Whipple Company Store

Whipple Company Store at Whipple, West Virginia
Whipple Company Store at Whipple, W.Va.

The Whipple Company Store, a national historic landmark at Whipple, West Virginia, in Fayette County, sits on the corner of Scarbro Road and highway WV-612, as it has since 1900. It was the fourth remarkable store built in cross-plan architecture by Justus Collins, the owner of the Whipple Colliery Co., one of the most important early mining concerns in the New River coalfield.

To secure an adequate labor force, coal companies such as the Whipple Colliery built entire towns for employees in remote areas, and company stores were central to these. Miners and their families purchased groceries and other merchandise, including hardware, clothing, furniture, and even coffins, from the company, as a lack of roads and transportation made access to other stores prohibitive.

Workers were often paid in scrip, a substitute for currency which was accepted only at company-operated businesses. The Whipple Store was sold to New River Co. in 1905 as part of a merger. When the mines closed in 1957 at Whipple and nearby Scarbro, the building was sold and continued as a trading post until the late 1980s. It remains virtually unchanged, though it is now operated as a museum by private owners who have worked to restore and preserve the structure.

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