This COVID era, “Social Distancing” edition of "Adventures in Roadside Archaeology" is brought to you by me (who never left the house) and my Uncle Dick Laxton (who never left his car!)
Dad grew up in the hollers of West Virginia. My granddad was a coal miner and over the years dad has told me a story or two about shopping at the “company store” as a kid.
Coal miners had the opportunity to get paid in cash or script. For every dollar earned, the coal company would offer you $1.10 (for example) in script. The script could only be spent at the coal company store.
If you took the script, the coal company would get you coming and going - they’d pay you more in script than what you earned in cash, but they may have only paid 70 cents on what they were selling in the company store for a dollar.
For dad’s birthday, I found a piece of Koppers Store script from Koppers Coal Company where my grandad and Uncle Dickie worked. I framed it with a 30’s era pic of Koppers Store 23 in Grantown WVA, (where my grandparents lived and shopped at) and gave it to Dad.
I then Facebook messaged my Uncle Dickie who sent me photos of the Koppers Store 23 building as it stands today, almost 90 years later! The front stairs and outside display cases are long gone, but you can still see holes above the entrance that at one time held the frame work for the sign that said KOPPERS STORE 23.
I‘ve lived in Florida going on 18 years. Just about since that time, I’ve driven by this concrete lump down by the local airport every couple months and wondered, “What was that thing?” Today I found out.
The US Army established the Brooksville Airport in 1942 when Hernando County was a sparsely populated area. During construction , the Army built this 30 foot replica machine gun bunker. Then, they sent B-17’s up and used this thing for target practice.
In the 75-plus years since, the area has grown by leaps and bounds, but this remnant of WWII still remains.