• sun setting over the gorge

    New River Gorge

    National River West Virginia

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    The WV Department of Highways and the Federal Highways Administration is replacing the Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge on Route 41 in the town of Prince. Construction will require temporary full river traffic closures and long term river detours. More »

John Nuttall

historic image of John Nuttall

Born in England in 1817, John Nuttall worked in mines-starting at age eleven-for most of two decades. He came to America in 1849. Working in a silk mill for seven years, Nuttall saved enough to pursue opening coal mines. With help from in-laws, he opened mines in western Pennsylvania. Successful, he learned of opportunity in New River Gorge, and opened mines here in 1873.

John Nuttall and his family prospered. When he died in 1897, the Nuttall family owned thousands of acres of land, operated profitable coal mines, and provided livelihood for hundreds of mine workers and their families. After John Nuttall's death, Nuttallburg lived on for 61 years until the mine closed for good in 1958.

It was the belief of [my grandfather] that the safest and most profitable investment that a man could make was the purchase of wild lands which had natural resources on or under them. Such lands should increase in value . . . [and] no trusted employee could embezzle them.

John Nuttall II, son of Lawrence Nuttall, and grandson of Nuttallburg's founder, John Nuttall

The Nuttall Family

John and Elizabeth Nuttall had three daughters and one son. The daughters all married, and their husbands and the Nuttall's son, Lawrence, managed and operated John Nuttall's mines. Lawrence and son-in-law Jackson Taylor came here to New River Gorge, the others stayed in Pennsylvania.

Lawrence William Nuttall

John Nuttall's son, Lawrence, helped manage his father's mines, but his passion was plants. He became a highly regarded botanist, discovering new species such as Fraser's sedge, here in New River Gorge.

[My father] went out every evening to gather plants and spent all of his spare moments in identifying his finds, among which were a couple of [species] that he could not identify. . . . they were a new discovery. . . .

John Nuttall II

Did You Know?

smallmouth bass

The New River is a very popular warm water fishery. The West Virginia state record for length of Smallmouth Bass - 25.5 inches and 7.5 lbs - was caught in the New River in 1976.