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MOUNT HOPE

Mount Hope is a small, incorporated commercial town in the middle of the New River Coal Field. The community's growth could be attributed to being surrounded by coal mines at Tamroy, Oswald, Price Hill, Kilsyth, Garden Ground, MacDonald, Turkey Knob, Derryhale, Sugar Creek, and the Siltex mine. Mount Hope was served by two railroads: the C&O and the Kanawha, Glen Jean, and Eastern, and the main offices and shops of the New River Company and other coal companies were located in Mount Hope, too. By the 1980s the mines around Mount Hope were worked out, and the railroad became coated with rust as trees grew up between the ties. However, the rail spur was granted a new lease on life when Georgia Pacific and Austin Powders became rail customers. Around 2005 a coal loadout near Pax came on line, and for the first time in 20 years coal trains could be seen rolling through Mount Hope. However, this is not a prediction of a revival of the economy of Mount Hope, which appears to be an economically struggling town.


One of the first thing one sees when driving into Mount Hope from Beckley is a cut stone framing of the large coal outcrop (Sewell seam) with the sign reading, "Famous New River Smokeless Coal."


Downtown Mount Hope.


The "Mount Hope" hasn't shown a movie in a few years.


Mount Hope features several impressive and historic structures. Here we see the post office, former headquarters of the New River Company, and the defunct New River Hotel.


Detail of the entrance of the former New River Company offices.


The New River Company also maintained these shops in Mount Hope, behind their office building and company store.


A vestige of the coal industry in Mount Hope: a mine "scoop" outside one of the former New River Company shops.


Large, stately homes along the main street in Mount Hope attest to the imporance of the town in the early and mid-20th Century.


One of the signs at a Coal Heritage Trail interpretive kiosk in Mount Hope looks strangely familiar, though I can't quite put my finger on where I have seen it before.


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