Last year, Coalfield Development purchased three historic buildings in downtown Matewan. These structures are known locally as the “Nenni” buildings. They have served many purposes: hardware store, jewelry store, union organizing hub, union-busting hub, and so much more. None other than Sheriff Sid Hatfield’s apartment was on the upper floor. These buildings are central to the historic story of the fight for unionization in the West Virginia coalfields.
Over time, the Nenni buildings (like too many other West Virginia gems) have fallen into disrepair. Although the history is of national and even international significance, not many Americans today know what happened here in Matewan. But this strong and persistent community is determined to reclaim its story and to build on a proud past for an even brighter future. Working with the Mine Wars Museum, the local UMWA chapter, National Coal Heritage Area, City of Matewan, the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, The WV Community Development Hub, Southern Community and Technical College, and many others we are redeveloping these beautiful buildings to provide job training and business development services to local residents.