At its peak, nearly 100,000 people lived in southern West Virginia’s McDowell County. Today less than 20,000 people live there. Here are 24 photos that show what life used to be like there.

1. Sunday school in Welch in 1946.

TK

National Archives/Public Domain

2. Cables Mine in 1946

Tk

National Archives/Public Domain

3. Capels Mine in September 1938

Library of Congress/Public Domain

Library of Congress/Public Domain

4. The company store in Capels

Library of Congress/Public Domain

Library of Congress/Public Domain

5. A miner from Poland in Capels, 1938

Library of Congress/Public Domain

Library of Congress/Public Domain

6. Carrying timber into the Gilliam mine, 1946

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

7. Houses near the Bradshaw mine in 1946

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

8. A coal miner’s house in Bradshaw, August 1946

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

9. Going into the Gary mine, 1946

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

10. The child of a miner in Panther, August 1946

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

11. The company store in Gary

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

12. Houses by the Exeter Mine near Welch, 1946

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

13. Company houses in Mohegan

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

14. A foreman in the Gary mines sits in his living room.

20160119_mcdowell_gary_foreman

National Archives/Public Domain

15. Inside the company store at Gary

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

16. Going to a baseball game in Welch

20160119_mcdowell_welch_baseball

National Archives/Public Domain

17. Two young girls relaxing in Bradshaw.

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

18. Miners ready for work in Gary

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

19. A mother and daughter at home in Bradshaw

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

20. Another family at home in Gilliam

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

21. Making dinner in Panther

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

22. Sitting on a porch swing in Panther

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

23. Going to lunch in the once bustling Welch

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

24. Saturday afternoon in Welch

National Archives/Public Domain

National Archives/Public Domain

More: 32 Things You Didn’t Know About McDowell County

Comments