New River Gorge National River
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
As access to places outside the gorge improved, Thurmond's importance declined. Area coal mines also declined in productivity. The most significant changes, however, came by 1949 when the nation's railroad industry had switched from steam to diesel-powered engines. As a major center for C&O Railway's steam locomotive operations, Thurmond was the final place on this line to service steam trains. Eventually, these train facilities were no longer needed.
Over the years, town businesses closed or moved away, as did many residents. But as coal production in the gorge continued to decline, a new outdoor recreation industry grew. The first whitewater boating company, Wildwater, opened here in 1968. Other whitewater rafting businesses later followed. In 1978, the National Park Service established New River Gorge National River. This park preserves not only the nature, scenery, and recreational opportunities of the gorge, but also interprets historic communities like Thurmond for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1949.
Location. 37° 57.567′ N, 81° 4.833′ W. Marker is in Thurmond, West Virginia, in Fayette County. Marker is on Thurmond Road (County Road 25/2) 0.2 miles north of Beury Mountain Road (County Road 25/2), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Thurmond WV 25936, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Town Built on Top of Itself (within shouting distance of this marker); The Heart of Town (within shouting distance of this marker); The Railroad Was the Town (within shouting distance of this marker); Thurmond’s Decline (within shouting distance of this marker); Fueling Up Trains (within shouting distance of this marker); A Railroad Town (approx. 0.2 miles away); Thurmond, West Virginia (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Thurmond, West Virginia (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Thurmond.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 21, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 96 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 21, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.