Red Ash Island Cemetery – Brooklyn, West Virginia - Atlas Obscura

Red Ash Island Cemetery

Brooklyn, West Virginia

The isolated final resting place for perished coal miners.  

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A small stream flowing from the New River has created an isolated patch of land dubbed Red Ash Island. Here, you’ll find gravestones marking the burial places of miners who died in the nearby mines. Observing the amount of gravestones will make you realize how dangerous life in the mines was. 

The small cemetery contains the remains of those who perished in the Red Ash, Rush Run, and Echo mine disasters. There are also five larger headstones with dates from the early 1900s, including those for a husband, wife, and children who were victims of smallpox.

Know Before You Go

Red Ash Island can not be reached during wet weather months and high water. This is due to the spillway from the local New River.

If you park at the Brooklyn-Southside Junction trailhead, it will take you around an hour to reach the land they call the Island. The two-mile hike isn't in vain due to the remains of abandoned coal towns scattered though out the woodland floor. The Brooklyn-Southside Junction trail passes by the towns of Brooklyn and Red Ash before reaching the island. While hiking, keep an eye out for the mouth of a small stream on the left hand side of the trail. Try and cross here. The stream only gets wider the farther you go down the trail. Once across the water find a way to navigate the massive bolder field and onto drier land. The area here is swampy from the backflow of water from the New River. Look for an incline directly ahead and keep walking towards the highest part of the island. After climbing the hill start looking around for small river stones sticking up through the leaves of the forest floor. 

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October 17, 2019

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