The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

Clendenin: Building the trail back through entrepreneurship


My hometown of Clendenin has a rich history that deserves to be heard. In the late 1840s, a new type of coal was discovered that when heated at the precise temperature produces a flammable liquid that burns bright. An entrepreneur named Matthew Sutton built a chimney near Clendenin on Falling Rock Creek to heat the locally mined “candle coal”, shortened to cannel coal, to produce an outside lamp oil marketed as kerosene that was distributed throughout the northeast United States. The candle oil boom sizzled as quickly as it started, lasting until just before the Civil War when petroleum was discovered in Pennsylvania.
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