Nellis Historic District
Nellis Historic District is a small historic coal mining community. The community was established in 1917 and the mine shut down in 1955. Nellis Coal company was opened by T.E.B. Siler and Matthew Slush, who named the town after Frank Nellis, editor of the Mount Clemens Independent newspaper.
Backstory and Context
The Nellis Historic District began with the Nellis Coal Company starting operations in 1917 under T.E.B. Siler and Matthew Slush. The town was named after Frank Nellis, who is the editor of Mount Clemens Independent Newspaper. The company constructed a few buildings, and a branch of the C & O Railroad was laid to Nellis to transport coal. On June 16, 1920 the land was purchased by the American Rolling Mills Company (ARMCO) from Siler and the Coal River Mining Company. ARMCO depleted their reserves in Ohio and Pennsylvania and needed a new source of coal. The company started operations on July 1, 1920 and the first shipment of coal left the Nellis mine on the last day of 1920.1
Minter Homes Corporation of Huntington was hired to construct many of the company homes and buildings. Nellis slowly became a model coal mine town. ARMCO brought miners into Nellis who had lost their jobs in other company-run operations that had been closed. In 1924, the company grew when a steel tipple was completed. Additional tracks were built for coal car sidings, new machines and equipment were purchased. The town began to grow and it was popular for how well the company treated its miners and families. The company fulfilled promises asked by the community. A social (club) building was built and a doctor and nurse was brought in to serve the community. Dr. Owen Poling was hired as the resident physician. 1
A company store was available to the residents, and shoppers could buy almost anything they wanted. Groceries, tires, clothing, hardware, and furniture was just a few of the things that were available in the store. Nellis needed a school for the students in the community. The school was built by the ARMCO coal company in the spring of 1924, and the building was donated to the Boone County Board of Education in 1955 after the coal company closed the mine. When the school began there were five teachers hired by the company. The original red brick school was built with five rooms and housed grades 1-8. R.W. Williams was one of the first principals at the school. 1
The Nellis Community Church was the sole place of worship for the residents. It was not typical of the type of architecture prevalent at the time it was constructed in 1926. It was the social center, house of worship, and held many funerals or weddings. It was a white stucco church and was also built by the ARMCO Association. The church was non-denominational, with the worship section of the church holding from 185-200 people. 1
Housing in Nellis was constructed at the time the mine was opened in 1920. There were 40 houses built in 1920 and the rest were built afterwards. After the mine closed the coal company sold their houses, buildings on Main Street, and the other major buildings to Bryon Corporation of Boston. The houses were spruced up, and the company began a campaign to sell the houses and buildings. The Bryson Company sold most of the houses and left. ARMCO purchased the stock of the Colcord Coal Company at Montcoal, in Raleigh County, on December 21, 1942 and moved there. 1
"Nellis/ARMCO Coal." The Historical Marker Database. Accessed September 17, 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=137428.