New Interpretive Signs located along the McManus Trail

The City of Beckley to celebrate new Interpretive Signs located along the McManus Trail

The City of Beckley is pleased to announce the installation of seven interpretive signs along the McManus Trail. The community is invited to a brief event to announce the signs scheduled for Friday, October 22 at 1 pm at the McManus Trail Art Park on 3rd Avenue. The project is receiving a matching grant from National Coal Heritage Area Authority. The signs will help promote coal heritage along the trail including coal camps/towns, coal tipples, a former railroad station, railroad markers, and businesses that the railroad serviced. 

The Raleigh County Historical Society, C&O Historical Society, WV Regional History Center and the various residents were helpful in sharing historic information and photos for the signs. The signs were designed by John Sellards, who performed extensive research confirming the trail’s history. He designed the signs to be consistent with other coal heritage signs in the region. Pannier Graphics built the signs over the past month and the City’s Public Works employees installed them this week. 

Jill Moorefield of Beckley Events, who prepared the grant request, says, “We appreciate the Coal Heritage grant, along with the help from historical societies, John Sellards, Public Works and local history buffs who shared information for the signs.  We hope that the signs will increase the trail’s use for tourism and education, as well as, instill community pride and a sense of place.”

 

Brief history: The rail/trail was initially the Piney River and Paint Creek Railroad which served five coal towns. The branch line was constructed in 1905-06 and ran from Mabscott to Cranberry. Taken over by C&O Railway in 1918, it served the area hauling coal, freight and passengers. The tracks were removed in 2002 and the City of Beckley developed a rail-trail.  The Lewis McManus Memorial Trail is being used today for recreation and to access work and shopping areas.  

 

Sign locations: The sites for the signs can be easily accessed, located at a trailhead or near intersections, parking areas or shelters. The seven signs include: 

1 – Mabscott – located near James Street and Railroad Ave

2 – Warehouse District and Businesses along the Trail – located between the underpass (tunnel) under Byrd Drive and the warehouses near Central Ave

3 – Beckley Station sign and #4 – sign with a map highlighting locations of coal camps/towns along the trail and the railroad in the county – both signs located at the Trail Art Park at 3rd Ave

5 – Whistle Post – near Kanawha Street

6 – Sprague / Beckley Exhibition Mine – at the end of the spur near Public Works

7 – Skelton – near the Eisenhower Drive shelter / Kroger end of the trail

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