Place

Prince Depot

art deco railroad depot and railroad tracks
The Prince Depot, in Prince, WV

NPS photo

Quick Facts

Parking - Auto, Public Transit, Scenic View/Photo Spot

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 in Fayette County, and on Piney Creek and in 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 were required to stop at Prince making it possible for the store to offer a wide variety of goods. All town lands and businesses were owned by the Prince family, and were rented out, not sold. At one time the town had 250 residents with an elementary and high school, two churches, a post office, train depot, hotel and a tavern.

With the railway completed through the New River Gorge in the spring of 1873, and coal being shipped out in the fall of that same year from Quinnimont, the need for passenger service was evident. The first passenger train depot was built at Prince in 1880 and lasted until 1917, when it was destroyed by fire, and then rebuilt that same year. The building was enlarged in 1891 to be able to accommodate the large volume of freight and passengers traveling to the area. The depot was very strategic and efficient for both Fayette and Raleigh counties. Another passenger depot was constructed nearby at Quinnimont in 1896.

The current brick train depot at Prince was built in 1946 by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway at a cost of $200,000. The new depot used Art Deco style architecture, and had its grand opening on June 26, 1946, that was attended by an estimated 2,000 people with a marching band, state and railroad dignitaries, speeches and refreshments.

Travel still continues on the tracks today. Amtrak provides passenger service with the Cardinal on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. In the fall of the year, when the leaves take on their brilliance of colors, the New River Train Excursion from Huntington to Hinton takes visitors through New River Gorge.

For more information check out the following pages:
Prince
Prince Depot 
Prince Brothers Store
 

Last updated: February 12, 2021