Appalachia (Town): The Town of Appalachia is considered to be a largely intact “era” town of the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. At one time, the town was the center of a booming coal mining culture. The town was the “hub” of eight “coal camps” located along the outskirts of the town. Presently, many of the coal camps remain as does much of the coal mining equipment. The town sprang up after the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and Southern Railroad made a junction there in 1890. Many railroad buildings still remain in the town. It was named after the Appalachian Mountains, in the heart of which it stands.
Appalachia is surrounded by numerous coal camp communities,including Andover, Arno, Derby, Roda, Imboden, Exeter, Dunbar, Pardee, Osaka, and Stonega. Many of these communities formed at the beginning of the century with the arrival of the mining and railroad industry.
Town Government page: Town of Appalachia
Several items of interest remain in the town, including:
Bee Rock Tunnel – listed in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the “Shortest Railroad Tunnel in the World”. The tunnel is 47 ft., 7 in. The Tunnel is now part of the new “Power River Trail” designed for walking and biking. The trail starts in Appalachia and ends in Big Stone Gap. The trail is 1.8 miles long.
Visit the Louis E. Henegar Miners Memorial Park, which is dedicated to a local mining historian and numerous coal miners in the community. See many examples of underground mining equipment used today in the mining industry.
Each year, usually in the first week of August, the residents of Appalachia and the surrounding area celebrate their heritage in a week-long celebration known as Coal/Railroad Days. The festival includes a 5K road race, music concerts at the town’s amphitheater, amusement rides, street vendors, a parade, and numerous other festival type events. The town also has an Oktoberfest celebration in early to mid-October.
The Lonesome Pine Model Railroad Club was established in 1993. The HO scale model is located in the bottom floor of the Cultural Arts Center. The trains travel throughout the 2700 square feet showing off the history of the area including coal mines, towns and mountains.
The Appalachia Cultural Arts Center is located on the “Crooked Road: VA’s Heritage Music Trail”. The Center hosts Open Mic Night with local musicians, performances of all types of music, and plays. It hosts community events from the local area. The Amphitheater next door is part of the Center and is shared by the Town.
Along with its world record for the Bee Rock Tunnel, Appalachia holds a second world record for The Peake Building, which is an apartment house with street-level access on all four floors.
Peggy Castle was born in Appalachia. She signed with Universal-International and made her film debut in 1947 with her role in When a Girl’s Beautiful. She appeared in such films as Payment on Demand (1951), Invasion U.S.A. (1952), 99 River Street (1953), and Arrivederci Roma (1957). In the 1950s, Castle moved into television and co-starred in the television western series Lawman. Her final onscreen role was a guest appearance in a 1966 episode of The Virginian.