New River Gorge - National Bank of Thurmond Facade
Susan Rissi Tregoning
Photograph - Photography
Back in the day, the National Bank of Thurmond was considered a beautiful building to behold. The pillared facade was added in 1923 after the bank relocated from the Hotel Thurmond. Originally constructed in 1917 by the Bullock Realty Company, it initially housed a jewelry store, clothing store, Western Union Telegraph Company, and apartments.
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.
Today, Thurmond is not much more than a ghost town with only seven residents (2005). Located along the New River, what remains of the town is owned by National Park Service and is part of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
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.
Copyright 2023 Susan Rissi Tregoning
August 14th, 2023
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