The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Talcott, West Virginia

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Eight-foot bronze statue of John Henry, completed by Charles Cooper in 1972, stands above the east portal of Big Bend Tunnel, on WV3 near Talcott

Talcott (map) is an unincorporated community located along the Greenbrier River in eastern Summers County southeast of Hinton, WV, and southwest of Alderson, WV. The post office at Talcott was first known as Rollinsburg, named after Charles K. Rollyson, who owned the land. Talcott Post Office and the village were named after Capt. R.H. Talcott, a civil engineer, who aided in the construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O), and was the engineer in charge of the construction of the Big Bend Tunnel.

The town may be best known as the site of the Big Bend Tunnel (originally known as Great Bend Tunnel), a railroad tunnel built in 1872 by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O), to avoid an eight mile route around a neck in the Big Bend of the Greenbrier River. According to legend, American folk hero John Henry was fatally injured during its construction when he engaged in a contest with steam-powered drill. Prof. Louis Chappell, an associate professor of English at West Virginia University, spent years conducting an exhaustive study of the many variations of the John Henry legend and ballad and in 1933 published a work which provided much evidence to support his belief that the John Henry legend was based on an actual event that took place at Big Bend Tunnel . The Hilldale-Talcott Ruritan Club raised a statue of Henry atop Big Bend Mountain in 1972 to commemorate the legend, and the community now hosts an annual John Henry Days festival that features re-tellings of the famous legend.

Variant names: Rolinsburgh or Rollinsburg