African American Heritage Driving Tour Stop 1: Life in an African American CommunityIndustry came to Quinnimont in 1870 with the Quinnimont Charter Oak and Iron Company’s building of an iron furnace on Laurel Creek, which operated for three years. The main line of the C&O Railway was completed through the gorge in the spring of 1873, and by fall the first shipment of coal was transported out of Quinnimont, making it the first mining town of New River Gorge. The town boasted a general store, post office, baseball field, hotel, jail, and railroad boarding houses. Due to segregation, there were separate churches and schools that served the black and white communities. Housing of residents was strategically segregated between racial and ethnic groups: black from white, Welsh and English from Irish, and Italians from Polish.
As a direct result of the increasing numbers of African Americans in the New River Gorge vicinity, the New River Baptist Association was formed in 1884. A huge component of the African American community was organizing a church. Members were enthusiastic about attending Sunday services and other events. Black churches, like Quinnimont Missionary Baptist Church, served the spiritual needs of individuals within the community through regular Sunday meetings, by providing care and comfort for those in need, and supporting the significant cultural milestones of their members such as births, baptisms, marriages, and funerals.
For the full story go to Life in an African American Community: Quinnimont Missionary Baptist Church
Other Nearby Places of Interest:
From Beckley, WV Take Highway 41 north to Prince, WV. Cross the bridge over the New River and pass the railroad depot in Prince. Travel 7 tenths of a mile to the African American Heritage Auto Tour sign. Turn left onto gravel road. Tour Stop (Quinnimont Missionary Baptist Church) is the second building on the right.
From Fayetteville, WV Take Highway 19 south to the Greentown Exit. Turn left at the Greentown Exit onto Highway 16/61. Travel on Hwy 16/61 to Mount Hope, WV. Turn left onto Highway 61 toward Prince and Beckley, WV. Travel on Highway 61 to the three way triangle. Turn left on Highway 41 north to Prince, WV. Cross the bridge over the New River and pass the railroad depot in Prince. Travel 7 tenths of a mile to the African American Heritage Auto Tour sign. Turn left onto gravel road. Tour Stop (Quinnimont Missionary Baptist Church) is the second building on the right.
Directions to the Next Tour Stop:Camp Washington Carver
Physical Address: Camp Washington Carver, Camp Carver Road, Clifftop, WV 25831
GPS Coordinates: N38.009119 -W80.970204
From Quinnimont Missionary Baptist Churchn take Hwy 41 North for 19 miles to Old Clifftop Road and turn left. Travel 1.5 miles to Camp Carver Road and turn left. Tour Stop and parking is at the end of the road.