Coalton, West Virginia - Abandoned by Sherman Cahal

Coalton, West Virginia

Coalton, West Virginia, located in Randolph County, is a former company town operated by the West Virginia Coal & Coke Company. The town, however, was founded much earlier on May 8, 1895 2 as Womelsdorf, an Irish immigrant community,1 named after founder O.C. Womelsdorf of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.3 Womelsdorf had hoped that the completion of the Rolling Creek & Charleston Railroad from Coalton south to Charleston would spark the town’s development.4 The community was ultimately reached by the Roaring Creek & Belington Railroad.

After the richer Sewell seam was discovered in the New River valley, coal activity in the Roaring Creek region dwindled.5 For 1916, coal production at Coalton was 240,000 tons which declined sharply after 1921 to just 22,000 tons by 1928.5 The population, which was 833 in 1920, subsequently dropped to 373 in 1930.



  1. This is NOT Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church which is just north on another street. Saint Patrick’s is still an active church, with Mass celebrated every Sunday. What is pictured is a Protestant church which does appear to have been abandoned even after it had been converted to a City Hall.

  2. You are correct. The picture shown is of the, now abandoned, Presbyterian Church in Coalton, WV.

  3. Is this the birthplace of Homer Hickam, author and NASA Engineer?

  4. No, that’s Coalwood, located in the southern part of the state. Coalton is closereally to Elkins.

Submit a comment