The 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 or see the latest signs, click the button below.


beginning of history hike at B&L

Latest News

heritage parsons reception (2)

Heritage Open House

Our Heritage Signage Open House in Parsons, WV was a success! Thank you to all that attended this reception on Monday, March 9th, to view the newly hung miniature copies of our Blackwater Rail Trail signs in Piccolo Paula’s. Joe Dumire gave a great lecture about the local railroad industry and how it changed through […]

joe dumire volunteer award

Volunteer of the Year

Congratulations to Joe Dumire for receiving the Friends of Blackwater Volunteer of the Year award! Joe has been a tremendous help with the heritage preservation work that FOB does in Tucker County. A Thomas resident, Joe knows the ins and outs of this town’s local history and worked tirelessly to help FOB curate and install […]


We’re Hiring: Heritage VISTA Member

Friends of Blackwater is looking to hire a new team member focused on Tucker County, regional history, 20th Century industry, and cultural heritage. If you’re interested in these topics, we want to hear from you! This Heritage VISTA Member position will be focused on studying and creating materials related to the industrial and cultural history […]

WVGS Studies Core Samples

Engineering Building Update: West Virginia Geological Survey Record Keeping and Clean Up

We are glad to announce that our friends at the West Virginia Geological Survey have been amazing by helping us archive and re-home a number of the engineering and industrial artifacts found inside the Engineering Building. The Engineering Building has long been the temporary turned semi-permanent home of a large number of core drilling samples, […]


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 […]


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 […]