Wednesday, May 11, 2016
|Plumley at Beury Monument|
"I just thought saving it was the right thing to do," Plumley said while surveying his handiwork. "I didn't know that anyone else was trying to do anything about it. I just wanted people to know it was there and to be able to visit."
So Plumley set about acquiring the property, clearing away surrounding brush, and demolishing two derelict building to open the view.
Plumley, who grew up at Prince, played on the monument as a child in the 1960s, during which time it was partly hidden behind a restaurant and service station. The landmark's location below the level of the adjacent highway also worked to obscure it, though it was intended to overlook the site where the first carload of coal was shipped from the New River field. Beury had built a branch line here from his mine to meet the mainline of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.
Following the fatal explosion of the Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010, a tragedy from which he barely escaped, Plumley decided to retire and spend his days improving the remote section of the New River Gorge in which he was born and raised.
|Obelisk before clearing,|
Plumley says he hopes to continue to provide good access to the site and keep the property managed, possibly adding signage to explain its history. The monument, an obelisk, overlooks the New River from a vantage that offers a clear view upstream and downstream.
Plumley welcomes all who would learn of the history of mining in the gorge to visit the site, which is located along WV-41 approximately .7 miles east of the railway station at Prince. Visitors are welcome to park in the flats along the road and walk down a bank to the site.
For more information on Beury and area ghost towns such as those at Prince and Quinnimont, visit our guide to Ghost Towns of the New River Gorge.
Related: 1950 Newspaper Reveals When Beury Monument Was Erected
Location: Prince, WV 25813, USA
- ▼ 2016 (26)