Although explorers visited the region that would become Tucker County in the 1700s, the area around Thomas was not settled until the 1880s due to the rugged and mountainous terrain. The future of the town was secured on August 10, 1884, with the arrival of the West Virginia Central and Pittsburg Railway.
The arrival of the railroad allowed the coal and timber industries to prosper. Workers and their families flooded to Thomas from all over the world. When Thomas was incorporated as a town in 1892, the census counted 892 residents. By 1920, that number had grown to over 2,000. A wide variety of nationalities and ethnicities was represented, including Italian, Polish, Russian, Jewish and Austrian.
In contrast to other coal towns in West Virginia, the City of Thomas was not a company-built town. The buildings and homes seen today in the historic district were the investments of the residents living there. Some of the most unique features in Thomas are the balconies and overhanging porches on many buildings, which reflect the architecture and culture of Europe.
The Thomas Commercial Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 for its significance in the settlement and development of Tucker County, important role in commerce, including the coal and timber industries, and its association with European immigration. It is also architecturally significant for exhibiting a wide range of early 20th century architectural styles. The National Register nomination can be found online at www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/tucker/98001072.pdf
The following pages and the walking tour signs and brochure discuss Thomas's history in detail through its architecture.
Historic Thomas West Virginia Walking Tour
a Project of the Tucker County Historic Landmark Commission, West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, Aurora Research Associates, LLC and Digital Relativity, Inc.
Copyright © 2020 Historic Thomas West Virginia Walking Tour - All Rights Reserved.
Powered by GoDaddy Website Builder