What You'll Discover In These 7 Tiny West Virginia Mining Towns Is Incredible
Like most of West Virginia, the New River Gorge area has a rich history of coal mining. In fact, during the Industrial Period, more than 50 coal towns sprung up there, attracting thousands of people to the gorge with promises of a new life. These coal mining towns in West Virginia disappeared just as quickly as they appeared, though, leaving the ruins of numerous old ghost towns to be reclaimed by nature. Here are a few of those
ghost towns in WV worthy of exploration:
The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad first established a station at Prince in 1880. The town's population was 235 in 1910, versus today when it's estimated at around 100, according to the West Virginia Cyclopedia. In the 1890s, a mining company built a tipple and 78 coke ovens there. Today, it's served by an Amtrak station. It's become one of the best
scenic train rides in West Virginia
, so consider booking a ride ASAP.
In its heyday in the 1910s and 1920s, Thurmond was a classic boomtown. Once upon a time a long time ago, the town's banks had many coal barons amongst their clients, which made these banks the richest in the state. 15 passenger trains came through the town each day! The town's train depot served as many as 95,000 passengers per year. Saloons and boarding houses in town constantly had business. Things went well for a while... until they didn't. The town gradually begin to decline when the invention of diesel locomotives meant there was less of a need for coal. Today, very few people live in Thurmond. At the 2010 census, there were only five. This intriguing
West Virginia ghost town
is quite the experience.
Nuttallburg, WV 25840, USA
According to the National Park Service, English-born entrepreneur John Nuttall established the town of Nuttallburg in the 1870s. The town shipped coal to industrial cities hundreds of miles away. Even after Nuttall's death in 1897, the town was bustling. In the 1920s, Henry Ford leased the town's mines to provide coal for his steel mills. Now the town of Nuttallburg is owned by the National Park Service, ever since 1998 when the Nuttall family transferred ownership. The old
abandoned mine in West Virginia
that resides in Nuttallberg is intriguing, and we just love learning about things like it.
Stotesbury, WV 25915, USA
Stotesbury was a thriving town during the 1930s. It was named for Edward T. Stotesbury, president of the Beaver Coal Company. The town was home to the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd. Today, only a few houses from the once-bustling town remain. These unbelievable
ruins in West Virginia
are just begging to be explored!
The Kaymoor One mine was one of the most productive in the gorge, and for a long time, business was excellent. More than 16 million tons of coal were mined between the early 1900s and 1962. The miners were very diverse, and included workers from other states, black men, and those from European countries, according to the National Park Service. The mine employed about 800 workers during its peak production period. Come do one of the
creepiest hikes in West Virginia
at Kaymoor... if you dare!
Sewell was originally called Bowyers Ferry for Peter Bowyers, who established a ferry across the New River in 1798. Sewell had the first mining operation to experiment with coke ovens (a way to produce coal) and they built 50 there in 1874. Today, you can still see the ruins of these ovens and other mining and railroad operations. Sewell can be accessed at Babcock State Park. This is one of those old, forgotten
West Virginia coal towns
that just won't die, despite being dead.
Quinnimont, WV 25976, USA
, named for the five mountains that surround it, was the home of the Quinnimont Charter Oak and Iron Company's iron furnace in 1870. Much like the other coal mining towns of WV mentioned in this list, things were excellent for at least a little while. Along with Thurmond, Quinnimont became a major coal shipping town. At its biggest, the town had about 500 people, along with a railroad station, general store, hotel, jail, baseball field, churches, and boarding houses. If you go there today, you can still see the railroad switching and hold yards, two churches, remnants of an iron furnace, and a monument in honor of Col. Joseph Beury, the first mining ship operator to ship coal from the New River fields.
How many of these old, abandoned coal mining towns in West Virginia have you been to? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know!
If you can’t get enough of beautiful abandoned places in West Virginia, you might want to check out these amazing
abandoned buildings in West Virginia that nature is reclaiming.
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More to Explore
Coal Mining Towns in West Virginia
Are there any still-living coal mining towns in West Virginia?
There are some still-living coal mining towns in West Virginia, though not a lot. Many of the old coal towns are long gone now, leaving only memories, but some of the West Virginia coal towns that still have folks living there include:
Welch (population 3,600)
Cedar Grove (population 710)
Monongah (population 970)
Grant Town (population 690)
2. How many ghost towns are there in West Virginia?
West Virginia is home to numerous ghost towns – no less than 65 to be more precise. Some of the most amazing ghost towns in West Virginia are:
3. Which coal towns in West Virginia should I visit?
There are plenty of ghost towns and coal towns in West Virginia that were definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a lover of all things abandoned. Some additional coal towns in WV you should visit include gems like: