SPECIAL PLACES IN WEST VIRGINIA
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“West Virginia State Parks & Forests”
<<The WV State Parks and Forests have their own page on MH3WV–see the menu at the top of this page>>
“The West Virginia State Capitol Complex”
<<The West Virginia State Capitol Complex has its own page on MH3WV–see the menu at the top of this page>>
“West Virginia Museums”
<<West Virginia Museums is on a separate page–see menu at the top of this page>>
“National Forests, Parks, Heritage Areas, Landmarks, Flood Control Dams, and other Natural Features”
<<The section on WV National Forests, WV National Parks, WV National Heritage Areas, WV National Wildlife Refuges, WV National Landmarks, WV Flood Control Dams, and other Natural Features in West Virginia is on a separate MH3WV page: “National Parks/Forests/More.” See menu at the top of this page.>>
“WV Tourism Regions”
“West Virginia is the only state that lies completely within the Appalachian Mountain range, hence the nickname “the Mountain State.” Its mountainous topography varies, giving each travel region a distinct identity worth exploring. Indulge in the Eastern Panhandle’s warm springs that George Washington once enjoyed, said to have a variety of health benefits; climb rugged, steep mountains peaking at over 4,000 feet in the Potomac Highlands, including the state’s highest peak at 4,863 feet; and explore mountain towns that are so tucked away, the cultures of their early settlers still remain, like the Swiss town of Helvetia. From gentle rolling farmland to deep gorges and canyons, the unique experiences in each region are all connected by scenic drives on our winding, country roads.”
Explore WV Tourism’s “Tourism Regions” Website – Brief descriptions of each tourism / tourist region with links to much more in depth information.
<<Information on West Virginia’s Tourist Trains, including Cass Scenic Railroad, Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, New River Train, Potomac Eagle, and West Virginia Central Railroad, is on the MH3WV “Transportation page>>
“WV Music Hall of Fame”
“The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and preserving the rich and lasting contributions West Virginians have made to all genres of music. The Hall of Fame’s mission is to recognize the many important musicians who have helped shape the rich spectrum of American music from country, classical and jazz to rock, R&B, gospel and traditional. The WVMHoF’s mission also includes establishing a permanent facility to house the Hall of Fame and an accompanying museum to exhibit and archive recordings and memorabilia.”
“Historic Theatre Trail”
“The West Virginia Historic Theatre Trail developed by the State Historic Preservation Office and Preservation Alliance of West Virginia has been financed with a Preserve America grant.”
“Historic Theatres Enrich Our Communities” – Charleston Gazette
Includes: Labelle/South Charleston; Capitol Center/Charleston; Alpine/Ripley; Keith Albee/Huntington (7:30/2014/Charleston Gazette)
“The Keith-Albee Theatre”
“My video homage to what I believe to be one of the most beautiful theatres in America today. And having it in my hometown of Huntington, WV makes it even better.” (4:21/2009/Scottiepoo5612)
“Historic New Deal / CCC Trail”
“President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal programs to revitalize the nation’s economy during the Great Depression. Recreation and infrastructure projects provided employment opportunities. Begun in 1933 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), commonly called the “Tree Army,” focused on reforestation and recreation projects. More than 55,000 West Virginia men were enrolled in the CCC and the state had more than 65 camps.”
“Mountain Music Trail”
“Promoting and presenting the traditional music, dance, and folkways of the Allegheny Mountain region.”
“Promoting cultural tourism and sustainable economic development near the Highway 219 corridor in Monroe, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker counties; and sharing a cultural experience that brings together visitors and residents alike, to enjoy and participate in traditional mountain folkways.
“Traveling 219 – The Seneca Trail”
“Traveling 219 is a web-based multi-media project documenting stories from communities along US Route 219 in West Virginia and Maryland. Following the tradition of the Federal Writers’ Project from the 1930s, Traveling 219 collects stories and helps put more local voices from those communities on the radio, newspapers, and the web.”
Collections: Art & Music, Family & Community, Food & Farming, History, Maryland, Roads & Rails, Stories & Legends
Explore “Traveling 219: The Seneca Trail” Website
“WV Watersheds” – WV Department of Environmental Protection
“West Virginia has 32 watersheds divided according to the USGS (US Geological Survey) hydrologic unit codes (HUC) that contribute to the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The waters west of the eastern continental divide flow into the Ohio River. The Ohio joins the Mississippi River at Cairo, IL. The Mississippi flows into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans, LA. The eastern continental divide changes the course of five of our eastern rivers towards the Potomac River. The Potomac enters the Chesapeake Bay southeast of Washington DC. A few streams in the southeastern corner of the state flow towards the James River.”
“3 Rivers: The Bluestone, Gauley and New” – WV Public Broadcasting
“A 90-minute documentary from West Virginia Public Broadcasting explores the economic, environmental, cultural, historical and geographic impact of the largest federally protected system of rivers east of the Mississippi. Three Rivers: The Bluestone, Gauley and New examines the ongoing relationship between mankind and nature in this region. The film is a combination of travelogue, examination of efforts to improve the environment, and a mechanism for promoting economic development through tourism.”
“WVU Jackson’s Mill” – Lewis Co.
“Jackson’s Mill, home to West Virginia 4-H camping, is a rustic-style conference and event facility in an historic, heritage-based setting a few miles outside of Weston, WV. Jackson’s Mill is also home to the West Virginia Fire Academy, a one-of-a-kind training facility for volunteer and professional firefighters from around the state and nation.
“In 1921 the property was deeded to the State of West Virginia to be used as a youth camp and entrusted to the Extension Service of West Virginia University. WVU Jackson’s Mill was developed and became the nation’s first state 4-H camp.”
“Camp Caesar” – Webster Co.
“Also known as the Webster County 4-H Camp, Camp Caesar is a historic campsite located just over 4 miles from Cowen and almost 10 miles from Webster Springs (Addison). The camp was established in 1922 by local members of the Farm Bureau and the Webster County extension agent, Julius A. Wolfram.”
“Cedar Lakes” – Jackson Co.
“A 228-acre tract of land two miles south of Ripley was selected by the State Board of Education as a camp site for the Future Farmers and Future Homemakers of America (now the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America). The project was authorized by the 1949 Legislature. It is the mission of Cedar Lakes to provide leadership and educational opportunities with quality service in an outstanding environment.” Site of the annual “Mountain State Art and Craft Fair.”
“The Green Bank Observatory” – Pocahontas Co.
“The National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, operates the world’s premiere astronomical telescope operating from centimeter to millimeter wavelengths. The Observatory has an active engineering research and development program ranging in areas from digital, mechanical, structural, computational, and software engineering. The laboratories, utilities and support facilities make it an attractive location for a variety of research experiments, and it serves as the field station for several university-based research teams. The Observatory is also a major resource for STEM education and public outreach and is used for an extensive array of programs in education and public outreach, and for the training of science and engineering students and teachers. These activities center on the Green Bank Science Center, with its auditorium, classrooms, research facilities and large exhibit hall, which is visited by 50,000 people every year.”
“Lab 304: Great Big Telescope” – WV Public Broadcasting
“Mike Youngren produced this story on the Robert C. Byrd Telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Greenbank, West Virginia. Bob Wilkinson and Chuck Frostick were the videographers for this piece. Wilkinson was also the video editor.”
(6:22/2008/WV Public Broadcasting)
“The Town Where Wi-Fi Is Banned: The Green Bank Telescope and the Quiet Zone”
“Tucked away in a valley in the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia, is this: the Green Bank Radio Telescope, the largest steerable radio telescope in the world. And there are some rather special rules for the area around it… Thanks to Justin Richmond-Decker and Mike Holstine at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank for inviting me over and letting us film at the Telescope on one of their maintenance days!” (5:49/2016/TomScott)
“The Town Where High Tech Meets a 1950s Lifestyle” – The Atlantic
“Life in Green Bank, West Virginia, is far from ordinary. The small town sits inside a “national radio quiet zone” that houses one of the largest radio telescopes in the world. To ensure that astronomers work without interference, residents cannot use any product that transmits wireless signals within a ten-mile radius of the telescope. In other words: no microwave ovens, no cell phones, and no Wi-Fi. ‘Just about anything that uses electricity could potentially cause interference to our telescopes,’ says Jonah Bauserman, a technician for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.” (5:11/2014/The Atlantic)
“The Largest Fully Steerable Telescope in the World” – National Geographic
“The Green Bank Telescope, located in Green Bank, West Virginia, is home to the largest fully steerable telescope in the world. Taller than the Statue of Liberty, and with a diameter equivalent to the length of three U.S. football fields, this engineering marvel is precise enough to capture the faintest radio waves in the cosmos. Using the data from the GBT, researchers and scientists are able to study the faintest radio objects in the universe.” (3:24/2014/NationalGeographic)
“Criminal Justice Information Services Division” – US Federal Bureau of Investigation – Harrison Co.
“Nestled in the hills of West Virginia is a high-tech hub that supports crime-fighting and national security.
“Here, statisticians are compiling vast amounts of data from law enforcement into a series of regular reports detailing the state of crime in communities across the country. The world’s largest repository of criminal fingerprints and history records is being searched in a flash by investigators and police professionals working to catch crooks and terrorists. State-of-the-art technologies, built to ensure the timely and legal purchase of weapons, are instantly returning results to gun shops nationwide.
“That’s just the beginning of what goes on at CJIS—the Criminal Justice Information Services Division—home to an array of services that are a lifeline to law enforcement and a cornerstone of protecting the nation.”
“Like the loops and whorls of the fingerprints on file there, the FBI’s crime data center outside Clarksburg, West Virginia, is one of a kind.”
“US Bureau of the Fiscal Service” – Wood Co.
“You haven’t heard of the Bureau of the Public Debt before? We are a small agency within the Department of the Treasury. Our customers are your neighbors, co-workers, and most likely you, too. You were our customer if you’ve ever bought any type of Treasury security for yourself or, as millions have done in the case of savings bonds, as a gift for someone else.
“We are located both in Washington, DC, and in Parkersburg, WV. The majority of our staff works in our offices in Parkersburg.”
In 2012, the US Treasury Department consolidated the operations of the Bureau of the Public Debt and the Financial Management Service into the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.
Explore “US Bureau of the Public Debt” article from USA Today – numerous advertisements
“Oglebay Resort” – Ohio Co.
“Over a hundred years ago, a tradition of generous hospitality was started at the summer estate of Earl W. Oglebay in Wheeling, West Virginia. Today, Oglebay Resort and Conference Center offers 1,700 acres of year-round recreational opportunities and excellent overnight accommodations while retaining its picturesque natural beauty.”
“Oglebay Park – Celebrating 90 Years of Fun”
“Oglebay Festival of Lights”
“The Greenbrier” – Greenbrier Co.
“Located amid the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia, The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark and world-class resort that has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1778. The natural mineral springs that drew our first guests over 235 years ago continue to lure visitors to our 11,000 acre luxury retreat today. With a guest list that includes 27 of our country’s 45 Presidents, America’s Resort has long been a favorite destination of royalty, celebrities and business leaders. Today, The Greenbrier invites a new generation to come out and play. Enjoy relaxing pastimes, start treasured traditions, or set out on an amazing adventure together. You’ll find endless vacation possibilities at The Greenbrier.”
THE GREENBRIER RE-IMAGINED
“Combining graciousness of the past with exceptional comforts of today, a new era of elegance awaits you at The Greenbrier. This renowned property offers 710 rooms, including 33 suites and 96 guest and estate homes. The Greenbrier has 10 lobbies, 40+ meeting rooms and a complete conference center facility. The Greenbrier is widely regarded as one of the finest luxury resorts around the world. Surrounded by the wondrous Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier offers exclusive services and amenities such as championship golf, fine dining, more than 55 activities, designer boutiques, our world-renowned mineral spa and a 103,000 square foot gaming and entertainment venue.”
“There is Only One – The Greenbrier”
“The Greenbrier is a distinct and spectacular, luxury mountain resort situated in the mountains of West Virginia. It features 710 guest rooms, suites, cottages and estate homes, 19 restaurants and lounges and four breathtaking golf courses. Guests experience authentic southern hospitality making memories that will last a lifetime at one of the most remarkable resorts in the world. Since 1778, The Greenbrier truly is one of one.”
“The Greenbrier Exhibit at the WV Division of History & Culture”
“The Bunker at The Greenbrier”
“The secret is out! The declassified Bunker at The Greenbrier is a must-see experience that takes you behind the scenes and walks you through a fascinating period in the resort’s history. Carved deep into the mountainside beneath our West Virginia Wing is an emergency Cold War fallout shelter. Once a top secret U.S. government relocation facility for Congress, The Bunker is now open to anyone interested in reliving a legendary piece of The Greenbrier history. Bunker Tours provide a unique and in-depth look behind the hidden doors and let you explore an aspect of The Greenbrier that no other resort can claim.”
“The Bunker At The Greenbrier”
“WV Hauntings” – WV Tourism
“A guide to the Haunted Tours of WV”
Explore WV Tourism’s “WV Hauntings” Brochure pdf (2008) If You Dare!
“Former WV Penitentiary” – Marshall Co.
“The former West Virginia Penitentiary is a gothic-style fortress situated in the heart of historic Moundsville, West Virginia. The structure, which has been placed on the National Historic Register, encompasses over ten acres of ground and was the second public building constructed by the newly formed state of West Virginia after the Civil War. It operated from 1876 to 1995.”
“The Trans-Allegheny Asylum” – Lewis Co.
“The Trans-Allegheny Asylum, constructed between 1858 and 1881, is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America, and is purportedly the second largest in the world, next to the Kremlin. It previously housed Weston State Hospital.”
“West Virginia’s Haunted Amusement Park” – Mercer Co. – Charleston Gazette-Mail
“The ghost tales and sightings come fast and furious from the lips of the owner of West Virginia’s “Haunted Amusement Park” near Princeton. Gaylord White is the master of ectoplasmic ceremonies at the supposedly ghost-ridden park, filled with the vine-ridden corpses of a Ferris wheel and a swing ride on which a little girl once died – and still haunts, White says. Not to mention the potential ghostly visitations by a host of American Indian ghosts who used to have villages here. Take a visit to the park in this Charleston Gazette video . . . shot and produced by Kathryn Gregory and Douglas Imbrogno.” (2:52/2010/Charleston Gazette)
“Mothman Museum” – Mason Co.
“Flatwoods / Braxton County Monster” – Braxton Co.
“In modern police parlance a long unsolved homicide or other crime may be known as a “cold case,” a term we might borrow for such paranormal mysteries as that of the Braxton Monster, which was launched on September 12, 1952, and never completely explained. At about 7:15 p.m. on that day, at Flatwoods, a little village in the hills of West Virginia, some youngsters were playing football on the school playground. Suddenly they saw a fiery UFO streak across the sky and, apparently, land on a hilltop of the nearby Bailey Fisher farm. The youths ran to the home of Mrs. Kathleen May, who provided a flashlight and accompanied them up the hill. In addition to Mrs. May, a local beautician, the group included her two sons, Eddie 13, and Freddie 14, Neil Nunley 14, Gene Lemon 17, and Tommy Hyer and Ronnie Shaver, both 10, along with . . .”
“Mystery Hole” – Fayette Co.
“This mysterious mind-baffling Mystery Hole was ‘unclosed’ for public view around the middle of the year 1973, and is probably the best kept secret in WEST VIRGINIA or maybe in the whole U.S.A., …no one really knows for sure. Here the laws of gravity seem to have gone berserk and your sense of balance is entirely upset.”
“New Vrindaban – The Hare Krishna Palace of Gold” – Marshall Co.
“The New Vrindaban Holy Dham is set in the beautiful and peaceful Appalachian Mountains in the rural West Virginia Panhandle. This spiritual community has been a place of pilgrimage for many thousands of visitors each year. Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra Mandir, the main temple hall, is the main attraction of many wonderful attractions in the New Vrindaban Community and is usually the first stop for all visitors and pilgrims.”
“Discover the Palace, Palace Rose Garden, Lotus Pond & Natural Beauty, Palace Gift Shop, New Vrindaban Temple, New Vrindaban Goshalla, New Vrindaban Gardens”
“New Vrindaban” – Smithsonian Channel
“Set in the Appalachian Mountains of WV, New Vrindaban is home to the largest Hare Krishna community in America. It’s also known as ‘America’s Taj Mahal.’ “
“Palace of Gold”
“Summit Bechtel Reserve” – Boy Scouts of America – Fayette Co.
National High Adventure Base – National Training Center – National Scout Camp
“Situated in the wilds of West Virginia, The Summit is a training, Scouting, and adventure center for the millions of youth and adults involved in the Boy Scouts of America and anyone who loves the outdoors. The Summit Bechtel Reserve is also home to the National Scout Jamboree and the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base which complements the three existing bases: Philmont Scout Ranch, Northern Tier and Florida Sea Base.
“Get ready for the next century of Scouting. With incredible facilities and amazing outdoor programs, The Summit is a place that takes Scouts and Venturers to the limits of what they think they can do, and then pushes them further.
“The Summit is more than just a place for Scouts; it’s where future leaders are shaped.”
“Tamarack – The Best of West Virginia” – Raleigh Co.
“Tamarack’s striking, peaked red roof and attractively landscaped grounds draw half a million visitors annually into a welcome respite of visual beauty, Appalachian sounds, and distinctive aromas.
“Tamarack, with its unique retail artisan products and extraordinary food fare, started out as a simple vision to promote the Mountain State’s wonderful image. Wildly popular after nearly 20 years, Tamarack greets hundreds of thousands of guests annually with a memorable experience.”
“Camden Park” – Cabell Co.
“Camden Park is owned by the Boylin Family. This is the second generation of Boylin’s owning and operating WV’s only amusement park. J. P. Boylin transformed Camden Park from a carousel at the end of a trolly line in Huntington, WV to an amusement park for families of all ages in 1950. By the late 19th century almost every large town in America had streetcars and many had parks to boost weekend and holiday traffic. Originally developed as a picnic area by the Camden Interstate Railway in 1903 Camden Park has survived into the 21st century as a thriving traditional amusement park. Over the years Camden Park has been the setting for baseball games, tens of thousands of picnics, fairs, marathon dances, roller derbies, flagpole sitting, a swimming pool, a zoo, plus numerous attractions and rides.”
“Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo” – Preston Co.
“This West Virginia Zoo is home to over 30 different species of native and exotic animals from all over the world. What started out as a small collection of deer, black bear, cougars and tigers has turned into a menagerie. You always find new babies for that special photo opportunity.”
Giraffe, Chimpanzee, Grizzly Bear, African Lion, White Bengal Tiger, Orange Bengal Tiger, Russian Wild Boar, Spider Monkey, Ringtail Lemurs, Himalayan Bear, Japanese Macaque, Aoudad, Spotted Leopard, Black Leopard, African Pygmy Goat, Miniature Donkey, Rattlesnake, Olive Baboon, Raccoon, Buffalo, Pot Belly Pig, Bobcat, Camel, Turtles, Grivet Monkey, Capuchin Monkey, various Reptiles.
“WV State Wildlife Center” – WV Division of Natural Resources – Upshur Co.
“The West Virginia State Wildlife Center is a modern zoological facility displaying native and introduced state wildlife.” Also the home of “French Creek Freddie.”
Explore “WV State Wildlife Center” Brochure pdf – includes Facilities, Map, Exhibits, History, Admission
“Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine” – Raleigh Co.
“At the Exhibition Coal Mine, visitors ride through the dark passages of a vintage coal mine. The guides are veteran miners and provide firsthand accounts of the daily responsibilities and travail of past and present day miners.
“Guests board a comfortable coal mine “man trip” that holds approximately 35 people for the duration of the whole tour. As the trip begins, guides give general information about the Mine and the history of coal mining in our region. The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine is a “drift mine” and the track goes 1500 feet up and around various mined out areas. Stops are made at these areas and the veteran guides give in-depth information on the mining methods and equipment seen. The underground tour last approximately 35 minutes. Visitors are asked to bring a jacket because the temperature is always 58 degrees inside the Mine.
“In addition to the Mine, one can tour the period coal camp buildings situated throughout the grounds. Lovingly restored, the Coal Company House, Superintendent’s Home, Pemberton Coal Camp Church, and the Helen Coal Camp School, give visitors a true representation of early 20th century coal camp life.”
“Sistersville Ferry” – Tyler Co.
“First established in 1817, the Sistersville Ferry, located in Sistersville, West Virginia, makes the journey across the Ohio River over to Fly, Ohio. It takes roughly eight minutes to make the journey. In 1902, the Steam Ferry Boat Orion landed at Sistersville, W.Va. It operated between 1902 and 1907, when it was replaced by a similar boat the Daniel. Sistersville has one of the best Ferry systems along the Ohio River. The Ferry now is owned by the City of Sistersville.”
<The ferry is not operating as of 2019–hopefully only a temporary situation.>
“John Henry Historical Park – ‘Home of the Steel Drivin’ Man’ ” – Summers Co.
“John Henry is a beloved folk hero for having raced against a steam powered drill to prove worth of using the crew of men rather than machine and to hopefully, preserve the rail workers’ jobs. He proudly fought and won the epic battle, only to die in victory with his hammer in his hand. His legend is a reminder that America and all of its successes and advancements were buillt by everyday heroes like John Henry. The location of the epic contest between man and machine took place at the Great Bend Tunnel in Talcott, WV.”
“John Henry and the Coming of the Railroad” – National Park Service
“Wherever you may find yourself in the New River Gorge, take the time to quietly listen. Intertwined with the sounds of nature; birdsong, flowing water, and wind through the trees you will most likely also hear the whistle of a train. The original Chesapeake and Ohio railroad company line was constructed, following the New River through the Gorge, between 1869 and 1872. This line is very active today with dozens of daily runs by CSX railway corporation coal and freight trains, and Amtrak’s Cardinal passenger line. . .
“The C&O railroad was built primarily by two groups of working men, thousands of African-Americans recently freed from enslavement, and recent Irish Catholic immigrants; both groups anxious to begin new lives for themselves and their families as American citizens. . .
“One of the greatest legends of world folklore was born from these workers and their enormous task; John Henry ‘The Steel Driving Man’. . .”
“How John Henry Became an American Folk Hero” – Smithsonian Channel
“The railroad tracks that crisscross West Virginia pass through the state’s mountains – an engineering feat made possible by the steam-powered drill, or, according to legend, a man named John Henry.” (3:16/2014/Smithsonian Channel)
“The Ballad of John Henry” – Johnny Cash
“This is the Legendary Story of “John Henry.” Johnny Cash Show – 1×23 [Ep 23] – [March 11 ’70]”
“The Rumsey Monument” – Jefferson Co. – The Rumseian Society
“Devoted to the history and inventions of James Rumsey.”
“Pringle Tree Park” – Upshur Co.
“One of the most notable historic landmarks is the Pringle Tree Park; the current park marks the first permanent settlement west of the Alleghenies in Virginia, settled by Samuel and John Pringle in 1764. The brothers lived in a hollowed Sycamore tree for 3 years and eventually began a permanent settlement with other emigrants.”
“The Pringle Brothers and the Sycamore Tree” – Jackson Brigade Memorial Service
“World’s Largest Teapot” – Hancock Co.
1938 — The Chester Teapot was constructed by William “Babe” Devon. The Teapot started its life as a gigantic wooden hogshead barrel for a Hire’s Root Beer advertising campaign. Devon purchased the barrel in Pennsylvania and had it shipped to Chester where it was set up on Carolina Avenue, which is also State Route 2. A spout and handle were added at this time and the wooden barrel was covered with tin to form the teapot’s shape. A large glass ball was placed on top to make the knob of the “lid”. The Teapot stood in front of Devon’s pottery outlet store. Local teenagers were hired to run a concession and souvenir stand which was set up inside the Teapot. . .
“The Coal House” – Mingo Co. – WV Executive Magazine
“Weighing in at 65 tons with 2 ft. thick walls, it’s . . . made entirely of coal. Built in 1933, it was designed by architect H.T. Hicks from an idea by O. W. Evans. It was constructed from blocks of local seam coal donated by coal companies in the region. Williamson’s coal house doesn’t really look like a house — and no one has lived in it as far as we know. It served for many years to promote the county, and continues as the office for the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce. In October 2010, the Williamson Coal House was gutted by a fire, but its exterior survived fairly intact. It was repaired and reopened to visitors in September 2011.” – From Roadside America website
Another “Coal House” in Greenbrier County:
“Rosbey’s (Rosbby’s) Rock” – Marshall Co.
“This rock is an obscure landmark in an obscure community in the West Virginia panhandle, but it deserves to be as well-known as the Golden Spike Natural Historical Site that marks the point at which the transcontinental railroad was completed. Roseby’s Rock is significant for an earlier event of similar importance in the embryonic days of American railroading. Near this point in a narrow valley southeast of Wheeling, the last spike was driven in the B&O Railroad on Christmas Eve 1852, closing the gap in the rail connection between Baltimore and the Ohio River at Wheeling. The rock was named for Roseby Carr, the B&O official in charge of construction in this territory. The celebration after the line’s completion may or may not have been responsible for the misspelling “Rosbby” chiseled into the big rock. The historic B&O line through Roseby’s Rock was abandoned years ago.” – Jon R. Roma
“The inscribed boulder marks the spot, where on Dec. 24, 1852, the rails of the B&O were joined forming a railroad link between Baltimore (the Atlantic Ocean) and the Ohio River. This site is the original Promontory Point linking the two water drainages. Construction of the railroad was started on July 4, 1928, and its completion represented one of the major milestones in United States history and development. The railroad aided commerce and westward expansion.” – WV Tourism
“The Berkeley Springs Castle” – Morgan Co.
“The warm mineral waters in Berkeley Springs have made it a major vacation destination for centuries. Native Americans came from as far away as Canada to cure ailments. Thomas Jefferson’s father noted it as Medicine Springs in 1747. George Washington enjoyed the spa waters so much that he and his closest friends purchased land in the town.
“The English-Norman Berkeley Castle, a National and West Virginia registered historical landmark, was built by Colonel Samuel Taylor Suite between 1885 and 1891. Colonel Suit was a wealthy businessman who fought in the Civil War. When he was 46, Colonel Suit met and fell in love with Rosa Pelham, the 17-year old daughter of Congressman Charles Pelham of Alabama. He tried to persuade her to marry him, but she turned him down. . .
Allegheny Mountain Radio – Pocahontas Co.
“Allegheny Mountain Radio is a network of three community stations which are public and non-commercial. They are operated by volunteers and a small paid staff. Pocahontas Communications Cooperative, the licensee of the stations, is a non-profit organization formed in April 1979 for educational and charitable purposes and to operate community radio stations. Financial support is derived from individual donations, business underwriting, and grants. Allegheny Mountain Radio serves the Allegheny Highlands of the two Virginias. Our coverage area includes Pocahontas County in West Virginia and Bath and Highland County in Virginia.”
Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory – Monroe Co.
“Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory on Peter’s Mountain in Monroe County, West Virginia, is a former fire tower now used to monitor raptor migration. Every year, starting around the first of September, volunteers man the tower to watch for migrating hawks, eagles, falcons, and ospreys. . .Hanging Rock Tower is a simple forest service fire tower on top of a mountain. Its proximity to the Allegheny Trail allows for year-round casual visitors, but most of the birding activity takes place during the fall migration season which runs from the middle of August through November. There is no electricity, running water, or bathroom facilities other than an outdoor privy (which we keep as clean as possible). You need to be sure to take drinking water. Other items you may want to take are binoculars, food, sunglasses, an extra layer of clothing (it is sometimes a different world on top of the hill), sunscreen, hat, bird books, and comfortable hiking shoes.”
“Parkette / Shoney’s” – Kanawha Co.
“Outdoor mini-exhibit on 1947 founding of a fast food chain. The historical plaque credits Alex Schoenbaum with starting what became Shoney’s Big Boy as the Parkette Drive-In here. He expanded his Shoney’s chain over 40 years to include 1,900 restaurants. At the very west end of Kanawha Blvd., as it curves to join with the Patrick Street bridge, is a lonely structure commemorating the location of the very first Shoney’s restaurant. The forgotten Big Boy mascot stands at the top of a pedestal, forever holding up his Big Boy Burger. The sign directing visitors calls it a museum, but there is no inside. Just a few windows full of memorabilia & a plaque giving the history of the restaurant and its founder. I only spotted one tiny keychain bear. I guess he and Big Boy aren’t on speaking terms, seeing that the furry guy replaced him.” (From “RoadsideAmerica.com)
The Parkette Is considered by many to be the birth of the entire fast food industry.
“Big Boy gets his own memorial in a tribute to the Shoney’s Restaurant chain, which began as The Parkette, a Charleston institution founded soon after the end of World War II. In this SoundSlides for the Charleston Gazette, get a glimpse of the monument.” (2:42/2009/douglaseye)
“The Hatfield-McCoy Trails”
“The Hatfield-McCoy Trails are made up of over 700+ miles of trails located in the rich mountains of southern West Virginia. As one of the largest off-highway vehicle trail systems in the world, Hatfield-McCoy Trails is open 365 days a year and offers something for every skill level.”
“The Coal River ‘Walhonde’ Water Trail”
“The Coal River “Walhonde” Water Trail is an 88-mile long designated river trail for paddlers. The trail covers nearly the entire length of the Big, Little, and main Coal Rivers and features Department of Natural Resources boat launches for accessing the rivers.”
Some trails also allow Bicycling and/or Horseback Riding.
“Trails in West Virginia” – TrailLink
“Explore West Virginia trails and find comprehensive trail guides including West Virginia trail maps, descriptions, photos and reviews.Whether you’re getting outdoors for recreation, fitness, commuting or travel you’ll discover top trails for bicycling, hiking, running and more on TrailLink.com.Get outdoors and explore all West Virginia has to offer including popular trails like Blackwater Canyon Trail and Allegheny Highlands Trail.With more than 59 trails, you’re bound to find one perfect for you.”
“ATC’s administrative headquarters are located in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.”
Explore “Appalachian Trail” Website
“WV Scenic Trails Association”
“The West Virginia Scenic Trails Association (WVSTA) is a nonprofit organization founded in the early 1970s and staffed entirely by volunteers.”
Explore “WV Scenic Trails Association” Website
“The Allegheny Trail”
“The Allegheny Trail is a 330-mile (or will be when the last 20 miles are completed) north-south trail whose northern terminus is on the Mason-Dixon Line at the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border near Bruceton Mills. It wends its way south until it meets the Appalachian Trail on Peters Mountain at the Virginia-West Virginia border.”
“The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club”
“The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is a volunteer-based organization headquartered in Vienna, Virginia. The PATC was founded in 1927 by the visionaries who planned and built the Appalachian Trail. The club now manages more than 1,050 miles of hiking trails in the Mid-Atlantic region, along with cabins, shelters, and hundreds of acres of conserved land.”
“The Great Eastern Trail”
“The Great Eastern Trail will provide a 2000 mile hiking experience in the western Appalachian Mountains. It will connect pre-existing trails (like the Mary Ingles, Allegheny, Tuscarora, and Appalachian Trails in WV) and existing outdoor recreation areas from Alabama to New York. This mighty trail will cross eight counties in West Virginia: Mingo, Wyoming, Mercer, Raleigh, Summers, Monroe, Greenbrier, & Pocahontas.”
Explore “The Great Eastern Trail Map” – Click on map for larger version–Click on “Get Info” for more details.
“The American Discovery Trail”
“The American Discovery Trail is the only coast-to-coast trail connecting national scenic, historic and recreational trails to showcase our county’s history, beauty and hidden treasures.”
“Mountain State Rail Trails” – WV Tourism
“Over 375 miles of train tracks have been converted into trails for walking, hiking, biking and horseback riding. The rail trails, with their gentle or level grades and wide rights of way, are easily accessible and are among the most beautiful and scenic in the country. With almost 30 rail trails dispersed throughout the state, enjoying the outdoors becomes easy and fun for all ages.”
“Agricultural Extension Division Community Histories” – WV Archives & History
“The obligation rests on us to maintain strong and virile rural communities. Among the hills of West Virginia are hundreds of communities containing from 25 to one hundred families where the spirit to meet this obligation exists.”
“These remarks, made by the director of the West Virginia University Agricultural Extension Division, marked an ongoing effort to focus the attention of outside agencies on rural communities. In October 1921 a country community score card was developed, which listed specific standards or goals under nine headings–history, government, business, farm, clubs, homes, schools, churches and health. As a result of these community score cards, approximately one hundred community histories were published by the Agricultural Extension Division in Morgantown in the 1920s and 30s. The West Virginia State Archives library currently holds fifty-eight of these histories.”
“Helvetia: The History of a Swiss Village in the Mountains of West Virginia” – Randolph Co. – WVU Press
“The Story of the Helvetia Community” – WV Archives and History
An example of “Agricultural Extension Division Community Histories”
“New Deal Communities” (3) – National New Deal Preservation Society
“The Legacy of the New Deal”
“FDR made it possible for many of our family members to survive during the Great Depression and to create New Deal treasures all over this nation that we are still using and enjoying today. You may not know what they are. It can include such things in your town, city, county or state like schools and other public buildings, parks, roads, bridges, cemeteries, swimming pools, water and sewer systems, rural electricity, murals, paintings, sculptures, and even symphonic orchestras. Many of today’s legal rights for labor were established in the New Deal era. The FDIC protects your bank account, and Social Security is possibly critical to you and your family.”
Explore “National New Deal Preservation Association’s” Website –Best links near bottom and at very bottom of page
1 – “Arthurdale” – Preston Co.
“Eleanor’s Little Village”
“Revisit the 1930s in Arthurdale, West Virginia. Established in 1933, by the United States government, Arthurdale is the nation’s first New Deal Homestead Community. Created through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation, the community provided a new chance at life for residents of West Virginia who were suffering from the Great Depression. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt served as the empathetic force behind the community, which became known as “Eleanor’s Little Village” because of her interest. Today, Arthurdale is a National Historic District that features 160 of the 165 original homesteads.”
Photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt Dancing in Arthurdale Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
From WV Tourism: “Arthurdale was the first of 99 New Deal communities built by the federal government during the Depression. Eleanor Roosevelt was deeply involved in planning the community and visited often. The New Deal Homestead Museum consists of 5 original buildings – Administration, Center Hall complex, Forge, Esso Station, and a Homestead house. Personally guided tours are available…”
“Arthurdale – The Unknown Jewel”
“The town of Arthurdale is located in Preston County, WV. This community was started by Eleanor Roosevelt, WVU and the American Friends Service Committee. Arthurdale was the first New Deal Homestead Community and was considered “Eleanors Little Village.” The community was started in the early 1930s and was managed by the government until 1947. The community started with 165 homesteads, of which 160 still remain. The community is now listed as a historical landmark and they have tours throughout the year.” (4:12/2008/Michelle Liga)
2 – “Eleanor” – Putnam Co.
“The decision by the federal government to build a third Homestead Community in West Virginia would ultimately bring this area into national prominence.”
From WV Tourism: “In 1934, a total of 150 families were selected for the Town of Eleanor, a community of 2,200 acres. Each house plot was three-quarters of an acre to an acre and provided for a barn, chicken pen, garden and a lawn. Built of cinder blocks, the three to five room homes were designed in several basic styles with an average cost of $1,800 to $2,500. The homes were built by the homesteaders, of which 146 still remain. In 1935, the project name was changed from Red House Farms to Eleanor in honor of the First Lady, who is reported to have made five trips to this project.”
3 – “Tygart Valley Homesteads” – Randolph Co.
From WV Tourism: “Tygart Valley Homesteads: Dailey, East Dailey and Valley Bend were built in 1934-35 for workers laid off from local mining and lumbering jobs. Successful applicants were selected with “homesteaders” working for credit towards their homes and for actual pay. A new school was constructed and still serves as an elementary school. In Dailey there are several structures extant: trade center, store, post office and fire department. Most homes are found in Valley Bend. At the end of the project, Tygart Valley paid back the initial loans in full to the U.S. government along with a profit from the sale of the lumber mill. Today the community remains largely intact with descendents of many homesteaders still living in the communities, although infill homes have sprung up on the once 2-3 acre homesteads.”
“Bramwell” – Mercer Co.
“Bramwell is a West Virginia Historic Town on a peninsula of the Bluestone River – founded 1888. The town reflects large fortunes amassed by local coal barons and is renowned for having an abundance of well preserved Victorian and Tudor style mansions. Around the turn of the century fourteen millionaires resided here during the town’s heyday. Bramwell offers self-guided walking tours and pre-arranged group tours that are highlighted by Spring and Christmas historic home tours.”
“Tucked away in the hills of southern West Virginia is a tiny town with a huge history. Bramwell, located 8 miles north of Bluefield, WV, is known as the “Home of the Millionaires.” Settled in the early 1800s the area was surrounded by massive coal deposits. As the coal was mined, the operators began to build grand homes in Bramwell. The town became known as the richest town for its size at the turn of the 20th century.”
“Bramwell, West Virginia”
“Bramwell, West Virginia was a residential paradise, wealthy coal barons could live in luxury. They could enjoy a fabulous social life among their wealthy neighbors. There were plenty of merchants, ministers, doctors, attorneys and others that supported their lifestyle. In the late 1800s, Bramwell had electric street lights, a weekly newspaper, a water company, and even telephone service.” (8:10/2007/Dan Traveling)
“Coalwood” – McDowell Co.
“World famous as the site of Homer Hickam, Jr.’s, book “Rocket Boys” and the film “October Sky,” the McDowell County community of Coalwood is featured in an article, “Historic Coalwood,” in the summer  issue of Goldenseal magazine.
“The article, which was written by noted West Virginia coal historian Stuart McGehee, is an insightful account of the rise and fall of this historic coal company town. McGehee traces Coalwood’s history from its founding in 1902 as a company town for the Carter Coal & Coke Company, through its rise to national recognition as a model mining community in the early 1930s, to its gradual decline due to mechanization and global competition.”
Trivia: If you rearrange the letters in “Rocket Boys” (the book title) you get “October Sky” (the movie title)
“Coalwood, West Virginia”
“We visited the annual October Sky Festival, or the Rocket Boys Reunion as it is known up there in Coalwood West Virginia. For those that aren’t familiar with this event, it is an annual reunion of folks from Coalwood , the folks from the movie October Sky, and the actual Rocket Boys themselves. Our visit includes segments of Homer Hickam signing autographs, Homer is the best selling Author of The Rocket Boys, later made into a movie by Joe Johnson called October Sky (the one with Jake Gyllenhaal and Laura Dern) also Scott Miles, who played Homer’s (Jake’s) older brother in the movie there were also NASA astronauts, Virginia Tech Students, children with rockets from all over and the townsfolk as well.”(9:58/2007/Dan Traveling)
“International Mother’s Day Shrine” – Taylor Co.
“The International Mother’s Day Shrine and Museum will preserve, promote and develop through education, the Spirit of Motherhood, as exemplified by the lives of Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis and Anna Jarvis, and the institution of Mother’s Day that they established.”
“Anna Jarvis and the History of Mother’s Day” – WV Public Broadcasting
“May 11, 2008, was the 100th Anniversary of Mother’s Day. The holiday began in Grafton. Emily Corio has more on the West Virginia connection to Mother’s Day, and how the person who started it all later lamented what the holiday turned into.” (4:29/2008/WV Public Broadcasting)
“Pearl S. Buck Birthplace” – Pocahontas Co.
“Located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace showcases the home where the Nobel Prize-winning author was born in 1892. The museum is dedicated to celebrating the influence that the home and West Virginia lifestyle had on Pearl and how it shaped some of her major work throughout her life. Known as one of the voices of her generation, many people don’t know that her life began in a modest home located in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. The site, a National Historical Site located in the town of Hillsboro, features a modest two-story, hand-built, home where the author was born. Beloved by millions of readers, THE GOOD EARTH, has been one of the most popular novels of this century since its publication in 1931. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Dean Howells medal for fiction. For over 30 years, Pearl S. Buck’s novel played a major role in shaping Western attitudes toward China.”
“Historic Partnership Brings Priceless Pearl S. Buck Collection to WVU”
“West Virginia University, West Virginia Wesleyan College and the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation formed a partnership to preserve and disseminate the legacy of Pearl S. Buck. As part of that agreement, a priceless collection of literary manuscripts by Buck will be housed at the WVU Libraries.”
Video includes scenes from the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace. (3:29/2014/WVU)
“Nancy Hanks Birthplace” – Mineral Co.
“The cabin is a replica of the original, in which Nancy Hanks was born, on February 5, 1784.
“Across the street from the cabin, there’s a small plaque on a stone pillar. It’s the only thing on the property that explains who Nancy Hanks was. She married a carpenter named Thomas Lincoln in 1806 and Abraham was the second of her children, born in 1809. Nancy died in 1818, when Abraham was only nine years old, from “milk sickness,” caused by drinking tainted milk from a cow that had eaten poisonous white snakeroot.”
WV Special Places
West Virginia Special Places