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 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.