MOUNT HOPE, WV (WOAY) – This week’s One Tank Trip brings us to an exhibition of history and heritage in a small town that has a lot of it to offer.
On Saturday, March 26, Mount Hope West Virginia will be host to the 2nd annual Hope’s Heritage Day at the Historic Cottle Mountainair Hotel.
March 24, 1910, marks a tragic yet significant date for the town. The Heritage Day is held to shed light on the tragedy but also to tell the story of how the town was able to rebuild.
“On March 24 of 1910, the town of Mt. Hope burnt completely to the ground,” Executive Director of Harmony For Hope, Carrie Kidd says. “It was rebuilt in less than a year in brick and stone and had become a metropolis for the New River Valley in less than a year. We had become known as the Phoenix City. This just all ties into the heritage of Mt. Hope being a Phoenix city.”
The event will include a historic Mount Hope pop-up museum, a community pot-luck dinner, a guided walking tour through the historic district, and more.
It’s somewhat of a precursor for even more celebration of history and heritage to come to the town, as a Smithsonian exhibit is expected to arrive on April 22 through May 30. Mount Hope was one of the six communities to be chosen in West Virginia to feature the exhibit, Crossroads: Rural Change in America.
“We are focusing on the fact that our community is a community of game-changers who are continuing to use traditions to overcome industrial racism,” she says.
Mt. Hope continues to rise from the ashes today.
Along with celebrating its heritage and past, the town is also rebuilding through music, art, culture, and new economic developments.
But everyone in the small town still reflects back to how it all began, their heritage and roots in the coal industry.
“Mt. Hope is a great example of a coal community,” says Kidd. “However, we have the unique ability of being considered a coal town and a coal camp because of how we were designed. We’re focusing on that unique history, because not only was coal king of Southern West Virginia, but the New River Coal Company was the king of coal.”
The community is invited to come out and celebrate this unique heritage on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. A full line-up of events is planned until 4:30 p.m.