Architecture and Landscape of a Mined Environment: Reading the Traces

  • Peter Butler West Virginia University
  • Charlie Yuill West Virginia University
  • Paul Kinder West Virginia University
Keywords: LiDAR, Cultural Landscape Analysis, Interpretive Design, Industrial Landscapes


This study focuses on the coal company town of Everettville, WV in north-central West Virginia and, at its center, a former mined landscape, Federal No. 3, that is currently being reintegrated into the community as a culture/ nature park. The mine began operation in 1921 and a town was established which included hierarchically and racially ordered residences, segregated churches and schools, and a company store. The mine site’s significance as a cultural landscape is grounded in an explosion that occurred in the spring of 1927 when 151 miners were killed under suspicious circumstances. Examining historical maps, photos, and other records of the town and mine site reveals spatial patterns and structures in existence during the area’s formative years. Analyzing current conditions through overlay mapping seeks to uncover remnants of the town’s form and its current ability to communicate the conditions of the 1920s. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) was used to document current conditions of the mine site: topography, vegetation, spatial organization and architectural forms as a framework for mapping and measuring cultural landscape characteristics and to guide the development of context sensitive interpretive designs. Overlay mapping depicts substantial landscape change especially related to the development of mine-related infrastructure. While the number of buildings in the town remained relatively constant, new spatial organization was seen especially with evolving infrastructure. The collected point cloud data at the mine site reveals much of the original spatial organization which will guide park development including rail beds and a bench road on which original structures were sited. The point cloud did not however reveal those structures, likely because of regrading of the site during reclamation and colluvial erosion over time. As the park evolves further documentation will continue to create a four-dimensional model as longitudinal studies examine change over time in landscape forms, patterns and processes.
How to Cite
Butler, P., Yuill, C., & Kinder, P. (2014). Architecture and Landscape of a Mined Environment: Reading the Traces. ARCC Conference Repository.

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