The headlines are the same, coal jobs drying up, businesses leaving, and drug rates through the roof. Ed Shephard remembers a simpler time.
“Well it was the richest city in the state, there wasn’t a square foot of space in Welch that there wasn’t a business in,” Shephard said.

In a study done by West Virginia University Economics Professor John Deskins, McDowell, Wyoming, Mingo, Boone, Logan, and Clay County were classified as being in a great depression.

60 year resident Shephard remembers when sidewalks were full and you could barely walk down the street.

“The coal companies put machines, continuous operating machines in the mines and replaced the men, replaced the people,” Shephard.

Not all hope is lost here, two mines are slated to open in 2017, giving the shot in the arm that is so desperately needed for this county.