|Monongah, West Virginia|
Location of Monongah, West Virginia
|• Mayor||Donald J. Harris|
|• Total||0.53 sq mi (1.37 km2)|
|• Land||0.49 sq mi (1.27 km2)|
|• Water||0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)|
|Elevation||961 ft (293 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||1,051|
|• Density||2,130.6/sq mi (822.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1555149|
Monongah is a town in Marion County, West Virginia, USA, situated on the West Fork River. The population was 1,044 at the 2010 census. Monongah was incorporated in 1891 by Circuit Court. Its name is abbreviated from Monongahela, the river formed by the confluence of the West Fork and Tygart Valley Rivers a few miles north of the town.
The original ethnic groups that populated the town that was to be Monongah consisted of mainly Italian and Polish immigrants who, for the most part, did not associate much with each other for several generations. The two ethnic groups even had separate churches even though they were both Catholic churches. One of the things that eventually brought the two communities together was the destruction of the Polish church by a fire and the uniting in the new parish of Holy Spirit; rumors that it was arson circulated at the time, but it was never proven. If one looks at the Mt. Calvary Cemetery located on Park Avenue, the reoccurring names, like Manzo, Diamond, Grieco, Fazio, and Efaw, in cemetery show the primarily Italian and Polish population.
During the operation of the original Consolidated Coal Company mine, some of the town's amenities consisted of a hotel and a station for a cable car line that linked several nearby towns.
The town suffered the Monongah Mining Disaster on December 6, 1907, described as "the worst mining disaster in American History" in which 362 miners died. Several publications document the disaster, including the Italian book, MONONGAH, la Marcinelle americana. Davitt McAteer, Clinton Administration mine safety administrator, authored the book, Monongah: The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disaster (2007).
Recently, a memorial for the miners was built in the center of the town. The memorial consists of a statue of a mother holding a baby and a small courtyard with dedications. Its opening was accompanied by visits from Gov. Joe Manchin III and a group from Italy, the homeland of many of the miners killed in the disaster.
Father Everett Francis Briggs oversaw the memorial project and died just a few days after its completion. On February 21, 2002, the West Virginia Legislature (House Concurrent Resolution no. 40) resolved "to name the bridge which traverses the West Fork River in Marion County, located .12 miles west of county route 27/2, the Father Everett Francis Briggs Bridge", in honor of Briggs' dedication to the forgotten victims of the 1907 tragedy and the mine widows.
The Motherhouse of an order of Religious women, Sisters, Auxiliaries of the Apostolate, under the direction of Mother Mary Ursula, was located in Monongah until 2011 when the convent was torn down at the direction of the Diocese of Wheeling due to wane of Sisters in the Order; no plans for the property are currently on the table. The school, St. Peter and Paul, housing grades kindergarten through eighth grade, provided an excellent education for many of the young men and women from Monongah and from as far away as Worthington, Shinnston, Farmington and Fairmont. The Sisters not only taught in the school, but also worked tirelessly in St. Barbara's Nursing Home, which was built as a memorial to the victims of the Monongah Mine Disaster. Father Everett Briggs was also instrumental in starting this facility. With all the work that the Sisters did, however, there were actions taken by some that tainted their work. For example, excessive corporal punishment has been reported by former students of St. Peter and Paul, but at the time, this was largely ignored.
For such a small community, Monongah consists of many villages or named neighborhoods. These include East Monongah, Brookdale, Traction Park, Thoburn, Tower Hill and West Monongah. Prior to being incorporated and named "Monongah," the town was called "Briartown." It is often considered to be the unofficial capital of small coal mining towns.
The broadcast tower for the Fairmont AM radio station, WMMN, was constructed in the middle 1930s atop Tower Hill in Monongah. In 2004, Jack Meredith (1925-2007) recorded his recollections of growing up on Tower Hill, including the story of how he helped dig the ditches that electrically connected the three WMMN broadcast towers. 
The town's local cement block factory went out of business in 2002 and was torn down in 2003.
Not only does the West Fork (of the Monongahela River) run through the middle of Monongah but Booths Creek (named for Continental Army James Booth, who was killed by Indians in 1778) joins the West Fork in Monongah. Once a polluted waterway due to raw sewage and industrial runoff, it has become cleaner in recent years.
The average house size is approximately 1,200 to 1,400 square feet (130 m2) and sit on less than one quarter of an acre.
Municipal service are limited and a great deal of government operations, social service support, and infrastructure maintenance is performed by county (Marion) and state (WV) agencies.
The downtown area (the heart of the coal mining camp itself) has largely been abandoned. Several small businesses have been started in this blighted area, with limited success. At one time, the downtown area housed restaurants, saloons, small grocery outlets, a "company store" (where the miners' pay - in company "scrip" - was received in exchange for outrageously priced commodities; thus decreasing the miners' overall buying power).
Monongah High School (the building which is now Monongah Middle School) was consolidated with Mannington, Barrackville, and Fairview high schools to form North Marion High School in 1980. Both Monongah High School and North Marion High School have a rich history of championship football teams. University of Alabama football head coach Nick Saban is a graduate of Monongah High School.
Monongah is located at (39.459531, -80.215787).
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,044 people, 457 households, and 301 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,130.6 inhabitants per square mile (822.6 /km2). There were 494 housing units at an average density of 1,008.2 per square mile (389.3 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.8% White, 3.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.
There were 457 households of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.1% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.81.
The median age in the town was 42 years. 19.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.6% were from 25 to 44; 27.8% were from 45 to 64; and 18.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 50.5% male and 49.5% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 939 people, 406 households, and 263 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,977.0 inhabitants per square mile (771.4/km2). There were 443 housing units at an average density of 932.7 per square mile (363.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.91% White, 5.64% African American, 0.11% Asian, and 2.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.32% of the population.
There were 406 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.92.
In the town the population was spread out with 21.0% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $25,750, and the median income for a family was $33,000. Males had a median income of $25,417 versus $19,722 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,079. About 12.2% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 17.0% of those age 65 or over.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
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