Gauley Bridge
Glen Jean
Mt. Hope
Alum Creek
Twin Branch
Historic Matewan
Red Jacket

ANSTED - Gauley Mountain Coal Company, Hawk's Nest Mining
Around 1872, the new Chesapeake & Ohio Railway was built along both sides of the narrow New River valley creating a through route to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Hawk's Nest Station, just below what was later to become known as the Town of Ansted, was the site of the final spike in this portion of the C & O on January 29, 1873.

Ansted had passenger service until sometime in the 1930's but the freight rail service was was started in 1874 continued until the tracks were removed in 1972.

The town of Ansted, chartered in 1891, was actually named after David T. Ansted, a British geologist who once combed the area looking for seams of high grade bituminous coal and owned most of the land the town occupies. He was attracted to the area by former Confederate Colonel George W. Imboden, a wealthy lawyer who began speculating in coal land in southern West Virginia after the war and attracted British capitalists interested in investments. Between the two men, they purchased over a thousand acres of coal and timber land on Gauley Mountain between Hawk's Nest and the town of Westlake, which became the present day town of Ansted. Colonel Imboden served as its first mayor.
David Ansted and Colonel Imboden together organized the Gauley-Kanawha Coal Company, Ltd., in 1872 and in 1873 opened a mine about 1,000 ft. above the river and 300 ft. below the summit of Gauley Mountain. The company changed its name to Hawk's Nest Coal Company, Ltd., in 1875, and was reorganized in 1889 as the Gauley Mountain Coal Company.

Another of the town's more well-known residents was a protege of Mr. Ansted, William Nelson Page, (1854-1932) also served as mayor of Ansted. A civil engineer and mining manager, he was one of the energetic and successful men who helped develop West Virginia's rich bituminous coal fields in the late 19th and early 20th century. Page was co-founder and builder of the Virginian Railway. For more information about the history of Rail and Coal in ansted, click here.

It is hard to find evidence of this once thriving coal industry. Gauley Mountain Coal Company, Hawk's Nest Mining and even the railroad have come and gone. What one can find are "coal camp" architecture especially along Hwy 60 and the Antebellum home of Colonel Imboden and the Victorian mansions of William Page, coal company manager and that of the company's superintendent.

What one can see today.
Opening Soon
William Page's Mansion.
Listed on the National Register in 1985, this Victorian mansion is currently being renovated and will soon be open to the public.
Colonel George Imboden's Antebellum Home.
Called "Contentment" by Col. Imboden's second wife, the home was built in 1830 and placed on the National Historic Register in 1974 and is open to the public. Also on site, is the George Eades Pioneer Museum, Grace and Ivan Steele one room school house and the headquarters for the Fayette County Historical Society. Open June - August, Monday - Saturday 10 am - 4 pm or by appointment. Closed Sundays.
National Register. Contentment - Antebellum Home (added 1974 - building #74001996)
Also known as Imboden, Colonel George, House
Along U.S. 60, Ansted
Historic Significance: Person
Historic Person: Imboden, Colonel George
Significant Year: 1872
Area of Significance: Military, Politics/Government, Industry
Period of Significance: 1875-1899; 1900-1924
Rails to Trails.
Hawk's Nest Rails to Trails is a 1.8 mile walking trail following the old railroad bed which features two railroad trestles from days gone by and a view of small waterfalls along the route.
Coal Heritage Display.
City Hall Museum
110 Main Street, Ansted.
Also on display is information on Indians, pioneers, Civil War, transportation and African American.
Call (304) 658-5901
Historic Driving Tour.
Tour is under development. On left, coal camp housing now converted to private residental housing.

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