Uncle Bob's Travels

Places I've hung out in, sometimes briefly.

Archive for the tag “Virginia”

Pocahontas VA

The Virginia coal industry started here, in Pocahontas.  The N&W railroad hauled the first load out in 1888, apparently from this mine:

The early streets in the downtown area were paved with bricks.  The sort of main downtown area, where the rail yard was, is fairly flat, but these buildings and the old, now derelict, homes perch precariously on a steep grade.  A fire devastated the downtown and a lot of the buildings are now just shells. These are on St. Clair Street.

The far building has this plaque on it.  It says, “The Opera House, 1895, Upstairs.  The first theatre in this region. The latest Broadway shows, Operettas & Vaudeville acts played here in the early days.”

But I got my biggest kick out of seeing the pair of buildings below. They’re on Centre Street, just across from the Police Department. The building on the left has an 1894 date on top.  I think the sign “The Cricket” is recent.  The building on the right, however carries three interesting bits on top: 1883, S. Cohen, Elkhorn Saloon.

Jewell Ridge, Virginia

The sign says it all.  If you can find it, that is.  Lee and I think that, generally speaking, the people who live up here on Jewell Ridge figure if you need to be here, you already know the way, because there’s not a sign anywhere on Hwy. 67, the route that leads past the road heading up the ridge.   The town is over a hundred years old and was started either by George Carter (coalcampusa.com) or by George St. Clair and Thomas M. Righter (jewellridgeva.com).  Either way, it’s unusual in that the town was deliberately placed high above the coal operations, so it was spared some of the tribulations suffered by towns down in the valleys.

This is looking more or less east down the main street.

This is the original store and office.  The far door now opens into a library.
It’s a pleasant town to drive through, but not a store or restaurant to be seen.

Richlands VA

We were planning to come up to Richlands, Virginia, anyway, so I checked the internet to see what I could find out about the town.  Uh-oh.  Zip. Nichevo. Nothing except a mostly dead-linked town site that appears to have been abandoned in the last couple of years.  This town deserves better.  It’s an interesting town and friendly, with a long history, as shown by this historic marker

And, I was advised, it is Rich-lands, not Rich-lunds.  The N&W (now N&S) is still active in the town, working mines in the surrounding area, but timber came before coal to help grow this town.  And when the coal companies came to town, growth accelerated.  And, then, in the 1970s, things began to wind down.  The town remembers its miners, though, with a memorial at the Town Hall:

The Town Hall sits just to the left of this memorial.  Here’s a look at it:

On this hill in the center of town was once a college, then a hospital, which this building emulates.  If you turn 180 degrees, you’ll see right down Suffolk Street.

That’s a funeral home on the right. I went down there and talked with the  funeral director (you can just see him standing there with two other men as they prepared for a funeral).  He was quite helpful is getting me to the right places for information on the town.  One street over, Norfolk Street, there’s an interesting mural done by students at the local branch college:

Just to the right of that mural, about a block over and one block down, is another mural, painted by Ellen Elmes, who also painted a mural in downtown Kingsport TN.

This depicts the history of Richlands.
So, that’s some of Richlands.  Ever heard of Jewell Ridge, Virginia?  You will, in my next post.


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