In 1929, D.D. Fitzgerald & Company built the Commissary to provide supplies to the hundreds of railroad workers in Thurmond. They maintained ownership of the building while leasing the land from the railroad through an agreement with the C&O Railroad.
Following the devastating fire that destroyed the Lafayette Hotel and its accompanying post office in 1963, the Commissary became the town's new post office. After the post office closed in 1995, it housed Thurmond Supply, the last business to operate in Thurmond.
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 14th, 2023
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