Rachel is a census-designated place (CDP) in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. Rachel is located along Buffalo Creek, 2 miles (3.2 km) east-southeast of Mannington. Rachel has a post office with ZIP code 26587. As of the 2010 census, its population was 248.
Rachel is located on Rt. 250 between Farmington and Mannington. During the late 1800s through early 1900s, the area was known as Broomfield or Downs. By 1920 the area became known as Rachel after the daughter of Mr. John H. Jones, an official at the local mine.
The town of Rachel grew around the shaft mine opened in 1917 by the Consumers Coal Company. The area was well suited for mining with direct access to the B&O Railroad and a street car line to Mannington. When opened, the mine was considered one of the most modern in the state by many.
The mine produced a hefty 301,060 tons of coal in 1921, and in 1923 the operator's name changed to the Bertha-Consumers Coal Co. Bertha-Consumers mined coal at Rachel until 1926. From 1936 until 1944 Rachel was ran by Jones Collieries, Inc. Rachel Mine was later a captive mine for Sharon Steel of Pennsylvania, and the coal was coked in by-product coke ovens in Fairmont. Rachel is probably where the Fairmont Coalfield reserves begin morphing from metallurgical to thermal coal.
In addition to the mine, Consumers Coal Company also constructed the miner’s camp on a hill above Rachel to house the workers and their families. The camp included a clubhouse, which had separate divisions for English and American workmen, and a section for foreign employees, many of whom emigrated from Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and Italy. The features of the camp were described as follows: “The houses are above the mine in a most beautiful place and each house is single, located on a lot of 100 feet square. Lots are plowed free of charge to encourage gardening, pasture is furnished for one cow and a stable has been erected on each lot.”
Based on the growth in population, the infrastructure of the area was developed. Downs Elementary School was opened in the 1920s to serve the students in Rachel and the valleys of Mod’s Run, Plum Run, Gray’s Run, and East Run. Prior to desegregation, a small school for Black students was operated at the entrance of the mine facility in the 1930s through early 1960s. Pollock’s General Store was opened on April 2, 1952 and Graham’s Service Station was opened in the 1950s.
After the Rachel mine closed in 1985, much of the local infrastructure diminished. Graham’s Service Station closed in the 1980s. Downs Elementary School closed in 1991 when students were transferred to the newly constructed Blackshere Elementary School. The local Community Center was closed in the 1990s. The last remnants of this once thriving community are the local Post Office and Pollock’s General Store, which still operates today.
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