Abandoned structure

Construction Completed at the Golden Rule; Rehabilitation of the Golden Rule #3.

Construction cleaning up the last bits of construction at The Golden Rule building 1907- Jan 19th 2020

It has been a very long 3 years of construction, and a year of clean up to get to this post. The rehabilitation of the Golden Rule Building is complete. We are ready to begin to move our equipment and fixtures back into the building starting in Feb. It is almost unbelievable that it I will be finished with my small portion of this project very soon.

The ten upper story apartments are fully rented and have given Belington, WV much needed quality housing. soon I will help to bring a new economic driver to downtown with a cafe’, train ticket booth, train themed gift shop, and the artist market. Here are some of the views from the finished apartments before they were rented.

The first floor took another month to fully finish but the the style and feel is very much the same. The main difference to the first floor space is the more open floor plan and the removal of the walls that surround the water powered elevator shaft. It is nice to be able to see the lift from all sides of the main floor. The elevator has been restored and is operable from the basement to the first floor. It will never carry any passengers or freight but can be used for a display of how water hydraulics worked. We have also kept the steps from the first floor to the second floor. The stairs have been capped off so they are only for display at this time and are planned to be used as a historical collection space. The original offices have had the tin ceilings repaired and repainted. They are one of the only decorative features in the building. Since he building was used as a warehouse, grocery store and finally a furniture all around store the need for decoration was secondary to functional items. The vault is now clean and ready for storage or display space. With the replacement of many of the broken window panes, paint and new lights the front of the building looks fresh and inviting again.

The photos below show the building in the state it was in before construction and while I was working on cleaning, selling and storing the contents of the building of more than a year. We removed many of the antiques that were found in the building and have them ready to return as a display and some will be for sale to benefit the continued development of the property at The Golden Rule.

It will take at least three or four more months of work to get the retail stores ready to open. We have displays to buy, internet and phone systems to install and lots of vendors to work with. We have plans for about 30 individuals to sell items in The Golden Rule Marketplace. Working in collaboration with the Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad we hope to see the train running this spring and the stores open by June. Covid has delayed some of our work but with a hopeful heart and lots of work the Belington Revitalization Committee, the Barbour County Development Authority and Woodlands Development Group have plans to move this project forward and see that this building comes back to life. I hope to plan an open house event before I leave The Golden Rule for good and It should be a great celebration of what a small town and small development company can do.

I have written about the Golden Rule before and if you have any interest in my other posts you can look here. The Golden Rule Redevelopment #1, Ghost Visits of the Golden Rule, Clean up of the Golden Rule, Volunteers Impact the Golden Rule.

Categories: Abandoned structure, Barbour County, Belington, WV, Golden Rule, historic locations, Historic Preservation, Redevelopment projects, West Virginia History, Woodlands Development Group | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

A Visit to the Abandoned Nuttallburg Historic Coal Mine Town

Abandoned homes or towns are my favorite places to visit. So when my husband offered to drive Christopher and I to a historic abandoned coal mining town near where he was working I got super excited!!We spent one early morning exploring the New River Gorge Valley and the lost town of Nuttallburg WV. For a more indepth history of the town and its famous Henry Ford owner you can check out the Parks Services Webpage for Nuttallburg,WV here!

We found out about the town while stopping at the New River Gorge Visitors Center and decided it was worth the 8 mile drive to see the abandoned coal tipple and Coke ovens. I have written about the New River Gorge before so if you want to lean more about the National River Check out my other blog posts. They will included info about the world famous Bridge Day Events .

After leaving the New River Gorge Visitor Center near Fayetteville, we took time to follow a map to a community called Wynonia where you leave the pavement and drive into a tree covered lane. The road is very narrow and twistly so the 8 miles seem like 10 before you reach the river’s edge and the mining town of Nuttallburg.

Nuttallburg is a coal mining town that was listed on the National Historic Registry in 1998. It was important due to its production of smokeless coal. The town was founded by John Nuttall in 1870, at its peak had over 100 houses, several schools, churches and 80 Coke Ovens. The coal was processed and shipped out on the rail lines along the New River. The community and the mine were purchased by Henry Ford and the Fordson Motor Company in the 1920’s, serving his car manufacturing plants in Michigan.

The Nuttallburg post office was closed in 1958 and a cap was put on the opening of the mine that same year. The town then slowly decayed with much of the wooden structures destroyed by weather and scavengers who used the remaining good materials for better projects.

Coal Shoot area of the Coal Tipple of Nuttallburg WV.
Under the Coal shoot looking up at the steep conveyor belt at Nuttallburg Wv
Coal Conveyor Belt disappears into the weeds at Nuttallburg Wv

The remains of the coal mining town include a row of Coke Ovens that once processed thousands of pounds of coal for the steel mills that lined the Ohio River Valley. The coal tipple, coal shoot, the conveyor belt cover and the mine head all remain on view to visitors. I was impressed that the ovens were still standing since they are not metal structures. In this case they are just simple brick and mortar domes with a draft whole in the top. To learn more about how important Coke is in steel production click here

Opening to several Coke Ovens appear in a row these are slowly sinking into the mud around them at Nuttallburg WV

Included in the collection of the building foundations is what is left of a company store and house foundations. The idea that over a hundred families depended on this simpel store made me think how lucky we are to be able to buy almost anything from around the world at our local grocery store.

Christopher and I in the front window of the company Store.
Tree growing inside the Nuttallburg company store
Images from company stores near Nuttallburg WV.

At this time of the year most of the house and church foundations are covered with Kudzu vines, for better or worse. The vines make the place feel totally isolated and part of the a tropical rainforest. I told Christopher that I felt like we had stumbled into a Jurassic Park movie. With all the strange abandoned structures,trees and the wild undergrowth you felt like the last people on earth. Maybe this was the perfect place to visit during the Coronavirus. We did not see another person until we were ready to leave.

Kudzu vines clime over the foundation of a house in Nuttallburg WV
A forest of Kudzu covering everything in sight.
A butterfly among the weeds

Beyond the end of the town is an even smaller community of Seldom Seen. It has a nice trail to it but is a little risky to get to and the forest service posts warnings about not getting off the trail due to holes in the ground that are part of buried foundations. I could not convince my husband that would be a fun adventure to follow the trail and take photos so that is planned for a later date. From what I gather this area was the residential area for White coal miners. The town was segregated and the African Americans who worked in and near the mine lived at the entry of the town with their own school and church.

Sign that is posted to inform visitors about what is at Seldom Seen WV
Hidden in the photos is the remains of a walking swing bridge. That linked the African AmeriCan Community to other housing and people who lived across the river,.
sign showing development on river and what the KudZu covered up.
Train Tracks near the swinging bridge remains in Nuttallburg WV

At this point it was time to head back home but after this wonderful visit I plan to return this fall to see everything decked out in the fall colors and the Kudzu dead to take more photos.

The drive in and out of the valley was just a beautiful as the town and we enjoyed the coolness of the trees and waterfalls.

We hope that if you are in the Fayetteville area of West Virginia or near the New River Gorge Bridge you will consider taking the time to see this beautiful park and learn more about West Virginia and its history.

Categories: Abandoned structure, antique, Appalachian Mountains, Coal Mine, historic locations, Historic Preservation, New River Gorge, West Virginia History | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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