In the years following the decline of the area’s once vast and renowned coal industry, most of the coal mines, coal camps, and other physical evidence of the era of King Coal has disappeared forever throughout the region. But fortunately, much of the past still exists in Mount Hope, a town that is one the last bastions of the elements of a bygone era.
A driving or walking tour through Mount Hope provides visitors with a rare opportunity to view many of the sights that were once commonplace throughout the coal fields of Southern West Virginia. Although the dozens of coal mining operations have disappeared from the hills surrounding the town, along the streets of Mount Hope visitors can still view many examples of the grand structures built by the coal barons and coal companies.
Much of the town's downtown section remains virtually the same as it did during the 1920’s, the decade when the town was one of the most important communities in the vast coal fields of the region. The offices of the region’s largest coal company, the New River Company, still exist as well as the company’s repair shops and foundry building. Just outside town, in Kilsyth, two large smokestacks loom over the former repair shop used by the McKell Coal & Coke Company, also used by the company's railroad, the Kanawha, Glen Jean & Eastern Railway. And these sites are just a few of the many historic sites located in and near the town.
Whether you are long-time or new resident of the town, or a tourist or a student of history, you are encouraged to explore historic Mount Hope and experience a glimpse back in time to America's Industrial Age.
WVa-USA.com's Historic Mount Hope section feature photos and histories of Mount Hope, its railroads, and coal mining operations during the town's early years. Visit the Historic Mount Hope pages.