Ghost Towns of the New River Gorge
Beginning in the early 1870s, coal prospectors recognized the natural resource significance of the New River Gorge. Chesapeake and Ohio rail lines were laid throughout the area bordering the New River and by 1873, dozens of towns had sprung up practically overnight. While the gorge enjoyed many years of economic prosperity, demand for coal began to decline in the early twentieth century. By the end of World War II, large-scale coal production around the New River had almost completely ceased. In places, a handful of residents remained, but most towns were rapidly abandoned. Many of these sites have been almost completely lost to time and the reclamation of nature, though a hulking rusted tipple, sealed mine portal, or looming foundation are poignant reminders of the gorge’s industrial history.