Laurel Lake Lenore, WV With many fishing spots, picnic areas, and incredible views, the lake is a great getaway for the entire family!
Hike to Death Rock, Picnic Rock, Castle Rock & More! Williamson's mountain ridges feature some awesome rock formations that are perfect for a hike with friends and family.
Fish and Float The Tug Fork River Matewan, Williamson, Kermit, WV With several access points located throughout the city, access to the Tug Fork River has never been easier!
Take a Ride on the Tug Fork River with Hatfield McCoy Airboat Tours Matewan, WV Based out of Matewan, this thrilling journey showcases the beauty of West Virginia's natural landscapes along the Tug Fork River.
WV Mine Wars Museum Matewan, WV In the heart of historic Matewan, this museum looks into the labor uprising and incredible history that took place and shaped our coal mining region.
The Matewan Depot Museum Matewan, WV
One of the Tug Valley's best museums, the replica train depot holds historic items from both the Hatfield McCoy Feud & Matewan Massacre.
The Coal House Williamson, WV
The World Famous Coal House was built in 1933 from 65 Tones of bituminous coal and is the home of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Hatfield McCoy Feud Sites Pike County, KY/Mingo County, WV If you haven’t seen the documentary, watch it. The infamous feud all took place within a 15-mile radius of Williamson.
The Mountaineer Hotel Williamson, WV
Straight out of the 1920's, this historic hotel has hosted First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy, Henry Ford, and many of your favorite country artists have stayed here.
HISTORY OF OUR TOWN
Williamson, West Virginia, in Mingo County is a city that is known as the "Heart of the Billion Dollar Coalfields." TAP made an overdue trip through this vital link to Appalachia's coal mining past earlier this year. Williamson is one of the many locations in the coalfields to currently be in transition from its coal-centric past to a more diverse economy.
The area that is now Williamson was once part of a single-family owned farming property of John Green as granted by the Commonwealth of Virginia (prior to the birth of West Virginia) in 1795. The land was sold off through the years until a large parcel ended up in the hands of what would become the city's namesake family led by Benjamin Williamson in 1858 (many feel the city was actually named for Benjamin's son, Wallace J. Williamson.) The Williamson family ended up conveying the land to the Williamson Mining and Manufacturing Co. in 1891. The railroad that would soon become known as the Norfolk & Western Railway began to lay track and the year 1901 saw coal mining begin to take hold in the Williamson area.
Williamson continued to grow in population and wealth as it became a major hub for the mining and railroad industries. In 1905, Williamson had grown to the point that it became chartered as a city. The early city experienced problems with fires as many of the buildings and homes in the area were built from the plentiful wood in the area. Williamson continued to grow and flourish despite these setbacks. The prosperity led to the development of one of the most unique landmarks in all of Appalachia, the Coal House Building, in 1933. The concept of the Coal House Building owes to the then manager of the Norfolk & Western Railways Fuel Department, O.W. Evans. The Coal House Building was built as a tribute to the contribution of coal in the development of the city. Designed by local architect Hassell T. Hicks of Welch, WV, the exterior walls are made of 65 tons of coal from the local Winifrede Seam. The building exterior was designed to be weather-resistant but did suffer major interior damage from a fire in 2010. The Coal House Building currently serves as the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Williamson is located along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River which has proved problematical due to flooding issues. In fact, many cite the "Great Flood of '77" as a turning point in the fortunes of this once thriving city. The flood wiped out numerous businesses and rendered over 2,000 people homeless. Engineering and structural changes arose after this flood in response to the overwhelming devastation to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.
Today, the downtown area of Williamson is similar to other coalfield cities in transition such as Welch and Bluefield. A lot of positive developments are interspersed with dilapidated homes and buildings as the city attempts to revitalize the downtown area. The city has a rich coal history to draw upon and overlaps much of the Hatfield & McCoy Feud attractions giving reason for continued optimism for further advancements. "The Heart of the Billion Dollar Coalfields" is still beating and very much alive despite the loss of much of the coal industry revenue from the past. - Shane from AppalachiaTalk.org
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