Monday, July 12, 2010

Thomas, West Virginia

A recent trip to Blackwater Falls area led to a nice lunch in the town of Thomas, WV. After a nice lunch at the Flying Pig restaurant I spent some time photographing the town. It seemed fitting to photographic it in sepia tones because it still has much of that old look about it.
Thomas, is now a small town, with a population of 452 according to the 2000 census, but that was not always so. It is located in a 4x7mile area known as the Fairfax district and in 1884 the railway arrived to ship the coal that was produced. The population at that time was 196 people per square mile which is incredibly dense, 5,000 for the area. By 1892, Davis Coal and coke was among the largest and best known coal companies in the world and employed 1,600 people.
Nearly half of Thomas was destroyed by fire in 1901 and then rebuilt with the brick that is seen here today.

In 1921, coke production ceased and mining operations diminished leaving the town empty as seen here.

Below is a photo of the hotel balcony as it was reflected in the window below. I was standing in just the right spot to get this mirror image.

Now, there is a generosity of spirit to the space. I saw a small bunch vegetable in a cart with a sign that said, “Free” and another sign that had seashells free for the taking. I suspect that in a few years it will begin to thrive as more and more people have the ability to work from home and are looking to get out of the cities.

Of course there is also some mischievenous and independence to be found.
Visit My World for more interesting places.


Woodswalker said...

Looks like the little river town I grew up in in Michigan, once a thriving community full of stores to serve the needs of farmers and millworkers. The mills are now gone and the farmers flock to WalMart, so the handsome 19th-century buildings stand derelict and crumbling, the broad downtown avenue empty of parked cars but filled with the steady traffic of semis carrying merchandise to the big box stores set out among former cornfields.

Sylvia K said...

Reminds me of the little town in Texas where my grandparents lived. I love your photos and the sepia is perfect for the effect! Terrific! Hope you have a great week!


noel said...


i loved your town tour and history, thanks for showing this to us today, what a treat