Did you know that an American vice president notorious for lacking self confidence had the daylights scared out of him by getting pranked into believing that the president had died? Or that a rural West Virginia community requested foreign aid from the Soviet Union? American history is full of interesting but little known episodes like these. So here are forty things about fascinating but lesser known facts from the history of the U S of A.
40. Hard Scrabble and Hard Luck Vulcan – The Town That Sought Soviet Foreign Aid
The tiny West Virginia community of Vulcan, in Mingo County, sits on the state’s southwest border with Kentucky. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, and the Tug River on the fourth, Vulcan would probably never have been inhabited if coal had not been discovered there in the early twentieth century. A coal mining camp sprang up, and eventually gave rise to a small but thriving community. Thriving, that is, until the coal ran out in the early 1960s.
Soon as the coal was gone, Vulcan’s population began shrinking, until it was reduced to a few dozen families – stubborn holdouts unwilling to leave the place they knew as home. To the extent the outside world had ever taken notice of Vulcan, it forgot about it soon as the coal dried up. That was a problem for the locals, seeing how they were all but cut off from the rest of the world.