The Coal House, located in downtown Williamson, serves as the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce and a visitor center. Visitors to the area enjoy stopping in to see the house made of coal. Their most popular question: "Is it really made of coal?" Yes, it is.
Built in 1933, the Historic Coal House in Williamson is made of 65 tons of bituminous coal from the local Winifrede seam. The walls are two-feet thick and coated with a weatherproof varnish to aide in preservation of the structure.
The idea for building a structure made of coal came from O.W. Evans, an employee of the Norfolk and Southern Railway. With coal being such a valuable part of the area, Evans wanted to pay tribute to this resource by establishing this unique building. H.T. Hicks, an architect from Welch, West Virginia, was hired to erect the Coal House. The coal used to build the structure was donated by mining companies in the local area.
The building has withstood floods in 1937, 1957, 1977, and 1984. In 1991, a floodwall encompassing the city was completed. In October 2010, the Coal House interior was severely damaged by fire. After nearly a year of repair work the building re-opened to the public.
If you haven’t been to the Coal House, be sure to add it to your “Places to Visit” list!