building fronts along RR tracks
Commercial Row at Thurmond

Louise McLaughlin


Hiking or driving through New River Gorge today will provide glimpses of old stone walls, foundations of homes and buildings, coal mine entrances, and coke ovens decaying alongside the railroad tracks. These places provide tangible reminders of the days when the coal coming out of New River Gorge fueled the industrialization of our nation.

  • A yellow wooden building next to two railroad tracks

    Learn about the historic railroad town of Thurmond, one of the few towns in New River Gorge that was not a mining town.

  • coal conveyor and tipple

    The remains of a tipple, coal conveyor, coke ovens, and buildings tell the story of one of the gorge's most significant coal mining towns.

  • A large wooden sign that says Safety Board in front of a ruined stone building

    Learn about the largest coal producer in New River Gorge during the industrial era.

  • bridge piers crossing a wide river
    Glade Creek/Hamlet

    The piers of the abandoned Glade Creek Bridge today mark the site of a former lumber mill and the remains of company logging towns.

  • historic photo of soldiers constructing a bridge
    Army Camp

    Learn about Camp Prince, or Army Camp, which served as a training and testing ground for assembling floating bridges during the Korean War.

  • historic photo of bridge across river with a town on the other side

    Now nearly totally reclaimed by the forest, the town of Royal was once the site of the first coal mining company in Raleigh County

  • Historic photo of three nurses in front of a brick hospital
    McKendree Hospital

    Learn more about the hospital Joseph Beury helped build at McKendree.

  • historic photo of brick school building
    Sandstone School

    Now the site of the Sandstone Visitor Center, Sandstone School educated local students from 1925 through 1994.

  • Old white church on a hillside

    Learn about the first town to ship coal from the New River coalfields

  • white farmhouse
    Trump-Lilly Farm

    The collection of buildings preserved at Trump-Lilly Farm take visitors back to the early days of Appalachian subsistence farming.

  • old chestnut log barn
    Richmond Hamilton Farm

    This early subsistence farm offers a glimpse of what life was like for early settlers in this region.

  • historic photo of people in a store
    Prince Brothers Store

    Discover the story of what early newspapers called "the most important store in the county".

  • A cement railroad tunnel through a rocky mountainside

    Learn about the town of Prince, one of the few towns never owned by a coal company in New River Gorge.

  • A train platform and depot next to railroad tracks. The depot has a sign that says Prince.
    Prince Depot

    Learn about the Prince Depot in New River Gorge which is still active today, serving passengers on the Amtrak Cardinal.

  • girls boarding train for summer camp
    Camp Brookside History

    Learn about the history and view historic photos of Camp Brookside.

Last updated: August 24, 2023

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