Sneed’s New Virginia History

The New Virginia Coal Company began sinking a coal mine in section 25 of Herrin Township in 1901. It was located in the northeast corner of the State Route 37 and White Ash—Herrin Road crossing. The mine began hoisting coal in December of that year.

The village of New Virginia was laid out January 11, 1902 and the plat recorded in Plat Book One page 148. There were 48 lots 50 by 150 feet. The three streets were 60 feet wide and one alley was 15 feet wide. Forty houses and a company store were built. The village and mine lay west of the C. and E.I. Railroad.

Arthur Dorre was the first company store manager. He was followed by Joseph Hudgens. In 1920, Dan Burnes and his father opened a store and had a dance platform for a long time. They later moved across the highway and sold beer there. The mine company owned the entire town and did not permit alcoholic liquor on its property. There were no saloons in New Virginia. But the land across route 37 was not their property.

In 1929 the water that filled White Ash Mine filled New Virginia. The company dismantled the mine, took the houses and store down in sections and shipped them by rail to West Virginia. All that remains of New Virginia is some scattered gob. The village of two hundred people is gone. The Reaco Battery Factory now stands where New Virginia once stood.

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(Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois, by Glenn J. Sneed, published 1977)