West Virginia is Home to an Abandoned Town Most People Don’t Know About

West Virginia is a state that is known for its natural beauty, rich history, and friendly people. But there is also a hidden side of West Virginia that most people don’t know about: a town that was once thriving and prosperous, but now lies abandoned and forgotten.

The Rise and Fall of Thurmond

The town of Thurmond is located in the New River Gorge National Park, a scenic area that attracts millions of visitors every year. But few of them venture to the ghost town that was once a bustling hub of coal mining, railroad, and commerce.

Thurmond was founded in 1888 by Captain William D. Thurmond, a former Confederate soldier who acquired land along the New River. He built a railroad depot, a hotel, a bank, and a post office, and soon attracted other businesses and settlers. By the early 1900s, Thurmond was one of the largest towns in West Virginia, with a population of over 500 people.

Thurmond was also a center of entertainment and nightlife, with saloons, gambling halls, and brothels. The town was so notorious that it was nicknamed “the Dodge City of the East”. Thurmond was also a political hotspot, with frequent clashes between the coal miners and the mine owners, who often hired armed guards and detectives to suppress the workers’ rights.

However, Thurmond’s glory days did not last long. The town began to decline in the 1920s, due to several factors: the decline of the coal industry, the rise of the automobile, the prohibition of alcohol, and the Great Depression. Many businesses closed, and many residents left for better opportunities elsewhere. By the 1950s, Thurmond was a shadow of its former self, with only a few dozen people remaining.

The Present and Future of Thurmond

Today, Thurmond is a ghost town, with only a handful of residents and buildings. The town is owned by the National Park Service, which preserves and interprets its history and culture. Visitors can explore the town by foot, bike, or train, and see the remnants of the past, such as the railroad depot, the bank, the hotel, and the church. The town also hosts special events, such as historical reenactments, guided tours, and festivals.

Thurmond is a fascinating and unique place that offers a glimpse into the history of West Virginia and the United States. It is a town that was once alive and vibrant, but now is silent and deserted. It is a town that most people don’t know about, but should. It is a town that deserves to be remembered and appreciated.

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