Virginia Coal Heritage Trail Corridor Management Plan Meeting
In the City of Norton - September 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Kim Gibson, City of Norton
Shelly Knox, City of Norton
Marty Hagy, Hagy & Fawbush Funeral Home
Bill Bledsoe, Virginia Mining Association
Paul Kuczko, Lonesome Pines of Youth
Michael Wampler, SRRA Director for the Spearhead Trails
Joyce Payne, Wise County Chamber of Commerce
Fred Ramsey, City of Norton
Buzz Witt, City of Norton
Ernie Benko, ARC Television
Below is the section of the Byway discussed in the City of Norton meeting.
Primary coal sites are noted on the map.
Norton, once known as Princess Flat, had three hospitals, a theater, depot, bowling alley, and numerous hotels.

Points of interest in Norton as brought forth in meeting:

  • Hotel Norton. The Story - People used to stop train, eat lunch then reload and head back down the track. Hotel Norton closed in 1962. Currently used for community functions.
  • Carl Martin - black museum - a car brought him in.
  • Commissary for Norton Coal Company. Coke ovens were by the theater.
  • Coal Office - Old Kimmerer building
  • Sylvan Fox Engineergin Office - Son of Red Fox
Sylvan Fox Office
Kimmerer Building Coal Office
Hospital built on bench
Norton Hotel
  • Williamson Sturgills Law Office
  • Hospital is built on the second level of a coal bench
  • Post Office actually says "U.S. Post Office & Mine Rescue Station"
Post Office
Unique Architecture
  • Hawthorne Coal Camp was one located just below where Inn at Norton is now located.
  • Old Company Store still stands. Shut down in the 50s
  • Stoney Lonesome was one of the churches at Norton's coal camp. It still stands today.
  • Norton Hotel
  • King Coal, 1908
On driving tour through the City of Norton:
  • There are two historic homes in Norton (Judge Bandy's house and one with white pillars) - built over a coal seam. In winter, they would go down in the basement and dig coal to heat home.
  • "Miner's" Hospital purchased with coal company's pressure on the banks. Was originally the Fleming Estate designed as a replica of the Roenoke Hotel (building no longer exists).
    • When they had difficulty heating the hospital, they dug down to a 5' coal seam and extracted the coal. The hole they dug became the parking lot.
  • St. Mary's Hospital is scheduled to be torn down.
  • Many historic homes in Norton:
    • Cherry House - has slave quarters
    • George Bolin's home - direct descendents of Pocahontas
  • Woolworth Store
  • There is no mortar in rock wall built by CCC, yet it stands strong.
  • Movie Theater
  • Norton was created in 1890 and the coal camps were set up around it and were eventually merged into it.
  • Some of the coal camps in the area included Pound Town, Dorchester, Esserville, and Needmore. (Dynamite warehouse caught on fire in 1962 and it eventually took the whole town).
Norton is blessed with a number of historic homes and buildings, many of which have some relationship to coal and/or railroad. It definitely needs both a walking and driving tour developed similar in concept to what has been developed for Big Stone Gap. See Chapter VII on developing walking & driving tours for more on this.
Potential Coal Heritage Trail Info Sites for Norton:
  • Chamber of Commerce for maps and brochures.
  • Possibly the old hotel or the old garage converted into a museum for Coal Heritage Trail, Crooked Road, Railroad history and history of the community.
  • Add interpretive information at the Info Kiosk and rest area nexxt to Inn at Norton.
  • More information:

Contact Mary Marlone with Ratford University who conducted interviews.

Norton has rich railroad history with N & W, Southern, L & N, and Interstate RR which ran from
Lee to Wise County once ran through Norton.
  • Interstate RR was family owned line. Governor Holton in Louden County.
  • There were at least three depots in different locations in Norton. Two existed at the same time. One was for freight and one for passengers or they were two different lines - Paul Kilgore would have more on this.
  • L & N Norton/Coeburn - President of Railroad?
  • More info on Railroad, contact Ron Flannery (276) 431-2206
  • There have been four depots in Norton. Two existed at the same time across from the tracks from each other. It may have been two different companies or one was for passenter and the other for freight.
  • Everything on left side of Norton was owned by the railroad.

City of Norton offers a variety on both lodging and dining opportunities. Below are just a few:

Section between Appalachia and Norton:
  • Interesting Side Note: Taking Old 23 to the site of the Hosephine Coal Camp. Nearby was a small community known as the "underwear" community because on one side of the road was Short's Store and across the street was Bloomer's Store. Not much still remains but a fund tidbit of information.
  • Blackwood Camp - see Wise County portion of Norton Loop
  • Double railroad tracks on either side of the Powell River. Side note: This section of the Powell River is one of the top trout streams
  • Pass by Appalachia Traditions II
  • Recommendation: Appalachia Traditions II might be an excellent location to add an interpretive sign on how the coal industry brought in workers from all over the world and its influence on the music of the region.
On the section of road from Norton to Appalachia, there also active mine sites with possible sites for interpretive information, a coal conveyor over road, and location to purchase coal for home use which may need interpretation. See Wise County Town Meeting for more on this.

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