Steve Bodkins History Books - Giving the Past a Future
Forgotten Towns:Beginning in the late 1800's and the early 1900's, a transformation of a vast section of wilderness and virgin forest in Pocahontas and Randolph Counties took place. Between the farmers and stockmen clearing land in the region and timber barons cutting every harvestable tree, thousands of acres of virgin forest was removed and in most cases, the land was left barren.
When the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railroad was extended to Elkins in 1889, it provided a means to transport these vast reserves of virgin timber from the area to the eastern markets. Shortly after this railroad was built, branch railroads were constructed from this mainline railroad into the virgin stands of timber. The Dryfork Railroad and the Coal & Iron were the two primary railroads that affected these counties. The Dryfork serviced the towns of Evenwood, Jenningston, Osceola, Sinks of Gandy, Laurel Fork River and the Spruce Knob area. The Coal & Iron opened up the towns of Wheeler, Beulah, Oxley, Wildell, May, Gertrude, Burner, Braucher and Olive.
This book explores the development of this region before and after the C&I was built and up to the present day. The primary focus of this book is to capture the history of these towns and preserve it for future generations. It contains 22 chapters with 228 pages and 412 historic and vintage photographs. It has a full size map in the back.
Bemis & Glady:The original landscape was one of a pristine virgin forest. Then, the Coal & Iron Railroad was built through the region to provide a means of transporting the bountiful virgin timber that would be harvested. During the railroad construction, at least 22 murders were committed by the workers who were hired to build it. By 1903, the railroad construction was complete and timber was being harvested on a massive scale, the impact on the environment and people was tremendous. Lumber boom towns sprang up in every hollow and level parcel of land and transient workers moved in from all over the United States to work on the mills, on the railroads and to cut timber, many of men were Italian, Austrian and/or Irish immigrants, thus creating a melting pot of cultures and customs.
The timber harvest reached its peak about 1910 and, by 1928, the last of the virgin timber had been removed. As the timber boom faded, extensive smokeless coal reserves were discovered and mining interests surged, it proved to be as significant as the timbering boom, filling the schools to capacity as new families moved into the area to work during the great depression. Then, by 1950, all of the significant coal mines had closed.
During the 1960's, the area became a popular area for fishing, hunting and other recreational activities. Countless new families visit these mountain towns each year to experience what many call " Gods Country" - That special place where one can put life into perspective.
This book contains 27 chapters, 339 vintage and historic photographs and includes chapters on Bemis, Glady, Flint, Montes, Morribell, & Woodrow and more, 40 pages of biographies, census and cemetery records and a history of the railroads that affected the area.