Located in Monongalia County, West Virginia, Scotts Run is a five-mile long hollow named after the winding stream that flows through the communities of Cassville, Jere, Pursglove, and Osage as it makes its way to the Monongahela River. By World War I, the area was one of the most intensively developed coal districts in the United States; however, during the 1930s, many of the coal mines in Scotts Run closed or operated sporadically due to the economic effects of the Great Depression. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt heard about Scotts Run through her friend Lorena Hickok, who came to north central West Virginia in 1933 to inspect the Appalachian coalfields. Hickok wrote that Scotts Run was the worst place she had ever seen, with housing “most Americans would not have considered fit for pigs.” After hearing “Hick’s” account of the area, Roosevelt traveled to Scotts Run in August of 1933 to visit with the impoverished miners and their families. The trip made a lasting impression on the first lady and formed a resolve in her to provide assistance to the residents. Within two weeks of her visit, plans to create Arthurdale were underway in Washington.
Additional information about Scotts Run:
Company houses, coal mining section, with coal washer in center, Purseglove, Scotts Run, West Virginia, Marion Post Wolcott, September 1938, Library of Congress, FSA-OWI Collection.