In the Southern part of Logan County, West Virginia, sits the town of Man, originally known as Buffalo City. The town stands along the banks of the Guyandotte River. Prior to the arrival of settlers, the area was very pleasant teemed with wildlife and nature surrounding it. Today, the town of Man is known for its sense of community and tragedy.
The tiny town of Man did not take long to grow in the twentieth
century with the bustling onset of the coal industry. In the beginning, Man was just a small
commercial town. From 1904 to 1929, the coal industry in the county boomed. The
coal boom added to the population of Man. Around 1910, the Chesapeake &
Ohio Railroad planned an extension of their line into the town. With the arrival of the
railroad, the area began to expand quickly. Before the modern Man High School, the
first type of school in the area was established in 1880. In the year 1916,
planning was in session for a newer facility. Triadelphia District High School would come before Man High School.
Along with population, a landmark case in the United
States Supreme Court would bring the need to the town of Man for a new school. In
Brown v. Board of Education, the
Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public schools was
unconstitutional. With desegregation looming over the state and nation, the
town had to create a new structure for a massive student body. A new school
would be developed in in the location that it stands in today. Desegregation
would bring the new structure to its current location.
Tragedy struck the town of Man in the form of the
Buffalo Creek flood on February 26, 1972. A coal waste dam of the Buffalo Coal
Company collapsed on the Middle Fork of Buffalo Creek. Buffalo Coal Company was
a division of the Pittston Company. The
burst dam was constructed to hold coal waste and water from a preparation
plant. Prior to the destruction, residents had showed concerns over the dams
having potential dangers to the community.
The dam collapse released 132 million gallons of water
along with coal waste into the area. Major waters hit many areas such as Accoville,
Crown, Kistler, Robinette, Lorado, Lundale, Becco, and many other areas. During
the Buffalo Creek flood disaster, the modern Man High School was used for a
temporary hospital and morgue by the American Red Cross. Two hearings were also
held at the school to gather the testimony of witnesses from the disaster.
In the disaster, 125 people were killed. Entire
families were killed in the massive flood waters. More than 500 homes were
destroyed in the disaster. At the minimum, 4,000 residents of Buffalo Creek were left
homeless. After the flood, families filed a suit against The Pittston Company. The
state of West Virginia also filed a suit against them, asking for $100 million
in compensation for the damages to residents and state property. Even though
the state sued for $100 million, Governor Arch Moore accepted a settlement for
just $1 million. The Buffalo Creek flood was deemed an “act of God.”
Today, the school is in the same location as it was during the Buffalo Creek flood. The school
mascot is the Hillbilly. Man High School
is still in operation by Logan County Schools.