Nestled in the Laurel Creek Valley of Tazewell County on Virginia’s border with West Virginia, this mountain community’s mining structures, ornate commercial buildings, and rows of wooden workers’ houses preserve the image of a late-19th-century, coal-mining company town. Pocahontas was founded in 1881 and developed by the Southwest Virginia Improvement Co. as a company headquarters and miners’ residential community at a terminus of the Norfolk and Western railroad. Unlike most early mining towns, Pocahontas was from the start a model company town with orderly rows of company-built housing and a downtown embellished with richly decorated sheet-metal storefronts. The Victorian combination town hall and opera house is an architectural contrast to the prosaic company store, the miners’ bathhouse, and the tiny brick coal sheds in front of many dwellings. A period of decline in recent decades, after the closing of the mine in 1955, has generated efforts to preserve the town’s distinct character.
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