Friends come home for third annual McComas Memory Walk

By Bill Archer Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va.  Date: Sunday, April 25 2010

Apr. 25--MCCOMAS -- Friends, classmates and former residents of the greater McComas area took a stroll down memory lane Saturday as people traveled from as far away as Georgia and New Jersey to participate in the third annual McComas Memory Walk

"That first walk, we only had six people here, but last year, we had 125," Patricia "Patty Spicer" Smith said. "Every time I post something on the web site, ( I get a lot of new hits," Smith said. "A lot of people have great memories of growing up here."

McComas is actually a collection of several coalfield communities that appeared seamless three score years ago, but was made up of several distinctively different neighborhoods that included Pinnacle, Connor Mountain, Pinnacle Hollow, the Station or Main McComas, Sagamore, Crane Creek, Windmill Gap, Church Hollow, Red Hollow, Thornhill, Godfrey and Crystal.

"I lived up in Red Hollow," Tim Wellman said. Wellman now lives in Bland County, Va. "About everything is gone up there now, but the foundation of my grandfather's home is still there. They're getting ready to strip mine all of this up in here so it will all be gone soon."

The group of Greater McComas refugee expatriates have been using the Crane Creek Pentecostal Holiness Church as its base of operations for the memory walks. The church is located in the former Pinnacle Elementary School building. Along with providing a hearty meal for the refugees, church members Vickie and Micky Kennett created McComas Memory Walk t-shirts to sell as fund raisers.

"It's great coming back here every year," Smith said. "I've had the web site for about 15 years, and in all that time, I've heard nothing but 'Thank yous' from the people who have e-mailed me about the site.

"There were more than 6,000 people living in this community when it was really booming," Smith said. "I was born in 1946 and left here in 1963, so I really missed the best of the boom years, but there were still a lot of people here then."

Melva (Farrington) Roberts lived in the area during the last of the boom years and worked at the company store in Sagamore for a few years starting in 1951. "Sagamore was very pretty," she said. "It was a clean little town." Her husband, Bon Roberts was from Piedmont, near Matoaka. "This is the first time we've come to the reunion."

In addition to walking through the town and sharing memories and photos, Smith had a slide presentation running on a desktop computer featuring photographs Garland Edwards took inside the old power house at Crane Creek and the Memorial Church in Main McComas.

"The interiors of these old buildings are just beautiful," Smith said. "All of this brings back a lot of good memories."

Friends gathered throughout the day to share memories of the community's storied past.

--Contact Bill Archer at To see more of Bluefield Daily Telegraph, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to . Copyright (c) 2010, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va.


2009 McComas Memory Walk  photos click here... (photos supplied by Pat & Jim Smith, Garland Elmore, Judy Cole Dodd , Chris Tooley Whitmore)

McComas Memory Walk how it started  click here.. (Jim Spencer's background on the 1st walk)

McComas 1920-40s Photo Gallery   click here...   (photos supplied by Garland Elmore)