teens in the 1950’s and walking through Logan with my father, we would happen to meet up on the street with various older Negro men who would recall and reminisce about the times when they had bought moonshine from my father many years earlier.

    One night around 1958 when I was about 16yrs old, my brother-in-law who played drums and I walked about a mile and a half or so from Thompson Town on Mud Fork to one of the juke joints in Black Bottom where he made a deal with a guy for a big brass cymbal about 2 feet in diameter. The only way to carry the cymbal was to hold it like a serving tray in both hands. Imagine how that looked to passersby!

  2. Barbara S. Stephens says:

    My father Arthur Calvin Warren was born in Black Bottom in 1924.

  3. June Hughrs says:

    The lot where K-City was did use to be a Kroger store.

  4. David H Blackburn says:

    I can remember the camps at the foot of city view where the black high school, Aracoma High School was during segregation in 1957. I was only 5 years old and there was a lack Family whose last name was Scruggs! Miss Kate was the lady who baby sit me on the hill overlooking the old school us garage! I remember those days like yesterday! The smell when they finally torn down the black camps that had no running water or toilets! If anyone remembers Charles Boatwright, Kate was his grandmother and his mother’s nickname was Miss Piggy!

    • David H Blackburn says:

      Tony Chirico had Tony’s Big Dollar . Next to his store was a small beer garten that was owned by Ms. Enochs, maiden name was a Webb. She had a sister, a nurse at Guyan Valley by the name of Ruby. There was a TV Repair Shop across the street and Shorty Hartman owned a truck shop at the foot of City View! This was was 1950’s

  5. Folks, Blackbottom got it’s name because of the concentration of negroes there. Being PC at this time is BS. Challenge me if you want but I think if you talk to Dwight Williamson you will know more facts that you will believe.

    • Admin says:

      A friend of mine did a lot research on Black Bottom. She concluded that there were never enough black families living there to support that theory.

      Additionally, as you pointed out, black people were referred to as Negros back then. Consequently, it is doubtful they would have used the term Black Bottom to referred to the area because of the number of the Negros living there.

      • Bob C. Shaw says:

        Admin: I will agree with your friend’s research- “She concluded that there were never enough black families living there to support that theory”. I attended school at Aracoma Junior/High School on the campus where most Logan County School buses were garaged. During my six years of schooling I can count less than six black families that lived in the Black Bottom area. My recollection there were plenty used car lots ; hardware store, etc. My uncles and brother worked for the small grocery chain (Victory Grocery; etc) that was located directly off-campus as well as in the Cherry Tree addition.

    • Carl cook says:

      Loren I lived in blacklisting when I was a kid and I do believe your right

  6. When I was a young man back in the day I had a great time in Blackbottom. I can not remember any derogatory comments about the area or slams against our neighbors.

  7. Paul Gaylock says:

    Black Bottom got its name from the black ash & cinders dumped there by the power plant that was located where AEP is now…

  8. Charles D Isaacs says:

    It is what it is. Logan past and present. I lived in St Petersburg Florida for 13 years. After retiring I returned to Logan. I have not regretted it. I really enjoyed living in paradise but it has its problems too. At least this is home. There are still good people living here. Still most are friendly. We have a lot of problems but none any worse than anywhere else.

  9. sharon miller pridemore says:

    I’m not sure we are talking about the same place, but I lived in the first building (blue now) apartments on top and a produce store on the bottom. I think a furniture store next. Straight across the road we could see carnivals and tent revivals when they came to town. This was in the fifties.

  10. JEREMY WHITE says:

    the pilars that you see in the pics are from a used carlot that was there it was mike ferrell’s used cars tha there used to be light post set on them . i thought i’d let you know . god bless

  11. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    Frank, You take excellent pictures but I have tears in my eyes and believe me, they are not tears of joy. Those pictures are such a sad sad sight. I never would have recognized any of it. Are you sure you want to show the world what has happened to our home town? The only way I could get my bearings at all was to see where Shoney’s was located and go back towards Mt. Gay. I wish someone could find some copies of how it used to look- Anyone know which of these pictures would be where the carnival grounds were located? The carnival grounds were in the heart of “Black Bottom” but I can’t tell from the pictures where they were. I know the carnival grounds were at the foot of City View Hill where I grew up, but nothing in the pictures is the same. I couldn’t even find the foot of City View Hill. I did see one nice 2 story brick home still standing at Ellis Addition (near Baisden Brothers). That house is where my Girl Scout Leader lived in the 1940s. Thank you, Frank, for this website. The old pictures and our memories are the only parts of our childhood that are still beautiful and real.

    • Earl Chafins Jr. says:

      It might have been the old Kroger parking lot before my time, but, I only knew that spot to be K-City being a discount store. Was it Kroger before that? Also, I believe Jeremy is correct, that that once was a car lot and those are light post anchors.

      • Bob Piros says:

        Earl, this website has a 1947 phone
        book. On page 10 lists a Black Bottom
        Garage in Deskins Addition. Also lists
        lots of car dealerships in Deskins Addition.
        Black Bottom was also known as
        Deskins Addition.

        • Earl Chafins Jr. says:

          Sorry Bob, I was referring to two different pics in reference to the Kroger Parking Lot. There is a pic in the bunch above called the old Kroger parking lot. That is the one I was pretty sure was a K-City discount store. On the car lot, well, I definitely agree with you both. Have a good one!

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