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The Stonega Coke and Coal Company built this small community in 1923 for its employees and their families. Derby was the last coal company town established in Virginia and it was viable until the nearby coal resources were exhausted in 1956, after which the company sold the houses and the church to private individuals. The two-story, hipped-roof, hollow tile-block, duplex houses line both sides of VA 686 as it winds through the hollow on its way to the now-abandoned coal mine. Unlike the frame houses of earlier company towns, Derby's solidly built houses have undergone few exterior alterations. Nearly all of them retain their one-over-one sash windows, exposed rafter ends, and four-bay front porches with square wooden columns. The house (1923) at 1640 Derby Road is typical. Although the company store is gone, the Derby Methodist Church (1923) still stands in the center of the community. Built of red bricks on a poured-concrete foundation, the church has pointed-arched windows and a corner entrance tower with a shallow hipped roof, a corbeled brick cornice, and a tall pointed-arched louvered vent. A small gabled porch shelters the entrance.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee

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