• sun setting over the gorge

    New River Gorge

    National River West Virginia

Nuttallburg

coal tipple and coneyor at Nuttalburg
 

Nuttallburg Yesterday

Nuttallburg was one of almost fifty towns that sprang up along the New River in response to a growing nation's need for coal.

 
historic photo of coal conveyor and tipple

Nuttallburg coal conveyor and tipple c. 1927

In 1870, England-born entrepreneur John Nuttall saw opportunity in the coal rich New River gorge and began buying land and building infrastructure along the Keeneys Creek drainage. When the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway was completed through the gorge in 1873, the town was ready for its arrival. Nuttallburg became the second mining town in the New River gorge to ship the "smokeless" coal, processed from a mineral seam hundreds of feet above the river corridor and shipped to industrial cities hundreds of miles away.

Nuttallburg was a bustling mining community by the turn of the century, continuing to thrive after Nuttall's death in 1897 under the direction of his heirs. The town became the focus of national attention in the 1920's when, in an effort known as "vertical integration" to gain control of all aspects of production, automobile industrialist Henry Ford leased the town's mines to provide coal for his company steel mills. The Fordson Coal Company made many improvements to the mine and town during the eight year tenure, but Ford's plan for "vertical integration" failed when it became evident he could neither control, nor afford to buy, the railroad that was responsible for transportation of the coal his mines produced. He sold interests in the Nuttallburg mines in 1928.

The mines of Nuttallburg passed through three owners after Henry Ford, with production limited to primarily local use in later years as the market for New River coal declined. Production ceased in 1958 and Nuttallburg became like so many other riverside communities that rose and fell due to changes in the industry. A collection of empty buildings and structure-less foundations, concealed beneath trees and vines, is all that remains.

 
Nuttallburg Coal Tipple

Nuttallburg Today

In 1998 the Nuttall family transferred ownership of Nuttallburg to the National Park Service. The site was inventoried, documented, and in 2005, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2011 the National Park Service completed a multi-year project that involved clearing vegetation and stabilizing structures. Today it is considered one of the most intact examples of a coal mining complex in West Virginia and one of the most complete coal related industrial sites in the United States.

Nuttallburg is a nationally significant, protected historic site. Please help us preserve it. Do not remove or deface any artifacts and report any acts of vandalism to a park ranger or local authorities at 304-465-0508.

 

Visiting Nuttallburg:

Use caution when driving to Nuttallburg. Many of the country roads are narrow, winding, steep, and often one-lane paved or one-lane gravel road. Large vehicles and trailers are not advisable.

Driving to Nuttallburg
From Canyon Rim Visitor Center, go north on US 19 0.3 miles to the next intersection, and turn right onto Lansing-Edmond Road (County Route 5/82). Follow Lansing-Edmond Road (becomes CR 82) 6.0 miles to Winona. Turn right onto Keeneys Creek Road (CR 85/2), continue past the houses (do not cross the creek) and the road turns to gravel. Travel 4.1 miles to the main Nuttallburg parking area and restroom. Parking for disabled visitors is located an additional 0.1 miles beyond the main parking area, closer to the tipple.

Winona can also be reached from the Canyon Rim Visitor Center by traveling north on US 19 to Hico 5.0 miles. Go east on US 60 (Midland Trail) 4.4 miles to Lookout, turn right onto Lansing-Edmond Road (CR 82) and go 2.1 miles to Winona, then follow the directions above for Keeneys Creek Road (CR 85/2).

Along the Way
You will be passing through what was once Nuttallburg's African American community before you reach the main parking area. Exhibit panels located at pull-offs along the road interpret this and other features. Stop on the drive in or walk the short distance back from the main parking area to get a better picture of what life was like in the historic community.

Hiking to the Headhouse
The easiest way to the headhouse area of Nuttallburg is located off Beauty Mountain Road near Lansing. From U.S. 19, take Lansing-Edmond Road (CR 5 becomes CR 82) 2.5 miles and turn right onto Beauty Mountain Road (CR 85/5). Travel 0.1 miles, then turn right onto the road just beyond Nuttall Cemetery Road. A parking area is located before the gated service road. Hike down the Headhouse Trail 0.5 miles to the headhouse area of Nuttallburg. Caution: this hike is steep and strenuous.

 
young hiker at Nuttallburg

Hiking Trails at Nuttallburg: For information about hiking trails at Nuttallburg and to download a map, visit the Nuttallburg Trails page.

 
 

 

Photo Galleries:

 

Did You Know?

Ranger and children at park overlook

Over one million visitors come to New River Gorge National River each year. Park rangers assist visitors and help them better understand the park and the park resources.