Fortunately, much of the past still exists in Mount Hope, a town that
is one the last bastions of the elements of a bygone era. A trip through Mount Hope provides visitors with a rare opportunity to view
many of the sights that were once commonplace throughout the coal fields of Southern West
Although the dozens of coal mining operations have disappeared from the hills
surrounding the town, along the streets of Mount Hope visitors can still view many
examples of the grand structures built by the coal barons and coal companies. The town's
downtown section remains virtually the same as it did during the 1920s, the decade
when the town was one of the most important communities in the vast coal fields of the
region. The offices of the regions largest coal company, the New River Company,
still exist as well as the companys repair shops and foundry building. Just outside
town, in Kilsyth, two large smokestacks loom over the former repair shop used by the
McKell Coal & Coke Company, also used by the company's railroad, the Kanawha, Glen
Jean & Eastern Railway.
However, none the historic sites or structures named
in the paragraph above should be regarded as commercial "tourist attractions."
Visitors to Mount Hope will not find a vast collection of rebuild or restored
"exhibits" in pristine condition and there are no uniformed guides that
will recite historical narratives. . Instead, visitors will find a "real" town,
populated with "real" people, that is perfect place to "explore" with
rewarding results. Stroll the town's streets and visit a few of the town's restaurants or
stores and you'll likely to have the opportunity to speak with some of the town's citizens
who can provide a unique first-hand account of the historic town and the various
sites within it.