NUTTALLBURG, WV (WOAY) – Another bygone yet remarkably preserved coal mining town tucked away along the New River is Nuttallburg.
After discovering coal in the area in 1870, English entrepreneur and pioneer John Nuttall saw the vast opportunities for mining there and thus began his development of the area. It housed workers mining coal sold to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, along with eventually becoming the second mining town out of nearly 50 in the New River Gorge to ship the famous “smokeless” coal.
By the turn of the century, the town was bustling with life and development, even attracting the attention of Henry Ford as a place for business expansion until 1928.
Passing through three other owners after Ford, all production ceased in 1958 and the town fell silent.
“Nuttallburg is probably the most nationally significant in the park and that’s because of its connection with Henry Ford. Ford actually leased the mines from 1920 until 1928 and built a state-of-the-art conveyor belt system there,” Chief of Interpretation for the New River Gorge National Park, Eve West says. “We have gone in after the mine closed in 1958 and preserved some of the infrastructure relative to the Ford era.”
Today Nuttellburg has regained interest, while it may be for recreational reasons instead of business.
After the Nuttall family sold the property to the National Park Service in 1998, it has been a site of preservation, hiking opportunities, and river rafters making their way down the Keeney Rapids on the New.
In 2005, it was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2011, the park service completed a major vegetation-clearing and structure-restabilizing project there.
And now, it has come to be known as one of the most well-preserved examples of an authentic West Virginia mining town.
“It is one of the most accessible areas in terms of you can drive if you’re in an accessible vehicle, you can drive almost right up to the tipple,” West says. “And then there are all kinds of trails you can walk around the town, you can see the coke ovens that are down there, you can see the conveyer itself, and we do have a trail that will take you all the way up to the head house.”
The Park Service wants to remind everyone that the road down to Nuttallburg is narrow and rough in some places. It is not suitable for big vehicles.
Interested visitors of this cool historic town can visit nps.gov and search Nuttallburg to find all of the information you need to know upon arriving, as well as how to get there.
People can also call the park service headquarters at (304)465-0508, or Canyon Rim Visitor Center at (304)574-2115.