Located in northwest Russell County, the Dante Downtown Historic District is a rare surviving example of an early 20th century company coal town in Virginia. The town was originally a small village known as Turkey Foot, renamed Dante in 1903 in honor of developer Stilson Hutchins’ business associate, William Joseph Dante. In 1906, Dante officially became a company coal town when the Clinchfield Coal Corporation acquired the town and fully developed it. During the early- to mid-20th century, Dante was the largest company coal town in Russell County. The layout of the town is shaped by the challenging geography of the region. Dante’s commercial core, which comprises the district, is sited on the flattest and widest topography. Beyond the district boundaries, worker housing is located along the railroad tracks and the branches of Lick Creek, while management housing is sited on the hilltops that rise steeply above downtown Dante. The surviving buildings in the historic district include a bank, dry cleaning building, railroad depot, commercial buildings, and a steam heat plant. The Dante Downtown Historic District retains sufficient integrity to convey the influence of the Clinchfield Coal Corporation in its development of Dante as a company coal town.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark