If you have googled Matewan you likely saw the promos of the movie “Matewan”. It is a movie worth watching, particularly if you are interested in American labor history.

But visiting Matewan will give you an even greater understanding of the American Labor movement than did. the movie. A visit will also give you an up close-up glimpse into the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, a memorable trip through the Appalachian Mountains, and you will have lots of fun.

As to the history of the American Labor Movement most of us are aware of the Industrial Revolution. The American Industrial Revolution could not have blossomed in the late 19th century and the early 20th century without West Virginia and towns like Matewan. It was coal from “coal towns” like Matewan that fed the Industrial Revolution. It was here that Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie acquired, mined, and shipped coal to fill their need for steel production and hence the automobile industry.

Lesser famous men like O’Toole were sent to West Virginia by Andrew Carnegie not just to find coal but to build towns, import labor, and establish entire communities not like Matewan but like Gary, West Virginia and many more. O’Toole’s home and a Henry Ford house are still standing in the countryside not far from Matewan as are remnants of the mines the early 1900 miners worked in.

Just imagine, when you visit here you can actually stay in the very jail where Sid Hatfield, the Matewan Sheriff at the time of the Matewan Massacre, locked up the Baldwin Felts detectives he did not kill during the Massacre.

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You can also visit the Matewan Post Office where Sheriff Hatfield shot and killed Alex Baldwin to begin the Massacre. You can visit the Matewan Depot which is an exact replica of the Norfolk and Western railroad depot where the Baldwin Felts detectives first arrived in Matewan. You can visit the United Mine Workers Museum just across the street from the Post Office.

But be aware that the Matewan Massacre and the 1920 Mine War’s the Massacre launched is not all you can learn about. The Matewan Massacre is Not actually the most famous event in Matewan history. There was an even more famous event that happened in and around Matewan. It was the Hatfield-McCoy Feud.

The location where the Hatfields executed some of the McCoys is just across the Tug River from Matewan. Not far away are the graves of the famous Hatfields like Devil Anse and Cap. You can even learn about the only time American aircraft were used against Americans after Sheriff Sid Hatfield was shot dead by Baldwin Felts detectives on the courthouse steps.

The people in Matewan today are busy memorializing these events and more. Before your visit check-out the websites you will find below to whet your appetite for an educational visit to Matewan and surrounding coal towns.

But don’t just come to Matewan to learn about its history, most visitors to Matewan come here to enjoy the great outdoors scenery and the Hatfield-McCoy Trails.

Again click on these icons and find your favorite things to do and prepare yourself for an educational and enjoyable week in coal country.