HOLDEN — Elected officials and community members gathered Saturday to dedicate a memorial to veterans who lived at 22 Holden and served from 1927 to 1965.
Charlotte Wheeler spent her childhood growing up at 22 Holden. Now living in Ironton, she has made the return trip over the past year to work on completing the project.
“We did this for about nine months,” Wheeler said. “Mostly by collecting names of people in the community, people who used to live there that we could contact. We tried to get them through the VFW, but there are no records.
Wheeler said the location chosen for the memorial could not have been more appropriate as the cliff near which it stands was a landmark when he grew up there.
“When we went on vacation or whatever, when we came back, Holden 22 is right there,” Wheeler said. “When we saw that rocky cliff, we would know we were home. It’s kind of our point of reference.
Wheeler said that since the panel’s completion, she had been contacted with more names as word of the project spread. She said they were planning an addition to the site to include more names.
“We have more that are going to be added to this,” Wheeler said. “We’re going to extend it a bit.
Wheeler said being able to honor veterans from the former community has been wonderful.
“It means everything,” Wheeler said. “We have a Facebook and we are very close. We just have a special bond with each other, including being on Facebook and staying in touch. Everyone cherishes that. We had an accident in a coal mine in 1960. They made a memorial, and we got to thinking that we needed a memorial for our soldiers.
Holden 22, as a coal camp, housed 133 family homes, three boarding houses, the community church, a company grocery store, a furniture store, a clothing store, scout cabins and a post office, according to Wheeler. She said the community also had a doctor’s office and a dental office, as well as a theater and a soft drink store.
Wheeler said preserving history is also crucial for herself and others, because after the camp was demolished in 1965, their memories are what keep the community alive.
“There’s no evidence that there were ever people living there,” Wheeler said. “There is no evidence today that the community ever existed, only memories.”
The memorial was completed with the help of the Logan County Commission, the City of Logan, and various community volunteers through financial and labor support.
HD Media reporter Nancy Peyton primarily covers Mingo County news.