Latitude / Longitude:
37°57′40″N 81°4′54″W / 37.96111°N 81.08167°W / 37.96111
1,070 ft (326 m)
Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
Thurmond is a town in Fayette County, West Virginia, United States, on the New River. The population was five at the 2010 census. During the heyday of coal mining in the New River Gorge, Thurmond was a prosperous town with a number of businesses and facilities for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. The town was the filming location for John Sayles’ 1987 movie Matewan since it still possesses many of the characteristics of a 1920s Appalachian coal town. Thurmond was incorporated in 1900 and was most likely named for Captain W. D. Thurmond, who settled here in 1844. He served in the Confederate Army and died in 1910 at age 90. Thurmond post office was established in 1888 and discontinued in 1995. The community remained small until Thomas G McKell of Glen Jean negotiated with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad for a crossing at Dunloup Creek in 1892.
The town once had a population of several hundred, which has dwindled to fewer than a dozen. The railroad depot is now a visitor center for New River Gorge National River.
Today, much of Thurmond is owned by the National Park Service for the New River Gorge National River. The C&O passenger railway depot in town was renovated in 1995 and now functions as a Park Service visitor center. The entire town is a designated historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the residential portion of the town, housing types are standardized, with three or four basic types corresponding to different positions in the railroad hierarchy. The commercial district, while lacking a street for much of its history, boasted two hotels, two banks, and a number of other commercial buildings. The railroad station was built in 1888, while a railyard and shops served the extensive branch line network which carried coal out of the hills.