The Abandon West Virginia

Abandon High School

This weekend I ventured off into the unknown territory of West Virginia in search of historic towns and abandon buildings. I had a pretty good feeling that I’d find exactly what I was looking. West Virginia has an important role in our country’s history, one of those being West Virginia’s coal industry. Coal is responsible for fueling quite a few different things, the most significant uses are in electricity generation, steel production, cement manufacturing, and also as a liquid fuel. Towns in West Virginia, typically, only survive because of the coal mine they were built around. Meaning, that when the coal mine discontinues operation, things tend to fall apart. This is the case for many places I passed through in the southern part of the state. You can find these places if you get off the main roadways. Google is a great place to start looking for these particular spots. I browsed the Google maps for small roads veering off of the main ones. Look at the map, notice the that Coalwood is pretty much secluded from the bigger city of Welch. This is a good sign that there isn’t much there, at least not anymore. You can also check out Panoramio where photos with GPS coordinates are displayed on a map.

After picking a place, do some more research and see what you can find out about it. There just might be a chance that you picked the right place with precisely what you’re looking for. I did this and found the few spots you see here. At first it was pretty sketchy walking into these buildings. For some reason everything around you seems to make a really loud sound and gets your mind imagining a million different horror scenarios. After exploring a few different places and racking up 1350 miles (total including the drive from SC) on this weekend trip, I ended up finding a few different abandon buildings to photograph, those of which included two different schools that you see below. Driving back on Sunday, I took yet another back road, this one however slowly funneled down to a small trail through the backcountry mountains. I have a Jeep so of course I continued on. Along the way I came upon three white tail deer running ahead of me on the trail. Sadly I wasn’t fast enough to get a photo of them before they vanished into the forest. Excellent drive through the mountains.

This trip has inspired me to seek out more abandon buildings to find, I imagine that a place like Pennsylvania would be an excellent place…

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  • Wayne Maiden

    I know the very towns you have a been.Coalwood and Welch is where October Sky was taken.We went there and the actors stayed in Knoxville, Tn as there were no places there to stay.We bought the book and have read it several times. If you would like to read the whole true story about the Rocket Boys we will mail t to you.