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Historical & Tourism Sites

Coal Heritage Area


The National Coal Heritage Area encompasses 13 counties and is situated in the heart of the formidable Appalachian Mountains.  As you journey through the coalfields of Southern West Virginia you will pass through deep valleys, follow rushing streams and rivers, and find yourself surrounded by breathtaking scenery.  The glorious mountains, charming towns, and deep rooted traditions are just a few of the appeals that draw visitors to the National Coal Heritage Area and make Southern West Virginia such an enchanting place to visit.

The Coal Heritage Trail is located within the National Coal Heritage Area and winds through more than 187 rugged miles of scenic industrial heritage, where thousands of hard-working miners labored to produce the coal which created modern America. The story of the southern West Virginia “smokeless” coalfields is a remarkable legacy of working-class culture, industrial might, racial and ethnic diversity, and the creation of a unique and distinctive culture of national significance.

 The coal mines along the Coal Heritage Trail produced the abundant and economical fuel which transformed rural America into an industrial power, provided jobs and homes for thousands of people fleeing persecution and oppression, made immense fortunes for those who invested in the industry, and produced a storied society with a peculiar and fascinating legacy.

 Between 1950 and 2000, Southern West Virginia’s population decreased by one-third. Unemployed miners and their families left the state in droves, leaving behind remnants of a once-thriving region. In many places, these structures still exist, displaying coalfield history captured in time. In 1996, Congress passed the National Coal Heritage Area Act, thanks largely to Representative Nick J. Rahall of West Virginia. The National Coal Heritage Area recognizes Southern West Virginia as a unique cultural region where coal mining has made a significant contribution to the national story of industrialization.

As you journey through the National Coal Heritage Area you will pass through National Historic Districts and see many of the physical remnants of the coal boom such as coal miners' homes, company stores, company offices, railroad yards and other structures that defined life in the "smokeless coal fields”.

We invite you to come and explore Southern West Virginia and enjoy the many adventures waiting for you here in coal country.   While you are here, you will have plenty of opportunities to take in the beautiful scenery; learn about the industry that has fueled America for more than a century; and enjoy some outdoor recreation “wild and wonderful” style.

Home of the Rocket Boys

October Sky Festival/Home of the Rocket Boys
Coalwood, WV

    Meet the Rocket Boys and the real people in the Coalwood books at the October Sky Festival on the first weekend in October.

Ashland Trailhead, Ashland, McDowell County, WV

Hundreds of miles of trails cut through the rich mountains of southern West Virginia, creating one of the largest off-highway vehicle trail systems in the world. The award-winning Hatfield-McCoy Trails, open 365 days a year, offers something for every skill level.  Trails range from the scenic mountain views of Pinnacle Creek, to the tight and twisting trails of Dingess Rum. Many trails connect to West Virginia's “ATV friendly towns” where visitors can grab a bite to eat and experience true Southern hospitality.

The goal of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails is to provide the finest recreational experience in the country, and with praises from Dirt Wheels, ATV Illustrated, ATV Sport, Dirt Rider, and ATV Magazine, as well as television features on Outdoor Channel programs such as Fishers ATV World , Dirt Trax TV and others, it seems people are taking note. West Virginia is known as "Almost Heaven," so it's only natural the Hatfield-McCoy Trails have become known as “Trails Heaven.”

Coal Camp Creations
Kimball, WV
These coal figurines are the newest project of McArts, the McDowell County cultural organization founded by Kimball writer and historian Jean Battlo. Designed and made locally from a combination of coal and modern materials, these coal figurines and other items make a unique gift from the heart of coal country. Demonstration tours scheduled by appointment only.


McArts Amphitheatre
Route 52, Welch, WV

Founder and Artistic Director 
Jean Battlo

    Ms. Battlo has dedicated her life to bringing arts into her community. A retired school teacher, she works tirelessly to write, produce, and present cultural events in McDowell County. Founded in 1979, McArts Fine Arts Organization, Inc. is a nonprofit organization established to foster arts, culture, education, and history in and for McDowell County, West Virginia.

McDowell County Visitor and Veterans Center
Kimball, WV

The center is located in Kimball directly on US Rt. 52. The Center is open during the week and the facilities may be rented for community events.

Historic Ashland Company Store is Closed

Ashland Company Store
Coal Camp Cafe
Travel Beautiful Appalachia, Inc.
304-862-4800 or 304-862-3364
Discover the Ashland Company Store - a West Virginia coal company store reborn to its original use, complete with old money vaults and tin ceilings! Relax in a handmade rocking chair, thumb through a novel set in the McDowell County Coal Fields, or sample West Virginia jams, jellies, sauces and other gourmet treats. Browse through historic relics and memorabilia from the southern west Virginia Coalfields, including, miner hats and dinner buckets coal company script, and photos and letters from the period. Like the original coal company stores, we've got something for everyone - Hatfield McCoy trail passes and logo merchandise, snacks, souvenirs and local crafts.

Coal Camp Cafe: At the Coal Camp Cafe you will find a selection of sandwiches and box lunches to go as you enjoy the nearby Hatfield McCoy trail. Or, try our daily West Virginia specialties. Enjoy your meal in our vintage lunch room, at one of our picnic tables or on the trail! Breakfast or lunch.

TBAI has the goal to develop an economically sustainable public/private partnership
that will generate business activities for economic development in southern West Virginia, with the emphasis on McDowell and Wyoming counties. We offer business incubation services (comprehensive small/micro-business development, retail space for crafts & products, marketing asssitance, commercial kitchen rental, business mentoring), job training, computer training, and food service.

World War I Memorial Building
Kimball, WV

Kimball War Memorial Building.The nation's first war memorial honoring African American soldiers that fought for this country in World War I.  It is the only memorial dedicated to these brave citizens in the United States.

Unknown today by many Americans, over 400,000 African Americans volunteered to serve in combat during the Great War. 50,000 of these brave soldiers served overseas, one-third of the total U.S. fighting force. 1,500 of these came from McDowell County.

The monumental World War I memorial stands conspicuously on a hill at the eastern end of Kimball, WV. It was designed by Welch architect, Hassell T. Hicks in 1927 and was dedicated in 1928. It stands today as a monument to black veterans who served in World War I, the first such building to ever be dedicated to black veterans. The memorial deteriorated badly during the past several years, and suffered a fire in 1991, leaving only a roofless shell. Local efforts lead to obtaining grants and financial assistance that has restored the building to a beautiful condition.  The memorial today serves as an important recreational and cultural center for all citizens in the southern West Virginia coalfields.

The Kimball War Memorial was a focal point of community life for decades and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Historic Bramwell District
Bramwell, WV

    Bramwell  is a West Virginia Historic Town on a peninsula of the Bluestone River - founded 1888. The town reflects large fortunes amassed by local coal barons and is renowned for having an abundance of well preserved Victorian and Tudor style mansions. Around the turn of the century fourteen millionaires resided here during the town's heyday. Bramwell offers self-guided walking tours and pre-arranged group tours that are highlighted by Spring and Christmas historic home tours.

Houston Coal Company Store
Kimball, WV

    King Coal Company Store - Kimball, WV. Original company store for King Coal Company and Tidewater Coal & Coke Company of Kimball. Located 5 miles south of Welch on Rt 52 and 25 miles north of Bluefield on Rt 52. Companies were owned by the Houston Family until the 1930's when they were bought by Koppers Coal Company. It is being developed into a cultural and museum center.

Dedicated to the memory of Eva Sue Rash

Anawalt Lake and Campground
Anawalt, WV

Location: McDowell County
Approximately 20 miles southeast of Welch, access is provided by following state Route 103 south from Welch to state Route 161. Follow state Route 161 and county Route 84 to Anawalt. From Anawalt take county Route 8 to the Wildlife Management Area.
Size: 1,792 acres
Terrain: steep slopes of mountainous hardwood forest with oak-hickory forest types on drier sites and yellow poplar/black cherry in the coves. Several administrative roads and trails provide interior access for foot travel only.
Hunting Prospects: bear, deer, ruffed grouse, squirrel, turkey

Fishing Opportunities
Impoundment: 7 acres
> trout stocked
Game Fish: warmwater species

Accommodations and Facilities
On the WMA: Camping is not permitted.