• sun setting over the gorge

    New River Gorge

    National River West Virginia

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • River Detours and Closures at the Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge

    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 »

Prince

colorized historic photo of house in Prince
Colorized historic photo of Prince Residence
Red Ribble
 
historic photo - William Bub Prince

William Prince

The town of Prince was formed in 1870, when brothers William and James Prince purchased 300 acres along the New River from General Alfred Beckley. They arrived prior to the building of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in 1873 and established a mercantile store and ferry crossing. Their businesses flourished during the construction of the railroad, the Stretcher’s Neck tunnel, and a bridge across the New River. Prince itself was not a mining town, however, the advantageous geographical location made it possible to supply mining towns on Laurel Creek and Layland in Fayette County, and on Piney Creek and Beckley in Raleigh County.

The brothers built their home at the junction of the Piney Creek line and the main line. As part of the right-of-way agreement the brothers sold to the C & O Railroad, all through trains stopped at Prince, making it possible for the store to offer a wide variety of goods.

 
Old C&O Station at Prince

Old C&O Station at Prince

The first Prince passenger train depot was built in 1880 and lasted until 1917. It was destroyed by fire, and then rebuilt that same year. The current train depot was built in 1946 by C&O Railroad.

All town lands and businesses were owned by the Prince family, and were rented out and not sold. At one time the town had 250 residents with a elementary and high school, two churches, post office, train depot, hotel and a tavern.

 

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.