The 1920s Coaling Tower is one of the important historic structures in the ghost town of Thurmond, West Virginia.
The Coaling Tower, built in 1922 of reinforced concrete, is a prominent fixture in what remains of the Thurmond railroad yard. It cost $85,000 and took 25 men to build this colossal structure, which spans about 30 by 33 feet and towers approximately 70 feet above the tracks.
The coal hopper cars emptied their contents into a pit located beneath the structure, and an elevator was used to transport the coal from the pit to the tower. Once in the tower, it was then funneled through chutes into the coal tenders of the locomotives positioned on the adjacent tracks. It could drop 500 tons of coal at a time via the chutes. Although the C&O held onto its steam locomotives longer than any other prominent railroad operator, CSX abandoned the coaling tower in 1960.
A boomtown in the 1900s, Thurmond, West Virginia, was one of the busiest railroad towns along the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Right in the heart of the coal country, all the coal mined in the area was brought to Thurmond to be shipped out. Over fifteen passenger trains traveled through town daily, and the depot served around 75,000 visitors a year. When the diesel locomotives came along, and coal was not as widely used or mined, the businesses closed down, and residents moved on.
Like a time capsule, Thurmond still possesses all the characteristics of a 1920s Appalachian coal town. The town has been designated a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the New River Gorge National Park.
Copyright 2023 Susan Rissi Tregoning
September 13th, 2023
Viewed 188 Times - Last Visitor from Monmouth Junction, NJ on 09/28/2023 at 7:44 AM