Quinnimont, which means the five mountains that surround the town, was first settled by Jacob Smith in 1827 for subsistence farming along a rich, fertile river bottom section of the New River. Industry came to Quinnimont in 1870 with the Charter Oak and Iron Company building of an iron furnace, which operated for three years. The main line of the C and O Railroad was completed in the spring of 1873, and by fall the first shipment of coal was shipped out of the New River Gorge from Quinnimont. Along with Thurmond, Quinnimont became a major shipping point for the New River coal fields.
At its heyday, Quinnimont had a population of 540 residents, a railroad station that had two passenger trains with daily commutes to Beckley and one up Laurel Creek to Layland, railroad boarding houses, general store, post office, two churches, two schools, baseball field, hotel, jail and a monument tribute to Coal Baron Joseph Berry. Later a roadside park, service station, diner, coal load out and tipple were added.
Today, only remnants of the iron furnace, building foundations and jail remain. CSX Railroad occupies the buildings, and uses the tracks as a holding and switching area.
The town of Quinnimont is easily seen from the overlooks at Grandview, another part of the New River Gorge National River.
Did You Know?
The many tributaries of the New River Gorge provide an abundance of cascades and waterfalls on their descent to the New River.