The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Meadow Creek, West Virginia

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NPS Sandstone Visitors Center near Meadow Creek
Sewell Valley Bank stands vacant at Meadow Creek, WV
Map showing community of Meadow Creek, WV
1912 map of Meadow Creek and vicinity

Meadow Creek (map) is an unincorporated community on the New River in northern Summers County. Lewis Gwinn owned the lands upon which the town of Meadow Creek was built. In 1871, Summers County officials issued a license to William Gwinn to sell "ardent spirits" at the mouth of Meadow Creek.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) completed its line along the New River in 1873 and sometime prior to 1879 opened a station at Meadow Creek. A book printed by the C&O in 1879, "Route, Resorts, and Resources of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, of Virginia and West Virginia", indicated that Meadow Creek was a point of shipment for a considerable amount of choice oak, poplar and walnut timber (generally in square logs) to the Eastern cities and to Europe as well as stave and assorted timber, hoop-poles and locust tree-nails. A tram-railroad, built up along Meadow Creek, was used to haul timber to the C&O at Meadow Creek. A ferry, offering transport across New River, operated at Meadow Creek during these early years. During the 1870s, one of the largest general merchandise stores in Summers County was located at Meadow Creek.

By 1910, Meadow Creek's population had grown to 250 persons, and the town was poised to become a important junction point on the C&O line with a branch line railroad soon to be built into the plateau region above the New River Gorge. From this branch line huge qualities of lumber would be shipped to locations across the continental U.S., and most of it would travel via the hamlet of Meadow Creek. The Sewell Valley Bank was opened in Meadow Creek in 1918.

During the 1910s, the Sewell Valley Railroad was built from Meadow Creek Station on the main line of the C&O northeastward along Meadow Creek and down Sewell Creek to Rainelle on Meadow River, and thence down the latter stream to Wilderness (Nallen P. O.), 1/2 mile north of the common corner of Fayette, Greenbrier, and Nicholas Counties. The Geological Survey for Fayette County, printed in 1919, noted that the Sewell Valley Railroad had an immense traffic in lumber from the large band mills at Rainelle, Honeydew and Nallen. At its peak, the Meadow River Lumber Company's operation at Rainelle was the largest hardwoods saw mill in the world. The rail line also hauled coal from a mine in one mile northward from Rainelle. The section of the Sewell Valley's line to Wilderness was built during the early part of 1916; the line from Meadow Creek to Rainelle was completed several years earlier, in 1909. The Sewell Valley Railroad was incorporated on November 22, 1907. In 1916, the Sewell Valley Railroad was about 21 miles in length. By June 30, 1912, the Sewell Valley Railroad owned three locomotives, a combination baggage/coach, a box car, and four flat cars.

The Sewell Valley Railroad, along with the Greenbrier & Eastern and the Loop & Lookout Railroad, became part of the Nicholas, Fayette & Greenbrier Railroad in 1928, when that road was created by mandate of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) so that the C&O and the New York Central Railroad (NYC) could have equal access to the coal fields located along the Gauley River and the Meadow River. The NF&G was jointly owned by the C&O and NYC and was about 40-50 miles in length.

One of two surviving steam locomotive operated by the Sewell Valley Railroad is now owned by the Steamtown National Historic Site. Meadow River Railroad Company #1, formerly owned by the Sewell Valley Railroad, spent its entire working life in East Rainelle. The other, Meadow River Lumber Company No. 7, is owned by Cass Scenic Railroad. Neither of the two locomotives are in operating condition.

During the 1980s, The New River Company built a large coal processing plant at Meadow Creek, that operated for only a few years. The plant was dismantled in the mid-1990s.


Map of Meadow Creek, WV