Coalton, West Virginia is located in Randolph County and was a company town that was operated by the West Virginia Coal and Coke Company along Roaring Creek. The town, however, was founded much earlier on May 8, 1895 2 as Womelsdorf, an Irish immigrant community,1 and named after O.C. Womelsdorf of Pottsville, Pennsylvania who founded the town.3 Womelsdorf had hoped that the completion of the Rolling Creek and Charleston Railroad from Coalton south to Charleston would spark the town’s development.4 The community, however, was reached by the Roaring Creek and Belington Railroad, extending northward.
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, but this declined after 1921.5 For 1928, this figure had dropped to just 22,000 tons. The population, which was 833 in 1920, had dwindled to 373 just ten years later.
- Name: Coalton, West Virginia
- Years of Significance: 1895
- Rutkowski, Ryan. “Sacred Places.” Catholic West Virginia. Charleston: Arcadia, 2010. 32. Print.
- Reger, David Bright, and West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. “History.” Randolph County. Vol. 1. Morgantown: West Virginia University, 1931. 26. Print.
- Bosworth, A S. “Miscellaneous.” A History of Randolph County, West Virginia: from Its Earliest Exploration and Settlement to the Present Time. N.p.: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1916. 262. Print.
- “Corporations.” Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia. Charleston: Moses W. Donnally, 1895. 17. Print.
- Workers of the Writers’ Program of the Works Progress Administration. “Tour 22.” West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State. N.p.: n.p., 1941. 502. Print.Clarke, Alan. “The B&O Years and Beyond.” West Virginia’s Coal and Coke Railway. Lynchburg: TLC Publishing, 2002. 133. Print.
St. Patrick’s Church
Under the direction of Rev. Michael Fitzpatrick, Womelsdorf established St. Patrick’s parish in the 1890s.1 The church was dedicated by Bishop Patrick J. Donahue in 1903. It was later expanded with a community center before closing and being reused as a city hall. The church is currently abandoned.