Thomas, West Virginia (Part II)

Yesterday I mentioned my stop in Thomas, West Virginia. This is an adorable town built into a mountainside that is enjoying a second act. The people there have worked hard to preserve their history and find interesting stories to tell that will attract visitors and foster a sense of pride in community.

A friend has repeatedly told me that I need to visit and see a show at the Purple Fiddle, a small performance venue. So when I spotted a sign for the Purple Fiddle, it was a no brainer to take the exit and go find this place.

Most businesses were closed either for Columbus Day or because of Covid but I did find a shop filled with local goods and a cute coffee house that had some happy customers coming and going.

Named for Thomas Davis, one of two brothers who founded the mining company, the town was a destination for immigrants who worked the mine, operated stores or worked the railroad that moved the coal out of the area.

So many different nationalities could be found here that the mine employed an interpreter who could fluently read, write and speak eight languages – the mine produced signage and materials written in all eight of those languages.

The part of their story that I really wanted to share with you is the sense of patriotism that these immigrants felt toward their new country. The 4th of July was a huge deal here as these immigrants considered themselves Americans first, an attitude that made it much easier for people of different backgrounds to get along.

It seems like we all could learn a lot from these new citizens from over a century ago.

The town has experienced many ups and downs over the years. An early twentieth century fire destroyed many buildings. A tornado in the forties took down their train station which was said to be one of the finest in the state. Coke production ceased in 1921 and the mining diminished with this loss.

These are real obstacles but it’s inspiring to see the way the townspeople have joined together to revitalize their community. The downtown storefronts are bright and happy, flower pots offer color, and uniform trash cans keep the streets free of litter.

Monongahela National Park and nearby state parks provide recreation opportunities. The scenery is spectacular.

This is a place I wish to visit again someday and hope you will consider it as well. It’s less than three hours from southern Ohio and from the Pittsburgh area.

Want to see a few more pictures from Thomas and other content that supplements what I share here ? Go to Facebook and search Make The Journey Fun.

2 thoughts on “Thomas, West Virginia (Part II)

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