In 1921, nearby Blair Mountain was the site of the West Virginia Mine Wars between thousands of rioting coal miners and federal troops, which came to the aid of embattled local authorities. Federal troops prevailed, and an unknown but relatively small number of people were killed in the fighting.
Also, during the Battle of Blair Mountain, a part of the West Virginia Mine Wars, federal troops dropped bombs upon miners attempting to reach the top.
Since the mid 1990s, Blair has been quickly depopulated by the expansion of Arco Coal Company's surface mine on Blair Mountain just above the town. Arco has bought out many local residents and filled part of the valley in which Blair rests with rock from the blasting on the mountain. About two-thirds of the approximately two hundred homes that were in Blair in the early 1990s have since been demolished.
In December 2005 a coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit to stop Arco from getting the necessary permits to create more valley fills. At the time of writing, this lawsuit was not resolved.