Itmann Company Store

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

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Itmann Company Store

Itmann can only be described as a coal town.  The town of less than 300 people is dominated by the Itmann Company Store and Office.  This Classical Revival style complex constructed using local sandstone is perhaps West Virginia’s most spectacular surviving piece of coalfield architecture.

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

The town was built by the Pocahontas Fuel Company in 1916.  The mine itself was opened two years later.  The town was named after the president of the company Isaac T. Mann or I. T. Mann. The name was eventually shortened to Itmann.  The massive store was designed by noted architect Alex B. Mahood and built by immigrant Italian stonemasons in 1923-1925.

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

A remote company town like Itmann is typical of where a company store would be found.  Nearly everyone is employed by one firm, in this case the Pocahontas Fuel Company.  The store sold a limited range of food, clothing and other daily necessities with no competition from other shops in the town.  Not only were prices not competitive, but the miners and their families paid using scrips, a non-cash voucher issued by the company either as an advance of weekly cash wages or even in some instances as part of the wages instead of cash.

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

The massive complex at Itmann housed not only the retail outlet but also the Post Office, doctor’s office, freight station, payroll office and other management functions.

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

Itmann Company Store and Office, Itmann, Wyoming County, West Virginia

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

Company stores began to lose their monopoly as the miners began to acquire automobiles which allowed them to travel to a range of stores in nearby towns.  The Itmann Company Store closed along with the mine in the 1980s.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

Summary
Itmann Company Store
Article Name
Itmann Company Store
Description
The Classical Revival style complex that is the Itmann Company Store is perhaps West Virginia’s most spectacular surviving piece of coalfield architecture.
Author
Publisher Name
Mark Summerfield
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2 Comments

  1. What a terrific story and set of photographs here Mark! Great textures and details you’ve captured in this set, and the accompanying info on the history of it all adds the perfect touch! Love this post, my friend!
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