The interactive documentary Hollow introduces us to West Virginia’s McDowell County. It displays a timeline from the past to the present day of key information including population and poverty rates. The interaction of visual sequences, and audio to create a live environment as if you were there is exceptional in teaching us the poverty West Virginia’s McDowell County faces.
In the 1940’s McDowell’s population steadily increases during the period of time coal miners moved here to find paying jobs. During the 1950’s when former president Truman took seat in the United States McDowell reached a population peak of 100,000. However, from this period of time to the present as the United States modernizes the population significantly decreases.
President John F. Kennedy even states “I would not be where I now am, I would not have some of the responsibilities which I now bear, if it had not been for the people of West Virginia”. Unfortunately, the population steadily dropped despite the influence from the president.
As I scrolled down the interactive documentary I’m faced with the visual representations on subject matters of why the county dropped heavily in population. Ferocious storms resulted in destruction for the entire county. Towns were submerged under several feet of water from the storm surges. Crime rates significantly increased as resources were limited in the county. Important industrial buildings which held culture to the county were destroyed such as Pocahontas theater or the old United States Steel processing plant in Gary.
Once McDowell reached the 1980’s – 1990’s key information on the county is given. The county used to be known as “The heart of the well-known Pocahontas coalfields”, but as the county modernized the use of coal dissipated. The county reaches a poverty rate of 37.7% which is the highest rate for any county in West Virginia. Due to these aspects drug abuse increases by 200%.
Overall the interactive document introduces us to crisis situations happening in our country today. McDowell’s County in West Virginia was a prime example in displaying the booming city hitting a wall of problems till it shatters into nothing. Modernization was the catalyst to the downfall of this county. The county once known as the heart of coal miners needs to discover new business our country needs to begin another surge of population growth in wealth.