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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pocahontas in Tazewell County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Town of Pocahontas Commercial District

 
 
Town of Pocahontas Commercial District Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
1. Town of Pocahontas Commercial District Marker
Inscription. The Southwest Virginia Improvement Company first developed a town at Pocahontas in 1881-82 to house its workers and support its mining efforts. The commercial district lay along Centre and St. Clair Streets. The 1884 Company Store, the first and largest of its kind in the region, was its centerpiece. To foster the growth of the town, the company sold lots to competing entrepreneurs, many of whom were Jewish immigrants, who established drugstores, saloons, and general stores. Many buildings bore elaborate iron-front facades attesting to the importance of the coal mining industry. Most development stopped by the 1920s, as the coal mining boom that had driven growth slipped into a slow decline.
 
Erected 2012 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number XP-8.)
 
Location. 37° 18.267′ N, 81° 20.395′ W. Marker is in Pocahontas, Virginia, in Tazewell County. Marker is at the intersection of Centre Street (County Route 644) and Water Street on Centre Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pocahontas VA 24635, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pocahontas Mine No. 1 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Abb’s Valley
Town of Pocahontas Commercial District Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
2. Town of Pocahontas Commercial District Marker
(approx. half a mile away); Pocahontas (approx. half a mile away); Pocahontas Cemetery (approx. half a mile away); Jordan Nelson’s Coal Bank (approx. 0.7 miles away in West Virginia); Bramwell (approx. 1.4 miles away in West Virginia); Mill Creek Coal & Coke Co. (approx. 1.4 miles away in West Virginia); West Virginia / Mercer County (approx. 1.9 miles away in West Virginia). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pocahontas.
 
More about this marker. This marker is at the site of the Company Store, which fell down in 2007 and was removed, after many years a derelict, leaving an empty block.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia Entry. “The Town of Pocahontas owns and operates the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum, a National Historic Landmark and Virginia’s official ‘coal heritage zone.’ The ‘show mine,’ as many locals call it, features tours from retired coal miners into the real mine that served as the birthplace of the world-famous Pocahontas #3 coal that heated homes across the United States for
A Portion of Aero View of Pocahontas, Va., 1911 image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress, 1911
3. A Portion of Aero View of Pocahontas, Va., 1911
Perspective map not drawn to scale. Bird's-eye-view. LC Panoramic maps (2nd ed.)
many decades and was the chosen fuel of the United States Navy. The exhibition mine, open from April–August annually, features a 13-foot-tall (4.0 m) coal seam. There is also a museum and education center located in the mine's former powerhouse. (Submitted on July 3, 2017.) 

2. The N&W's Pocahontas Branch. “Geographically speaking the Pocahontas Branch was typical of the hundreds of branches tucked away in the valleys and hollows of the region. There were steep grades, lots of curves and bridges, and of course tunnels. All the ingredients of a classic Appalachian branch line. Along the way three tunnels were built. Pocahontas Tunnel No. 1 is 201 feet long and has a natural rock face at each end with no lining. Stretching a bit longer at 366 feet in length was Pocahontas Tunnel No. 2 which was also a natural rock tunnel until it was lined with concrete and portals in 1915. Just south of Pocahontas is the 37-foot long Western Branch Tunnel.” (Submitted on July 3, 2017.) 

3. Between Two Hills: The Story of Pocahontas Virginia. 46 minute documentary directed by Dan McCoig.
(Submitted on July 3, 2017.) 

4. The Pocahontas Train - Wikipedia Entry
1894 Brick Office Building on Centre Street image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
4. 1894 Brick Office Building on Centre Street
“This building was erected to provide accommodations for the Radford Trust Company, first bank in the community; the Post Office; and the company doctors.”
. “The Pocahontas was one of the named passenger trains of the Norfolk and Western Railway. It was an overnight train between Norfolk, Virginia, and Cincinnati, Ohio, with a through-car to and from Chicago, Illinois. Westbound Train 3 left Norfolk at 2:40 p.m. and arrived at Cincinnati at 7:35 a.m., while the eastbound Train 4 left Cincinnati at 11:25 p.m. and arrived back at Norfolk at 5:10 p.m.” Westbound towards Cincinnati, Train 3 stopped at Bluestone at 11:18 PM for Pocahontas passengers. Eastbound towards Norfolk, Train 4 stopped at Bluestone at 7:15 AM. (Submitted on July 5, 2017.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. During Pocahontas’ heyday, the only fast and reliable way to get here was by train.
In 1925 the Norfolk and Western Railway operated 18 passenger trains a day, nine in each direction, for the five minute ride between Pocahontas and Bluestone Junction, West Virginia. That ride, through three tunnels and over five bridges, was only 1½ miles long, and that ride was not only fast, but clean, as the trains were pulled by electric locomotives after 1916. Today that railroad line is abandoned and it is a 10 minute, 2½ mile ride by automobile up and down mountains over narrow country roads with hairpin curves between
Buildings on St. Claire Street image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
5. Buildings on St. Claire Street
Pocahontas and Bluestone, now no longer a junction.

At Bluestone Junction was Norfolk & Western’s Virginia and Ohio main line. Those 18 Pocahontas trains were timed to connect with the 18 passenger trains hauled by steam locomotives including their crack express trains The Pocahontas and The Cavalier, both between Norfolk and Cincinnati. These trains stopped at Lynchburg, Petersburg, Roanoke in Virginia as well as Kenova, West Virginia, Ashland, Kentucky. In Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Petersburg, numerous trains from various lines could take you to not only to Richmond, but to Florida, New York, Atlanta, New Orleans and beyond. At Cincinnati likewise, to Chicago and beyond.
    — Submitted July 3, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.

 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNatural Resources
 
1895 City Hall and Opera House on St. Claire Street image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
6. 1895 City Hall and Opera House on St. Claire Street
The Opera House is upstairs, its door is on the left. “The first theater in this region. The latest Broadway shows, operettas & vaudeville acts played here in the early days.”
The Dispensary - 1905 image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
7. The Dispensary - 1905
On Water Street. “This was the company doctor’s office first occupied by Dr. John F. Haller. He and his associate attended to the medical needs of the miners and other company employees.”
Pocahontas Fuel Company Incorporated image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
8. Pocahontas Fuel Company Incorporated
Office building on Water Street.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 5, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 3, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 72 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on July 3, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
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