Good "Ole" Appalachia, Va.
The small town of Appalachia was established in 1898 and is surrounded by many coal mining camps. The town itself was named for the beautiful mountains that surround it and its community. I graduated from the old Appalachia High School, and later graduated from VPI, now known as Virginia Tech.
Some of the coal camp communities are Andover, Arno, Derby, Imboden, Exeter, Dunbar, Pardee, Osaka, Roda, and Stonega.
This small town has a rich history related to the Interstate Railroad and many adjacent coal mines. The Bee Rock tunnel is the second-shortest railroad tunnel and the Peake Building in Appalachia has road access on all four levels. While the town is not thriving as experienced during the height of coal usage, it continues to draw many visitors during Railroad Days each year.
It is also known for the Railroad Days Festival which showcases the history of the railroad and coal mining.
Working on the Railroad
Well, the old song says "working on the railroad all the live long day," whatever that means. The Interstate Railroad, located in Andover, Virginia, was a major source of employment for many in our section of Southwest Virginia.