Support Coalfield Development in rebuilding the Appalachian economy.

$1.7M Grant Awarded for Revitalization Project in Matewan

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.

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We are doing the redevelopment in a way that will preserve the incredible history and therefore become yet another cultural asset in this budding tourism economy beginning to grow in Mingo County. And we just got a big boost in this effort! Yesterday, the U.S. Economic Development Authority and our Congressional Delegation announced a $1.7 million grant for our project.

Today, Aug. 4, is the 99th anniversary of Sid Hatfield’s funeral. On this day, people poured into the very same buildings we are revitalizing to mourn Sid Hatfield as he lay in wake. He had been murdered by Baldwin-Felt agents for his efforts to protect local residents trying to unionize.

So with this huge award, and in bottom-up collaboration with the people of Matewan and throughout southern West Virginia, we pledge that by the 100th anniversary of this tragic, historic event we will have a revitalized Nenni Building for the people of Matewan (and for people around the world committed to justice) to remember the courage and sacrifices made here as well as to be part of the rebuilding of a new, more just Appalachian economy.

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