Town of Ansted
*photo from mysite.verizon.net
In 1873, the town of Ansted was created. It was named after a British scientist and geologist, Dr. David T. Ansted (1814-1880), who in 1853, mapped out the nearby seams of high grade bituminous coal and once owned the land the town now occupies. The town was laid out by former Confederate Colonel George W. Imboden, a wealthy lawyer.
In the period following the Civil War, Imboden began speculating in coal lands in Southern West Virginia and attracted British capitalists interested in investing. Dr. Ansted, a noted geologist, had been engaged to investigate the region's potential for coal deposits, and his report far exceeded Imboden's best expectations. Ansted and Imboden bought more than a thousand acres (4 km²) of coal and timber land on Gauley Mountain between Hawks Nest and the town of Westlake, which became the present-day town of Ansted. They organized the Gauley-Kanawha Coal Company, Ltd., in 1872 and in 1873 opened a mine about 1,000 feet above the river and 300 feet below the summit of Gauley Mountain. The company changed its name to Hawk's Nest Coal Company, Ltd., in 1875, and was reorganized in bankruptcy in 1889 as the Gauley Mountain Coal Company.
Today it is difficult to find evidence of this once thriving industry. Gauley Mountain Coal Co., Signal Knob Coal and Hawk's Nest Mining have come and gone, leaving behind "coal camp" architecture and the Victorian mansions of William Page, coal company manager, and that of the company's superintendent.
Today Ansted looks toward a future working with the environment, not against it. The foundations townsfolk build on are: education, tourism, and quality of life issues. This community of 1700 tucked in the fold of Gauley Mountain and hugging the rim of the New River Gorge, gains strength and momentum from the past, and welcomes the future as a town eager to share the best of West Virginia's lifestyle - a precious heritage comprised of love of family, respect for your fellow man, and a code of values to live by.
Places To Visit Around Ansted
- The Contentment Historical Complex serves as headquarters for the Fayette County Historical Society. It features a historical museum and restored one-room schoolhouse, with historic furnishings and household items dating to mid-nineteenth century.
- The Halfway House
- The former Tyree's Tavern, headquarters of the Chicago Gray Dragoons during the American Civil War
- The African American Heritage Family Tree Museum, which helps African-Americans trace their roots
- The grave of Julia Neale Jackson, mother of Confederate General Thomas Stonewall Jackson, is located in Westlake Cemetery in Ansted.
- Hawk's Nest State Park-The park at Hawk's Nest features a small museum and gift shop, an aerial tram ride to the New River Gorge, and spectacular overlooks.
- U.S. Highway 60 threads through the community as part of the Midland Trail, a National Scenic Byway.
- Ansted hosts the Country Roads Festival each September and the Festival of Lights over the Christmas holiday season, a time when the Fayetteville Theater produces an annual holiday play.
- Mystery Hole is a more lighthearted attraction.
- A war memorial was erected in 2007 through donations that has the name, rank, and period served of military veterans .
- Page-Vawter House:
- Blue Smoke Salsa Factory with tours.