Hinton, West Virginia is a small town in southern West Virginia. It is a very
mountainous area, and it sits on the shore of the New River. It has various railroads that
have been a very important part of the resources that keep it busy. The major
resource that has come out of this region is bituminous coal. It is the source
of electricity for this and many other towns and cities. At this point in time
they are building a hydroelectric power plant on the New river for an
alternative electricity resource. There are many various types of wildlife and
wildlife reserves in this area. One of my favorites would be Pipestem State
Park. There are also many extra curricular programs, like basketball, baseball,
football, soccer, and after school programs. Most of the roads are still made of
cobblestone, and most of historic downtown still has the building layouts that
were there in the early 1800's. That is why Hinton is so beautiful.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad otherwise known as the C&O, as the name
implies, was built to link the mid-west (at Cincinnati) to the deepwater port at
Newport News, Virginia. The economic justification was found in the coal in the
middle portion of the railroad, which could be inexpensively shipped either to
the east or west from central western Virginia and central West Virginia. The
physical plant is in excellent condition, but there are only 3 passing sidings
over a mile in length. It runs on the beautiful land of rural West Virginia.
Another landmark of Hinton’s history is the Bluestone Dam. Bluestone Dam was
constructed as part of the Kanawha River Basin flood control system primarily to
reduce major flood damages along the New, Kanawha, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers.
There is a lot of history of this area including the folktale of John Henry
for example. John Henry was born a slave in approximately the early 1840's or
1850's in North Carolina or Virginia. He grew to stand around 6 foot 200 pounds.
He had an enormous appetite, and an even greater capacity for work. He found
work at a railroad site on the C&O railroad. Workers were promised property as
their pay once they finished the job. He worked the hardest and fastest on the
job. Word spread of this great man around all the states. For months and months
he worked in peace and harmony. Until the day the steam drill rolled up onto the
job site. With it came a mid-sized skinny man with a fancy suit and a top hat.
Everyone was shocked as they were going to lose their job to this machine. John
Henry stepped in front of the steam drill and said "I can beat you and this
machine in a contest. Whoever drills through that mountain first will win. If I
win we get our property and get to keep our jobs." So the man agreed to
challenge John Henry, and all the workers had their money on "The Steel Drivin'
Man", John Henry. With two 20 pound hammers in his hands he and the steam drill
started driving steel and they drove and drove and drove until boom......John
hit daylight. John Henry had won. All of a sudden John Henry fell to the ground.
He had died from exhaustion. His wife was waiting at the end of the tunnel and
when he died she placed his hammers in his crossed hands. The folktale says
that his ghost can still be heard pounding his hammer in the Great Bend Tunnel
that he created.
Source: First hand knowledge as a Hinton, West Virginia resident
Online Highways. 30 Jul 2004 <http://www.ohwy.com/>.