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12 Ghost Towns In West Virginia [MAP]

    ghost towns in West Virginia

    If you’re searching for ghost towns in West Virginia, we’ve got you covered! Below are 12 different ghost towns you can explore across Illinois along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.

    We rate ghost towns in West Virginia based on their status. Here’s how our system works:

    • Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers.
    • Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone.
    • Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
    • Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families.
    • Semi-Abandoned: Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
    • Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.


    1. Nuttallburg

    38.05053, -81.04255
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Located in south-central West Virginia, Nuttallburg was once a thriving coal mining town.It was named after a coal prospector named John Nuttall, who planned to build a railroad hub near the town to sell coal. The town of Nuttallburg became the second mining town in the area. The C&O railroad was built in 1873, making it the second coal-shipping center in the region. The town thrived from the 1870s until 1958, when the mines closed.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the town is owned by the National Park Service, but hiking is not a bad idea. Visitors can explore abandoned mine buildings and hike through a green river gorge, as well as view looming tipples and railroad tracks.

    Of all the ghost towns in West Virginia, this is in my top three. When visiting the roads can get rocky and narrow so make sure you visit during good weather.


    2. Brooklyn

    38.00119, -81.0329
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Brian Cohen – thegate.boardingarea.com

    History:

    Brooklyn is one of many old abandoned mining towns located along the New River. The town was supported by the Finlow mine, which produced coal from 1894 to 1895. Another mine was opened nearby but ran dry around 1904. Before becoming abandoned, the town supported a little under 200 people.

    What’s Left?

    There are tons of old foundations, ruins, and concrete structures scattered across the woods, many covered in a thick layer of moss and foliage. You can easily access this ghost town via the Cunard River Access road located along the Southside Trail. If you’re interested in camping, this is one of the best ghost towns in West Virginia to camp at for the night.


    3. Sewell

    37.99694, -81.01891
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: pickndawg.com

    History:

    Sewell was another coal town located along the New River. The town helped transform coal mined in the area into coke with the aid of coke ovens. This coke was used in blast furnaces for smelting iron which was in high demand at the time.

    During peak operation, Sewell had over 200 coke ovens working non-stop. With demand falling, the coke oven was finally shut down in 1956, with the last resident leaving in 1973.

    What’s Left?

     There are plenty of ruins left behind for urban explorers and photographers to see. You can still see many of the stones used in the coke ovens as well as the walls of the engine houses and rusting mining equipment. Of all the ghost towns in West Virginia, Sewell is among the best preserved.


    4. Layland

    37.89691, -80.96859
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The town’s past is rooted in the coal mining industry. There were nine mines in operation by 1919, but most of them closed by the 1950s. However, some continued operating until the 1980s. In 1915 a mining explosion killed 112 people, making this one of the worst mining disasters in the area.

    What’s Left?

    One of the best-preserved parts of this ghost town is the coal houses, just north of the coordinates marked below. These houses are where the workers used to live while mining. Of all the ghost towns in West Virginia, Layland is my personal favorite.


    5. Rutherford

    39.15063, -81.17066
    Status:
    Abandoned

    History:

    Rutherford started as a lumber camp in 1881 along the Cairo and Kanawha Valley Railroad. The town never grew larger than 90 people. Despite the small number of residents, the town had a church, post office, school, and general store.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the store, and four collapsing houses is all that remains of Rutherford.


    6. Stotesbury

    37.68166, -81.28861
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Sirloin OfBeef -flickr.com

    History:

    This abandoned coal mining community is now surrounded by woods. Built almost a century ago, the Stotesbury coal camp was home to a small African-American community. Once a thriving community, the town was home to more than 20,000 people.

    The community thrived during the 1930s. The town was founded in 1885 and named for a pioneer settler, Stephen Sewell. The Mann’s Creek Railroad operated between 1886 and 1955. The community is now an unincorporated neighborhood in Raleigh County.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the town is a quaint and charming ghost town. Its name comes from a pioneer settler named Edward T. Stotesbury. A tour of the town will take you back to the old days of coal mining. The cemetery was constructed behind the camp’s “affluent” side, which is still visible today along with a few abandoned homes and a church.


    7. Virginius Island

    39.3221, -77.73978
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The town was once an independent settlement with several businesses. Water mills were the primary industry, and the town was eventually abandoned by 1936 after a flood pushed the remaining families out.

    What’s Left?

    Today little remains other than some scattered ruins and old foundations. Since part of the town was located on an island, this is one of the most inaccessible ghost towns in West Virginia.


    8. Blue Sulphur Springs

    37.84744, -80.62634
    Status: Barren

    History:

    The original resort consisted of a three-story hotel with 200 rooms and a bathhouse. The resort closed during the Civil War, but the building’s name lives on.  The pavilion survived the fire that destroyed the resort, and the Greenbrier Historical Society is currently looking at preserving the remains.

    What’s Left?

    The only thing left standing is the 33-square foot “temple”. The building is an example of Greek Revival architecture that once sprawled across the entire property. While this isn’t the most exciting ghost town in West Virginia, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby.


    9. Volcano

    39.23277, -81.28472
    Status: Barren

    History:

    If you want to see a real ghost town, then look no further than Volcano, West Virginia. This old town was a petroleum boomtown that burned down in 1879. The skyline was dotted with gas flares at night, making it look like a real volcano.

    Other sites that were destroyed include Hizer’s meat market, the post office, Kennedy’s restaurant, the Nicholi hotel, and Pontious and Hardy’s office. There were also the remains of several businesses, including Whitman’s store and his dwelling. A pumping station for the Transportation Co. was also a significant ruin. There was also a barrel house, the Volcano enginehouse, and Smith’s boiler works.

    What’s Left?

     Routes 5 and 28 pass through this town-site. There is a museum and gift shop at the town site, as well as a history lesson about this abandoned town. While there are little no surviving remnants, it’s still one of the most unique sounding ghost towns in West Virginia.


    10. Thurmond

    37.9615, -81.08232
    Status: Historic

    History:

    When you arrive in Thurmond, West Virginia, you may not believe you are actually visiting a ghost town. The town was once a thriving railroad town that was once plagued with gunfights and violence.  In the 1950 census, Thurmond had more coal running through it than there are people. The town was once thriving, with businesses and facilities for the C&O Railway. 

    What’s Left?

    Today, the town is just a ghost town, with only a few original buildings. Many of those buildings are well preserved along the railroad. Explorers who venture away from those buildings can even find abandoned homes up on the hill.


    11. Winona

    38.04667, -80.99205
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    History:

    While Winona is still a town, it’s barely inhabited today. The town was settled in 1870 and named after Winona Gwinn, who was the daughter of Willian Gwinn who operated the hotel in town.

    What’s Left?

    Outside of the few residents who live in the area, explorers can find abandoned rail bridges, stone foundations, homes, and vacant general store.


    Go out and explore!

    That concludes our list of ghost towns in West Virginia but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.

    If you’re having trouble finding ghost towns be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Finding Abandoned Places, or explore other ghost towns across the country.

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