Virginia Coal Heritage Trail Corridor Management Plan Meeting
TOWN MEETING FOR PUBLIC INPUT - TAZEWELL COUNTY OF THE POCAHONTAS TRAIL
Richlands - September 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Dr. Mark Estepp, President of Southwest Virginia Community College
Tim Taylor, Town Manager - Town of Richlands
Rod Curry, Richlands Town Council
Gaynell Thompson, Richlands Town Historian
Ken Wysor, Former Mayor - Town of Richlands
Margie Douglass, Tazewell Co. Economic Development & Tourism Coord.
Jan White, Mayor - Town of Richlands
Ginger H. Branton, Executive Director Richlands Chamber of Commerce
DISCUSSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
POCAHONTAS & JEWELL RIDGE
Discussed the significance of both Pocahontas and Jewell Ridge as being the anchors at both ends of the county and the importance of preserving their buildings and getting their communities focused and ready for visitors.
Meeting is being set up for the second or third week in October for both Jewell Ridge and Pocahontas.
Fountain Restaurant and Pharmacy
Tazewell Visitor Center - Add map and information about the Coal Heritage Trail
Any historical information on coal in Tazewell County, coal camps, etc. at the Graham Historical Society next to the information center that people might see?????
Notes on Coal Heritage Research at College - follow up on this.
Last Fountain & Pharmacy
Tourist Info Center
Addressed concerns for the number of billboards between Bluefield and Tazewell, encouraging no more be added along the byway.
Exit 2 - Add information and maps at Chamber about Coal Heritage Trail.
Provide information at Coal Bucket Deli and possibly at McDonalds on the Coal Trail.
Possibly add photos of some of the coal sites one will find in Tazewell County.
Excellent display on coal. Add maps and brochures on the byway at this site.
Recommended locations for information on Virginia Coal Heritage Trail Byway:
Crab Orchard Museum
Crab Orchard Museum
Tourism Kiosk across from museum
Include The Cuz's as a unique dining experience.
Suggest turning off and taking 1 mile Cedar Bluff loop (Business 460). Includes mill, Civil War site, coal loader, railroad and scenic park on this stretch of road.
Definitely promote Stir-N-Dip a' Tea as a wonderful place to stop for lunch
Rich in railroad history. Dinky track. Transfer station. Load brick
Stone masons, brick layers
1,500 men working in area
Anomota? Coal seam runs through Richlands
Virginia's Miner Memorial at Town Hall
Richlands just hired a litter control officer - Jerry Ward
Richlands Hotel just became the William Matty Hospital. Now site of Town Hall.
The Chamber Office is located in what was once a doctor's office.
Dr. W.R. Williams House is now the Tazewell County Library.
WWII and Coal - Story
Mining at Jewell at night needs to be encouraged. Might encourage overnight stays in the area.
Critterville Park and walking trail
Need walking/driving tour developed for all historic sites, both coal and railroad in the Richlands historic downtown.
Section House for the railroad, Chamber, Shraders, Library, bank, a number of buildings along Washington Square. Include Coffee Station and L'Venia restaurants, coal miner's memorial and other sites such as War Memorial, location and copies of murals including those in the Teen Venture Center as well as those featured at Southwest Community Center in the Davis Hall Mining Educational, Occupation and Technical Building.
Section House should be developed into an interpretive center for both coal and rail.
Good location to chare the interconnection of both. Also provide a display of the by-products of coal- plastic, medicine.
Strategic location as one enters the historic district of downtown Richlands overlooking the railroad.
Ample parking and easy access to the Chamber and Coffee Station Restaurant across the street.
Easy walking distance to the historic buildings on Washington Square and view of Richlands school underneath the metal siding. A story to tell...
Recommendation: Add an Artisan Trail as part of the tour to see the many murals in and around Richlands and include the teen center murals as well as those at the Art Center enroute to the college.
Murals at SWVCC
Murals at SWVCC
Murals at Teen Center
Mural on RR Street
Recommend interviews with Gaynell Thompson, historian and Ken Wysor, former Mayor of the Town of Richlands who have a lot of knowledge about the area. Oral histories are very important.
Need better signage directing those on the Coal Heritage Tour through Richlands. Suggest the following which includes a side trip along Hwy 67 North to take in some of the historic markers along this route:
Take Hwy 67 N into Richlands off Hwy 460 (need sign telling one to turn left on 67)
Need byway confirmation sign on right side of Hwy 67N about 1/2 mile up road
Recommend route turn right at intersection following Hwy 67N. (add "Turn right" byway sign directing one to turn right)
Add pull off to take photo of Map of Richlands and Memorial on right
Add a second pull off at War Memorial or have them pull in at Farmers Market
Continue north on 67 to graveyard and historical marker on Richlands. (need sign directing them to this)
Have them then turn around and take 67 south back towards Richlands with pull off at "Coal" welcome sign. (Need coal heritage confirmation sign and "Look Here" marker.)
Continue on 67 S with excellent view of the paralleling railroad tracks then continue straight on First Street.
Stop at the Sexton House (need coal heritage sign noting info) which will serve as the Visitor Center for the Coal Heritage Trail
Providing maps and information on the Coal Heritage Trail as well as information on the history of Richlands and the history of the railroad and its impact on the region and Southwest Virginia.
Might also talk about some of the coal camps in the region
Provide walking tours of the downtown area.
Turn left onto Washington Square (need "turn left" Coal Heritage sign)
Cross over Second Street (need coal heritage sign on hill in front of town hall directing visitors to turn right onto Third Street and into Town Hall, site of the Coal Miner's Memorial)
Upon leaving the memorial, have sign directing visitors to turn right onto Third Street.
At the intersection of Hwy 67 and Third St., have a coal heritage trail sign directing visitors to turn right onto Hwy 67 South towards Jewell Ridge.
THE OFFICIAL COAL MINER'S MEMORIAL FOR THE COMMONWEALTH.
RECOMMENDED LOOP ON HWY 67 NORTH TAKES ONE PAST THE FOLLOWING:
Highlights of Richlands
Unique Sign of Coal
Two other Coal Camps that once existed near Richlands were Red Ash and Brown Hollow
Red Ash Mine
Brown Hollow Mine at Big Creek
Needs interpretive site to describe what it once was and what still remains
Recommend a driving tour guide throught the community.
Mine access entrance? - need to check on this.
Once had hospital, school, YMCA and more
Need better signage to encourage travelers to take the loop through community.
As a county, Tazewell County as a whole needs to promote the Unique Dining Opportunities found along the VCHT which inclludes:
The Last Fountain (Bluefield), Coal Bucket Deli (Tazewell), The Cuz's (Pounding Mill), Stir-N-Dip-A-Tea (Cedar Bluff) Coffee Station (Richlands), L'Venia (Richlands).
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