Heritage

The moving human stories and historic artifacts of the Blackwater region are a colorful and inspiring part of today’s vibrant culture.

Friends of Blackwater is installing interpretive signs along the Blackwater Canyon rail grade, explaining historical structures associated with the railroad, the coal and coke industry, and the communities of the Canyon.

We also operate the J.R. Clifford Project, which since 2004 has celebrated the history of civil rights in West Virginia by highlighting local heroes.

To get more details about our history projects and see the latest signs, click the button below.

beginning of history hike at B&L

Latest News

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Blackwater Rail Trail Sign Tour

Join Friends of Blackwater on Saturday, October 26th, from 2-4pm on the Blackwater Rail Trail below the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV as we embark on a 2 mile tour of the Blackwater Rail Trail, featuring Friends of Blackwater’s newly installed Rail Trail signage, the Coke Ovens, historic railroad bridges, Engine House remains, and other […]

cleaned up engine house

Engine House Clean up

Thank you to all of the volunteers and Forest Service partners who participated in our historic Engine House clean up this past Saturday! We cut down large brush, cleared out mats of tangled invasive grasses, created a path from the Blackwater Rail Trail to the foundation, and cleaned up the existing signage so that these […]

Sean

New Hire: Sean Coffers!

Hello Friends of Blackwater community! I am Sean Coffers, and I am so excited to be joining Friends of Blackwater. I’m a West Virginia native, originally from the Morgantown area. I’ve just returned to my home state after 8 years in New Jersey and New York. I have a mixed background in teaching and working […]

cleaned up ovens

Coke Oven Cleanup- Success!

Thank you to everyone who joined us on August 24th to clean up the historic Coke Ovens along the Rail Trail! We had wonderful weather Saturday morning, and were able to do lots of mowing, clipping, chopping, and cleaning around the Coke Ovens, making them much more accessible to visitors and visible from the Rail […]

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Engineering Building Listed as Endangered

The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia has announced that the Davis Coal and Coke Company Administrative Building just south of the historic River Street District of Thomas has been recognized as a significant endangered historic building for 2019. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011 because of its importance as […]

exterior DC&C building with B&L in background

Big News for Historic Engineering Building

Across the street from our office sits the former Davis Coal and Coke Company engineering building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its important role in the history of industry in the area. When the coal industry was booming, miners from Thomas, Douglas, and other surrounding towns would have […]

Art Reception and History Talk

Thank you to everyone who attended our history talk and art reception this Saturday, at the Buxton and Landstreet building! The event started off with a brief talk about the history of the Buxton and Landstreet building and the adjacent Davis Coal and Coke Company administrative building, by Judy Rodd. The Buxton and Landstreet Company […]

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Tucker County Trials Lecture

On May 23rd at the Cottrill Opera House, guest lecturer Tom Rodd told stories from notable cases in Tucker County’s legal history. The historic space of the former theater made a great venue, and we want to thank the ArtSpring team for letting us use the space. One of the key cases covered was Williams […]