Scenic USA - West Virginia

Thurmond Depot

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Thurmond Depot - New River Gorge National River, West Virginia

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     A somber tale of boom to bust, the town of Thurmond grew up along the banks of West Virginia's New River. Its timeline begins in 1873 when W.D. 1922 Coaling Tower - Thurmond, West Virginia Thurmond acquired 73 acres of land where the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad followed the New River. With the addition of a post office, hotels, boarding houses, saloons and the railway depot in the late 1800s, Thurmond was well on its way to becoming one of the greatest railroad towns on the C&O Railroad Line.
     Reaching its peak during the early 1900s, 15 trains rolled through the New River Gorge in a day, totaling 95,000 passengers in a year. A principal center on the C&O Railway, passengers enjoyed all the luxurious services which one could dream of. Looking for even more success, town bankers, some of the richest in the state, rolled out the red carpet for wealthy coal and railroad industrialists.
     Devastating fires, Thurmond Depot (NPS VC) - Thurmond, West Virginia a huge downturn in a Depression Era economy, dwindling coal production and the introduction of the diesel locomotive all took their toll on this boomtown. Slowly losing its importance, Thurmond faded, and finally drew to an end when the railroad offices closed in 1984. In 1995, the National Parks Service restored the depot and it's now used as a visitor center for this section of the New River Gorge National River. The Thurmond Depot is located near Beckley, West Virginia, and just 20 minutes from U.S. Route 19 at Glen Jean.

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