Williamson is home to a special house.

And it’s not like any other.

That’s because its famous structure weighs 65 tons, and has walls that are two feet thick.

The Coal House was built in 1933 from coal (from the nearby Winifrede seam) that was donated by local companies.

It was the brainchild of O.W. Evans, and was designed by an architect named H.T. Hicks.

No one has actually lived there, but that wasn’t its purpose.

It was constructed adjacent to the Mingo County Courthouse and still serves as a symbol that promotes the county.

In the beginning, however, publicity was part of the reason for its being built.

Evans, who worked with the Norfolk and Western Railway, was looking for a way to highlight the “Billion Dollar Coalfield” centered in Williamson, according to Wikipedia.

This regional icon now houses the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce.

In October of 2010, the Coal House caught fire and the inside was gutted.

The exterior of the Coal House remained intact.

County officials repaired the damage, and it reopened in September of 2011 to visitors. The restoration cost $200,000.

It’s still a special place to local residents, as well as visitors who come to see it.

Wiki Media

Wiki Media

And it’s also on the National Register of Historic Places.