By David Taylor
Known as “a town surrounded by three majestic rivers (Bluestone National Scenic River, New River, and the Greenbrier River) and a railroad,” Hinton, WV, is where Bev and I spent this past Monday afternoon. We parked on Temple Street (WV Rt. 20) near the Saint Patrick Catholic Church and spent a few hours walking around this quaint little historic Summers County town taking in the sights and sounds.
Visitors can easily enjoy the town’s turn-of-the-century architecture via walking tours of the streets of the historic town. It truly is fantastic.
In addition to the great architecture, and fishing opportunities (Hinton has some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the area) the town is growing its economy by developing technology infrastructure and tourism opportunities.
According to the city website, the Hinton Technology Center building was dedicated on August 11, 2006. The new infrastructure helps to connect Hinton and other small rural communities to the rest of the world. It currently houses retail businesses, a medical office, a daycare, and the city-owned Bobcat Fitness Center. Many small businesses are also scattered throughout the Historic District.
The town’s beginnings and history is steeped in railroads going back to the Civil War era.
According to the town’s website, “had it not been for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company, Hinton would have had no reason to exist. The aftermath of the Civil War had left the railroad in shambles, its goal to reach the Ohio River on the verge of collapse. While struggling to obtain capital, in early 1869, then-president Gen. Williams C. Wickham, recruited railroad capitalist Collis P. Huntington. After making a tour of the whole line, Huntington, fresh from his work building the Central Pacific, became interested in the C & O as a link in a true coast-to-coast rail line.”
2021 Hinton Railroad Days Festival, a one of kind traditional West Virginia festival is one of the premier events in the state, attracting thousands of visitors to the region this fall is set for Thursday October 21st to Sunday October 24th, 2021.
You can learn about the history of railroading at this historic, well-curated museum, featuring operating model train layouts, and information on the proud heritage of railroading in Hinton, and the New River Gorge.
You can also ride the Autumn Colors Express for great views and a fantastic time with family and friends.
NOW YOU KNOW: Baseball great, John Milton “Crab” Warhop, is a native of Hinton. He was a pitcher who played eight seasons – 1908 to 1915 – for the New York Highlanders/New York Yankees AND I believe he still holds the MLB record for losing the most 1–0 games with five in 1914. Also, though she was born in Elkhart, Indiana, Country singer Connie Smith’s family was from Hinton and returned there to live shortly after her birth where she lived for much of her childhood before her family moved on to Ohio.