It was a slightly chilly morning in downtown Cumberland, Maryland when I awoke to my alarm and the passing locomotives chugging along the former Western Maryland rail line through the heart of the city. I enjoyed listening to the trains throughout the night as it had a calming effect upon me, something that I recalled during my tenure at my parents house which was next to the massive Russell, Kentucky railyards. Feeling refreshed, I packed my gear and headed to my car and pointed my compass westward to Frostburg and then south to Lonaconing.
Ghost towns along the New River in West Virginia are aplenty but what makes these three unique is that they lay within the New River Gorge National River. Prior to the creation of the national park in the late 1970s, much of the land was used for the production of coal and coke. Small, company-owned towns were developed for the miners and their families, and when those mines closed out—so did the communities.