Mount Hope, WV
The Mount Hope area was used by Native Americans for centuries before European arrival. Following the exchange of lands from Native Americans to the Virginia Colony, William Blake Sr. became the first white settler in the area. Mount Hope’s growth was slow at first. Once the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad was completed in 1873, Mount Hope’s population exploded. Between 1894 and 1940, the town experienced great prosperity, though this was interrupted by one of southern West Virginia’s worst ever urban fires, which occurred in 1910. However, the fire did nothing to significantly hinder Mount Hope’s growth and the town enjoyed continued success until after World War II. As the coal industry waned in the latter half of the twentieth century, so too did Mount Hope. By 1980, the city retained only a third of its peak population, though efforts to revitalize Mount Hope are ongoing.