The Thurmond Union Church in the Ghost Town of Thurmond, West Virginia.
Up the steep and narrow drive on the side of the mountain above the Thurmond Railroad Depot is the Thurmond Union Church. Circa 1927, this church was built to replace an earlier church structure. Resting upon the foundation of its predecessor, the building boasts an entrance distinguished by a bell tower that cannot be seen from the road view. The first floor housed Sunday School rooms, while the sanctuary is on the second floor. Over the years, it supported Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian congregations. The first church owed its existence to the generous support provided by the McKell family.
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
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