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Difference between revisions of "Thomas, West Virginia"

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The original railroad through Mineral, Grant, and Tucker counties was first organized as the Potomac and Piedmont Coal and Railroad Company in 1866, but was reorganized under the name of the West Virginia and Pittsburg Railway on June 25, 1881. Construction from Piedmont westward was begun about April 20, 1880, and completed Thomas and Davis on November 1, 1884. 
  
 
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Revision as of 04:32, 28 May 2015

A business street in Thomas, WV, ca. 1906
Cottrill Opera House in Thomas, WV, ca. 1906.
Davis Coal & Coke Company Office Building in Thomas, WV, ca. 1906

A community in Tucker County, on the North Fork of the Blackwater River, Thomas, WV, was incorporated as a town on June 16, 1892. The town was named for Col. Thomas Beall Davis, pioneer railroad operator and coal-mine owner in the Allegheny Mountains of northern West Virginia. Thomas' development in the late 1800s was largely due to the arrival of rail lines to the area which in turn facilitated the opening of a mine in Thomas and several other coal mines in the vicinity of the town. Circa 1906, seven mines producing 4,000 tons of coal per day and operating 570 coke ovens were located within a one mile radius of the town.

During the coal boom, Thomas was home to the administrative and technical offices of the Davis Coal & Coke Company, as well as the location of a large mercantile branch store of the Buxton and Landstreet Company. Davis Coal & Coke Company built numerous homes in Thomas, as well as a club house, recreational buildings and grounds. During the town's early period, the town and its businesses and homes were furnished with electricity generated by the coal plant of the Davis Coal & Coke Company. By the first decade of the 20th century, Thomas has two hotels, several churches, schools, and fraternal organizations, a community band, a bank, an opera house, numerous general merchandise stores, a tailor shop, a meat shop, a paint and wallpaper shop, a dry goods store, two hardware stores, two barber shops, a jewelry store, and several restaurants.

Today, Thomas is an important tourism center, serving the ski resorts of the Canaan Valley and hundreds of square miles of the surrounding Monongahela National Forest. The town's national historic district includes shops, galleries, and restaurants. According to the US Geological Survey, the population of Thomas in 1920 was 2,099 persons.


Weather: Thomas, WV
Lodging: Thomas, WV hotels
Population: 452
Elevation: 3,040 feet


Thomas, WV, ca. 1906, showing a section of the town. The coal plant and miners' dwellings of the Davis Coal & Coke Co. can be seen on the right side of the photo in the distance.

Railroads

The original railroad through Mineral, Grant, and Tucker counties was first organized as the Potomac and Piedmont Coal and Railroad Company in 1866, but was reorganized under the name of the West Virginia and Pittsburg Railway on June 25, 1881. Construction from Piedmont westward was begun about April 20, 1880, and completed Thomas and Davis on November 1, 1884.

Depot of the Western Maryland Railway in Thomas, WV, ca. 1906.
Roundhouse of the Western Maryland Railway in Thomas, WV, ca. 1906.

Coal Mines

Davis Coal & Coke Company's Thomas Colliery, ca. 1906.
Davis Coal & Coke Company's Coketon Colliery, ca. 1906.
Davis Coal & Coke Company's No. 36 Tipple at Coketon, WV, ca. 1906.

Sources

"Thomas, West Virginia : History, Progress and Development", compiled by T. Nutter, published 1906.

"U.S. Geological Survey: Tucker County", by I. C. White, published 1923.