Community / West Virginia

Coalton, West Virginia, located in Randolph County, is a former company town operated by the West Virginia Coal & Coke Company.

The community was founded on May 8, 1895, 2 as Womelsdorf, an Irish immigrant community. 1 It was named after the 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 coal seam was discovered in the New River Valley, activity in the Roaring Creek region began to decline. 5 For 1916, coal production at Coalton was 240,000 tons but declined sharply to just 22,000 tons by 1928. 5 Coalton’s population peaked at 833 in 1920 but subsequently declined to 373 by 1930.

  1. Rutkowski, Ryan. “Sacred Places.” Catholic West Virginia. Charleston: Arcadia, 2010. 32. Print.
  2. Reger, David Bright, and West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. “History.” Randolph County. Vol. 1. Morgantown: West Virginia University, 1931. 26. Print.
  3. 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.
  4. “Corporations.” Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia. Charleston: Moses W. Donnally, 1895. 17. Print.
  5. 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.