Welcome to the National Coal Heritage Area
The National Coal Heritage Area
includes all or parts of thirteen counties in southern West Virginia where coal has been king for generations. The stories of the National Coal Heritage Area include stories of prospectors and speculators, stories of creating an industry in a rugged and sparsely populated area, stories of building railroads and communities, stories of violent labor struggles, and the stories of the men and women who came from around the world to build a life.
Designated in 1996 as a National Heritage Area
, the Coal Heritage Area works to preserve, promote and interpret the rich history of our region to residents and visitors, alike. Passing through narrow valleys where the road, the river and the rail line exist side by side, the history of the industry and the people is seen in remnants of the company towns and in the faces of the descendents of immigrants who came from many different countries to build railroads and mine coal.
Your travels to the National Coal Heritage Area may lead you along the Coal Heritage Trail
, a National Scenic Byway
that goes through the coal producing counties of Mercer, McDowell, Wyoming, Raleigh and Fayette where you can go underground at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine
or experience the lives of the first coal barons in the charming community of Bramwell. A trip to the New River Gorge National River gives you the opportunity to visit the former railroad community of Thurmond and to visit Nuttalburg, one of the almost 50 mining communities that sprung up along the New River.
The Paint Creek Scenic Trail
, a West Virginia Scenic Byway
will take you along beautiful Paint Creek where early labor strikes resulted in a series of events that culminated with the Battle of Blair Mountain as coal miners struggled for better living and working conditions.
Visits to Boone and Logan counties will provide you with opportunities to understand the region’s coal history at the Coal Heritage Museum in Madison and The Museum in the Park in Logan, and will also allow you visit sites related to the infamous Hatfield-McCoy Feud
in Logan County and nearby Mingo County.
No matter where your travels take you, you will find friendly folks always ready to talk and to welcome visitors, beautiful scenery in the valleys and from the tops of the rugged mountains, interesting places to stay and great things to eat.
Come have an adventure exploring the people, places, and events that build a nation. Enjoy your visit!