Hometown Park can trace its existence back to at least the 1920s. In 1918, Hatfield and Mitchell Coal and Mining Company bought the Apha Mine located nearby on the Little Guano Creek. The mining
company provided a small piece of land as a place for recreational and leisurely activity for mine workers. The superintendent of the mining operation was William C. Mitchell, which led many to call
e park "Mitchell's Grove" or, when shortened, "the Grove."
"The Grove" outlived the mining industry in Putnam County. After World War II, the park stood as the only established roadside recreational site for miles around, offering a place for picnics and family gatherings for residents of Putnam County and surrounding communities as far a way as Mason and Kanawha counties.
Mr. Meeks at "The Grove." After losing an arm in a coal mining accident, local resident Christopher Columbus Priddy worked in the 1940s as caretaker of the park. A
decade later, Hometown resident Herbert H. Meeks, 2ho was also a disabled coal miner, served in the role of Park caretaker.
Water Fountain ca. 1950. The park at Hometown
provided many visitor
amenities not to be found elsewhere. For example, the presence of a water fountain made "The Grove" enticing, as no other regional parks could
boast running water.
Photos [on the marker] courtesy of Mr. Guy Meeks.