Larry Gibson’s family, or the Stanley Heirs, have lived on or near Kayford Mountain since the late 1700′s and have successfully protected a piece of their original land through the creation of Stanley Heirs Park. The Stanley Heirs own the 50-acre Park which contains cabins, a stage, and a cemetary where 300 family members are buried. They used to live on the lowest lying part of the mountain, and looked “up” to the mountain peaks that surrounded them. Since 1986, though, destruction of Kayford Mountain has been continuous — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — eighteen years after the “mountain top removal” project began, Stanley Heirs Park is the highest point of land around. The Park is surrounded by more than 7,500 acres of destruction of what was previously a forested and towering mountain range.
You can find Stanley Heirs Park on Google Maps to get a sense of its location and a birds eye view of how large the mountaintop removal sites are around it, but it is important that you follow these directions as written below and don’t rely on directions from your GPS or any other source that takes you across Pax Mountain from I-64/77 because of how easy it is to get lost and how scarce cell phone signal is.
- From Charleston, WV Follow I-64/77 south (through the toll gate) and from Beckley Follow I-64/77 north.
- Take exit 79, then turn Right at the bottom of the ramp if you’re coming from the north and a Left at the bottom of the ramp if you’re coming from the south.
- Make immediate Left onto Cabin Creek Road
- Travel 7.5 miles, then bear right at the ‘Y’
- Travel 3.5 miles, and look for white church on right (Kayford Baptist church)
- Cross the one lane bridge and look for small numbered signs (1-15)
- At sign 15, bear right at the ‘Y’ and head up the mountain
- Pass the mine site entrance on your right that says “Stanley Heritage”
- Bear right at the white rock with the Biblical Quote painted on it
- Travel 1/10th of mile then turn left into the parking area.
- Look for the Pavilion and stage area down the hill.
Include Labor History in Your Tour
The West Virginia Coalfields are rich with history of peoples’ movements and organizations fighting for justice in our communities. We know that Mountaintop Removal is an expression of corporate power and is connected with the rest of the crimes of the coal industry, both on & off the job site. We strongly encourage you to include a tour of our strong union history highlighting real people fighting for justice. This tour features the WV State History Museum (exposing the lack of real peoples history), Holly Grove, Kayford Mountain, and the Whipple Company Store. To set up a day long tour featuring our rich union history, visit the When Miners March website or directly contact Wess Harris at (304)927-5333 and firstname.lastname@example.org.