HISTORIC RIFFE FARM
On Indian Creek

Agent Contact:
Richard Grist, 304.645.7674

The 546-acre Riffe Farm is one of Monroe County’s most beautiful and well-known farms. Scenic, cultural, and historic values of the Riffe Farm provide not only economic benefits, but also quality of life values.

OVERVIEW

The 546-acre Riffe Farm is one of Monroe County’s most beautiful and well-known farms. This exceptional farm, just minutes to Union, has deep, sweet soils that produce excellent cool season grasses or row crops.

Primary economic outputs include hay production, but wildlife values are also a major economic consideration for the farm.  Environmental values are extensive and provide many essential ecosystem services, such as clean water, wildlife, and recreation opportunities.

Scenic, cultural, and historic values of the Riffe Farm provide not only economic benefits, but also quality of life values.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • One of Monroe County’s most beautiful and well-known creekside farms
  • 546 deeded acres consists of about 125 acres fields and 420 acres mature woodlands
  • Dynamic and free flowing Indian Creek drifts through the farm for about 2 miles
  • Native trout, bass, redeye, and various sunfish
  • Rich in Native American artifacts including stone tools, toys, arrowheads & more.
  • Commercially valuable timber ready for harvest and immediate cash flow
  • All mineral rights will convey
  • Recent survey is on file
  • A Conservation Easement shelters the farm and forever protects the land
  • Vintage 1900’s tenant cottage overlooks the farm
  • 13,850’ of new farm fencing and 4,400’ of existing fencing in place
  • Quality infrastructure includes fully restored circa 1900’s barn and an expansive block machine/storage building
  • Aggressive grassland management increases carrying capacity and extends the grazing season
  • Rich and diverse resident wildlife population unrivaled in the region
  • Minutes to historic Union and an easy drive to Roanoke’s jet airport
  • Lewisburg Airport, just a 45 minute drive, provides jet service to Chicago and Dulles
  • 35 minutes to the world renowned 4-star Greenbrier Resort
  • 4 farm ponds provide fishing, swimming, ice skating and nature viewing
  • Dynamic forest with some old growth trees estimated to be 200-300 years old.
  • Patches of emerging forests and old fields intertwine with the farmland creating an exciting recreational property
  • Farm and forest roads wind through the property providing superior access
  • Wildlife program enhances habitat, increases diversity, promotes health of the resident wildlife
  • A rewarding permaculture lifestyle can be easily developed
  • Nearby Salt Sulphur Springs is famous for its three springs: sweet spring, salt sulphur spring, and iodine spring
  • Surrounded by large farms and timber tracts in a nice rural neighborhood
  • Superior access by state maintained paved roads – FedEx, UPS and USPS delivery
  • Cell phone coverage is excellent to spotty in most areas with 4G service
  • Darkest of skies with little light pollution for star-planet gazing & astrophotography
  • Sedges, rushes, ferns, songbirds, frogs, turtles, & crawdads populate the ponds and wetlands
  • Acres of overgrown fields are being cleaned up and a brought back into production
  • Located in peaceful Monroe County just 10 minutes to Union, the county seat
  • Timber species include beautiful oaks, black walnut, poplar, sycamore, maple and hickories
  • Fur bearing – deer, black bear, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, raccoon, fox, chipmunk, opossum
  • Winged wildlife – eagles, hawks, owls, ravens, turkeys and Neotropical songbirds
  • Hay & Pasture grasses coupled with the forest produce life-giving Oxygen and are a sequester of carbon dioxide
  • Spectacular long-range views approaching 40 miles
  • Perfect for recreational activities including shooting sports, ATV riding, horseback riding, hiking, camping, hunting and nature viewing
  • Low taxes, low population density
  • Scenic, cultural, and historic values of the Riffe Farm provide not only economic benefits, but also quality of life values.

LOCATION

Google Coordinates: 37.541225°(N), -80.595103°(W)
Address: 18744 Seneca Trail South, Union, WV 24983
Elevation Range: 1715 ft. to 2085 ft. +/-

MINERAL RESOURCES

All rights the owner has by title will convey with the property. A title search for mineral rights ownership has not been conducted. A mineral title search could be conducted by a title attorney at the same time when the surface title search is being conducted.

BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY

The property was surveyed in 3 sections from 1995 through 2008 and shown on 3 separate survey plats representing the whole property.  The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.

UTILITIES

Water: 2 drilled water wells
Sewer: private septic system serves the cottage
Electricity: onsite
Telephone: onsite
Internet:  Maybe possible through phone cable and satellite

ACCESS/FRONTAGE

The property has a little over a mile of frontage on US RT 219. A serious of farm and forest roads and trails provide access to nearly every area of the property.

ZONING

There is currently no county zoning in Monroe County. All prospective purchasers are encouraged to contact the Monroe County Health Department for answers regarding installation of septic systems and water wells. Further information on county zoning may be answered by contacting the Monroe County Commission.

PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY

The property is a combination of the residential grounds, fields, and forest.  A breakdown is as follows:

  • Home grounds contains about 1.5 acres.
  • 8 fields totaling about 95 acres.
  • 4 ponds ranging in size from .01 acre to 0.5 acre, totaling about 1.27 acres.
  • Open areas around the creek and ponds totaling about 25 acres.
  • Forestland totaling about 424 acres (about 169 acres lie on the north side of US 219 and about 255 acres lie on the south side of US 219).

The property is covered by a Conservation Easement designed to protect and preserve the farmland qualities of the property.  The Conservation Easement is recorded in DB 286 Pg. 229.

(This summary is an estimation of current property use as determined from aerial photography.  It is made subject to the estimation of property boundaries and any errors in the interpretation of land use type from the aerial photography utilized.)

DEED and TAX INFORMATION

Deed Information: Deed DB 256 Pg. 653; Conservation Easement DB 286 Pg. 229
Monroe County, West Virginia

Acreage: 546.429 acres +/- by surveys for the owner

Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Monroe County (32), West Virginia
Springfield District (5)
Tax Map 16 Parcels 53 & 54; Tax Map 17 Parcels 6 & 7; Tax Map 21 Parcel 13; Tax Map 22 Parcels 1 & 2

2020 Real Estate Taxes: $1,313.50

AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES

The Riffe Farm is one of the premier conservation farms in the state of West Virginia. The 522 deeded acres consist of about 125 acres of pasture and cropland. The balance of the farm contains mature woodland and dedicated riparian zones along the nearly 2 miles of Indian Creek.

There are nearly 4 miles high tensile electric fence. Board fencing is used in residential areas. There are 4 farm ponds in place.

The ongoing grassland management program is designed to increase carrying capacity and extend the grazing season.

The well-maintained grasslands also conserve water and filter out manure and nutrients, keeping them from entering nearby water bodies, protecting water quality, human health, and animal health.

Livestock is fenced out along the length of Indian Creek to create a permanent riparian zone.

Several acres of overgrown fields are being cleaned up and a brought back into agricultural production

FARM BUILDINGS AND IMPROVEMENTS

  • Vintage 1900’s 2 story tenant cottage
  • 13,850’ of new high tensile electric farm fencing and 4,400’ of existing fencing
  • Fully restored circa 1900’s barn
  • Expansive block building for machine storage-maintenance
  • There are 4 farm ponds in place
  • 2 drilled water wells

THE FOREVER GIFT – A CONSERVATION EASEMENT

Mindful of the public benefit flowing from the conservation values of their land and the threats posed to those values in a climate of increasing development pressure, the sellers granted to the Monroe County Farmland Protection Board, a non-profit, an open space easement restricting the use and development of their land in perpetuity. The intent of the perpetual easement is to forever preserve the existing rural landscape and to preserve the scenic environment and the watershed.

The Riffe Farm’s conservation easement allows the owners to permanently protect their land from future, more intensive uses, while still maintaining ownership. The owner may continue to utilize the property as before the easement except that certain rights in ownership are no longer available, the principal of which is the right to subdivide the property. The easement allows traditional uses of the property such as farming, forestry, hunting, hiking, fishing, and limited single-family home construction. Other permitted uses include agriculture, viticulture, aquaculture. silviculture, horticulture, and equine activities, temporary or seasonal outdoor activities.

The terms of the Conservation Easement can be furnished upon request.

RECREATION AT THE RIFFE FARM

The Historic Riffe Farm offers unparalleled recreational opportunities.  Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by the proximity to the Greenbrier River, New River, and Bluestone Lake.

Nature viewing is first in line of recreational activities. Attentive wildlife management has been geared not to just game animals. Equal consideration has been extended to increasing the numbers and diversity of species including neo-tropical songbirds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, rabbits, chipmunks, dragonflies, owls and hawks.

Stargazing-Planet Observation
Complete darkness can be still be found on areas of the property, thereby affording the opportunity to view the night sky in all its brilliant wonder.

Water-sports enthusiasts will find the nearby New River ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing.

Shooting-sports devotees find all the land and privacy needed to enjoy:

  • Paintball-Airsoft-Laser Tag-Archery tag
  • Shotgun sport shooting including Skeet, Trap, Double Trap and Sporting Clays
  • Rifle & Handgun shooting: bullseye, silhouette, western, bench rest, long-range, fast draw
  • Archery and Crossbow competition shooting
  • Plain ole’ plinking: Grandpa’s old 22 single shot rifle and a few tin cans make a fun day

All Terrain Motorsports
Riffe Farm has internal roads and several forest trails that are perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV or UTV. These exciting machines handle the wide variety of the forest’s terrain.

Rock Crawling & Rock Bouncing
Several areas of the property afford an topographic opportunity for the Extreme Off Road adventurist to enjoy the increasingly popular Motorsport of Rock Crawling and Rock Bouncing.

Dirt bikes can also be a lot of fun and they come in all sizes and horsepower to fit anyone who enjoys being on two wheels.

Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding and Hiking
The gently laying land may be used for conventional and mountain biking, hiking or horseback riding.

Hunting is a first-class experience.  White tail deer, black bear, red/gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, grouse, duck, squirrel, raccoon, fox and rabbit make up the resident wildlife population. It is hard to find a property that has a better mix of wildlife.

FOREST/TIMBER RESOURCES

The abundant timber resource, consisting of about 424 acres, is well positioned for current timber income as well as value appreciation over the coming decades. With an attractive species mix, adequate stocking levels, and favorable diameter class distribution, the timber amenity represents a strong component of value to the investor.

The Riffe Farm’s forest resource is composed of quality Appalachian hardwoods and Eastern Red Cedar. This timber resource can provide a great deal of flexibility to the next ownership in terms of potential harvest revenue and could be managed to provide cash flow opportunities to offset holding cost and long-term asset appreciation. Capital Timber Value of the timber and pulpwood has not been determined at this time but is considered substantial.

The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has led to a resource dominated by hardwood species. Overall, the species composition is highly desirable and favors Appalachian hardwood types, consisting primarily of Black Walnut, Sugar Maple, Poplar/Basswood, Red Oak Group, White Oak/Chestnut Oak, Soft Maple, Hickory, and a host of associated species (ash, cedar, birch, sourwood, black gum, beech).

Forest-wide, most stands are fully stocked, providing the next ownership with a great deal of flexibility in shaping their own silvicultural legacy. Stem quality forest-wide can be considered excellent.

The property’s timber component has been well managed over the years and consists of stands of differing age classes. The predominant timber stand contains 30-140-year-old stems ranging in size of 10”-40” dbh.

Diameters are well represented across the commercial spectrum with a notable mature size class, as well as abundant pole size timber and growing stock. Several “Heritage Trees” are scattered throughout the forest and old field edges. These ancient trees, some 200-300 years old, have withstood the test of time, weathering ice, wind, lightning strikes and fire.

The forest is healthy and there are no signs of pest infestations of Gypsy Moth. The Emerald Ash Borer, which has inundated the entire Northeast US, is present and the Ash component will significantly decline over the next decade. The Eastern Hemlock species is under siege by the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and the hemlock will significantly decline over the coming decade. There have been no forest fires in recent memory.

The forest floor is home to several types of mushrooms, medicinal plants, wild ginseng, ferns and cool green mosses.

There are several fruit trees scattered about, some of which were part of the early homestead. Crops of black walnuts and hickory nuts are produced each year from the abundant black walnut and hickory trees scattered about.

Honeybees would do well here, and it would be possible to produce maple syrup from the sugar and red maple trees growing on the property.

WATER

The Historic Riffe Farm is richly blessed with an abundance of water. Free flowing Indian Creek, a fantastic blue line stream, runs through the property for about 1.8 miles. Several ephemeral and intermittent streams feed to Indian Creek during rain events and snow melt.

There are two drilled water wells on site.

INDIAN CREEK

NATIVE AMERICAN TRAIL – Wonderfully, Indian Creek flows through the Riffe Farm for nearly two miles. This graceful blue-line stream flows year-round. Indian Creek takes its name for a Native American trail that crossed the Appalachians from the valley of the Ohio River to that of the Great Valley of Virginia. “It was the interstate of the Indian world”.

30 MILE JOURNEY Indian Creek is a tributary of the New River and heads up some 4 miles north of the Riffe Farm. It is one of Monroe County’s main drainage basins. Indian Creek begins its journey near Salt Sulphur Springs and drains tens of thousands of acres on its winding 30-mile long trip through pastoral farms, steep mountain canyons, wide bottomland forests, wetlands and marshes before ending its trip close to Crumps Bottom, where it enters New River. From there, the New River flows to the Kanawha, onto the Ohio, then the Mississippi and terminating in the Gulf of Mexico. It is said that the waters of Indian Creek will arrive in the Gulf of Mexico 3 to 4 days after entering the New River.

CREEKSIDE WILDLIFE – There are many animals that live year round and at other times in the water and around the edges of Indian Creek, including beavers, otters, minks, raccoons, opossums, blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, king fishers, minnows, native fish, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrats, bull frogs, eagles, owls, hawks and redwing blackbirds.

The miles of “edge effect” benefit all the resident wildlife. In addition to those listed above, white tail deer, black bear, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, fox, chipmunk, and many species of songbirds make up the resident wildlife population along the creekside.

Of equal importance, there is the insect and microscopic world including butterflies, dragonflies, water skaters, water beetles, damselflies, hellgrammites, tadpoles and various insect larve.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources periodically stocks the creek with trout in the Summers County section below the Riffe Farm.

INDIAN CREEK COVERED BRIDGE

One of the most photographed in the state, this Monroe County span is located just across the highway from the Riffe Farm.  Owned by the county historical society and open to pedestrians, it was part of the White and Salt Sulphur Springs Turnpike.  A Long truss built in 1903 by Ray and Oscar Weikel (ages 16 and 18 years old) and E.P. and A.P. Smith, it is more than 11.5 feet wide and 49.25 feet long.  There are six covered bridges in West Virginia with this truss engineering — Philippi, Hokes Mill, Sarvis Fork, Statts Mill, Center Point and Indian Creek.  The completed bridge cost Monroe County only $400 and was used continuously for about 30 years.

The interior of the Indian Creek Bridge contains notes and plaques from previous visitors.  Now only pedestrians use the bridge, which also houses antique vehicles from the 1900s, adding to the history of this unique structure.

In spring of 2000, the bridge was rehabilitated by Hoke Brothers Construction, Inc. of Union, WV in 2002 at a cost of $334,446.  Renovations included timber roof trusses, a new glue-laminated timber deck, new wooden exterior siding and a new roof of split shakes.

Indian Creek Bridge is a tribute to the ingenuity and hard work of two young builders who had a vision of what transportation could be in Monroe County. ​

​NEARBY HISTORIC GREENBRIER COUNTY

Lewisburg, which is the Greenbrier County seat, was voted the Coolest Small Town in America, combining the warmth of a close community with the sophistication of more urban locations. The thriving downtown historic district offers year-round live productions presented at the State Professional Theatre of WV, Carnegie Hall, distinctive dining venues, antique shops, award-winning galleries/boutiques, a year-round farmer’s markets. Greenbrier Valley Medical Center is a modern hospital and all attendant medical facilities, along with the many big box stores.

Lewisburg is also home to the modern Robert. C Byrd Medical Clinic (300 employees), the WV Osteopathic Medical School (600 students) and the New River Community and Technical College. The area is a strong economic generator with a solid workforce employed in county/state government, tourism, hospitality, medical, education, retail, construction, wood products, mining and agriculture.

The world-renowned Greenbrier Resort, with 800 rooms and 1600 employees, is located in the sleepy little town of White Sulphur Springs. The 4-Star resort has a subterranean casino.   Several other area golf courses are available in the area – including Oakhurst Links, America’s first golf course, where guests play using old style hickory-handled clubs and ground-burrowing golf balls.

A picturesque train ride from White Sulphur Springs connects the area to DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and many other locations. By car, DC is 4 hours away and Charlotte is only 4.

Within a two-hour’s drive are located some of the finest recreational facilities in West Virginia. Winterplace Ski Resort, whitewater rafting / fishing on the New River and Gauley River, 2000 acre Bluestone Lake, Pipestem State Park and Resort and the 80,000 acre New River National Gorge National Park. Five other area state parks and state forests offer unlimited hiking, horseback riding, ATV riding and rock climbing opportunities. Snowshoe Ski Resort is 120 minute drive through some of the most scenic country on the East Coast. The new 12,000 acre Boy Scout High Adventure Camp and home to the US and World Jamboree is a 90 minute drive.

FOREST FARMING

The most common crops are medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Other crops that can be produced include shade-loving native ornamentals, moss, fruit, nuts, other food crops, and decorative materials for crafts. These crops are often referred to as special forest products.

Here are some specific examples of crops in each category that are currently being cultivated:

  • Medicinal herbs: Ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, bloodroot, passionflower, and mayapple
  • Mushrooms: Shiitake and oyster mushrooms
  • Native ornamentals: Rhododendrons and dogwood
  • Moss: Log or sheet moss
  • Fruit: Pawpaws, currants, elderberries, and lowbush blueberries
  • Nuts: Black walnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, and beechnuts
  • Other food crops: Ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, and honey
  • Plants used for decorative purposes, dyes, and crafts: Galax, princess pine, white oak, pussy willow branches in the spring, holly, bittersweet, and bloodroot and ground pine (Lycopodium)

WILDLIFE

Years of progressive wildlife management practices have created the ideal wildlife preserve. Early on, management goals promoted overall wildlife health, facilitated the harvest of game, developed wildlife viewing areas, increased carrying capacity, and increased species diversity.

Indian Creek, the Greenbrier River and New River are major contributors to the local ecosystem richness and diversity for both plants and animals. The 2 farm ponds and the surrounding aquatic plant life create a water supported community with a wide variety of wildlife. Some of the margins of the pond are fringed by wetlands, and these wetlands support the aquatic food web, provide shelter for wildlife, and stabilize the shore of the pond and banks downstream. The plant life associated with the wetland includes rushes, sedges, cattails, duckweed and algae.

There are many animals that live year round and at other times in the water and around the edges of the ponds and Indian Creek including beavers, otters, minks, raccoons, opossums, blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, minnows, native fish, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrats, bull frogs, eagles, hawks and redwing blackbirds.

There is the insect and microscopic world including butterflies, dragonflies, pond skaters, water beetles, damselflies, tadpoles and various insect larvae.

The diverse tree species, coupled with the abundant water supply from the ponds and creeks, creates the perfect wildlife habitat. The miles of “edge effect” created between farm fields, creeks, hollows, ridges, and rock outcrops benefit all the resident wildlife. Bald eagles, white tail deer, black bear, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, raccoon, fox and many species of songbirds, owls and raptors make up the resident wildlife population.

The hardwood forest provides the essential nutrient source and produces tons of hard mast including acorns, hickory nuts, beech nuts and black walnuts. Soft mast includes stag horn sumac, black cherry, tulip poplar seeds, maple seeds, autumn olive berries and blackberries.

THE DYNAMIC WETLAND

In earlier times, before the environmental and societal value of wetlands was discovered, the Riffe Farm’s dynamic wetland was commonly called a “swamp”. This enchanting area is biologically rich and wildlife diverse, being akin to the world’s largest swamps found in the Florida Everglades and the Amazon River Basin. This small, but mighty wetland works to provide “ecosystem services”—non-monetary benefits like clean water, clean air, carbon sequestration, hunting, and yes—recreation for everyone young and old.

The wetlands are the best of both worlds. A visit begins with hiking to the upper side of the pond and watch for deer, squirrels, raccoon, and turkey while exploring for butterflies, turtles, frogs, crawdads, songbirds, salamanders, newts, and a host of other aquatic invertebrates, migratory birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Wetlands are a very productive part of our environment; more productive of vegetation, in fact, than some agricultural soils. This vegetation serves important purposes.  It shelters and feeds many wildlife species that cannot survive elsewhere. Almost 35 percent of all rare and endangered species depend, in some way, on wetlands. More common wetland species provide enjoyment to many by serving educational, research and recreational needs. Waterfowl and many furbearers such as beaver, mink and muskrat provide both consumptive and no consumptive recreation and are dependent on wetlands. Many fringe wetlands provide the food that young fish need to survive. By slowing the flow of water, wetlands help keep banks from eroding and they trap and settle suspended silt before it smothers fish eggs and covers the insects and other animals that fish eat.

Wetlands add visual diversity to everyone’s lives. The “Butterfly Hollow” trail that skirts and crosses the wetlands offers an opportunity to see many different plant and wildlife species seen nowhere else on the property. The wetlands habitat walk is a relaxing and rewarding experience.

SELF-SUSTAINING LIFE OFF THE GRID

Just like 200 years ago, when the first mountaineers settled the area, the property would be self-sustaining in times of necessity – even without electricity.

  • Fresh water for drinking and cooking would come from springs and drilled water wells (hand drawing water from the wells using a cylinder well bucket).
  • The ponds and forest would provide fresh food (fish, deer, and turkey).
  • The agricultural land’s flat to rolling topography would be used to raise livestock of all kinds (chickens, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits etc.) and could be farmed with horse drawn equipment. The land would support vegetable gardens, berry patches, fruit orchards, and row crops of corn, oats and barley.
  • Beehives would provide honey and beeswax for candles.
  • The forest would provide firewood for heating and cooking, lumber for building, basket splints, maple syrup and pounds of nuts (walnuts, beechnuts and hickory nuts).

GEOLOGY

Riffe Farm is nestled between the folded Ridge and Valley Province to the east and the younger Allegheny Plateau to the west.  The Greenbrier River flows 162 miles southwest and empties into the world’s third oldest river, the New River.

The area exhibits a karst topography due to the underlying Greenbrier Limestone. Karst is characterized by numerous caves, sinkholes, fissures, and underground streams. This interesting topography forms in regions of plentiful rainfall where bedrock consists of carbonate-rich rock, such as limestone, gypsum, or dolomite, that is easily dissolved. Mildly acidic rainwater slowly dissolves the soft limestone over millions of years creating geological fascinations like Lost World Caverns and Organ Cave, carved from the Greenbrier Limestone.

The farm has many interesting “riches from the earth” in the form of limestone, agates, fossils, geodes, and curious rock outcrops.

The rich farmland is made fertile by the Greenbrier Limestones, known locally as the “Big Lime”. These limestones were formed from shallow seas some 350 million years ago during the Mississippian geological period. The quarrying of limestone for dimension stone, fill-rock, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and agricultural lime is an important industry in the area.

Just 30 miles north of the farm you can take a trip through time riding on I-64 from Dawson to the WV/VA boundary showcasing outcrops from the younger Mississippian formations to the older Devonian mountains.

The rich coal fields lying 40 miles to the northwest were formed about 300 million years ago during the Pennsylvanian and Permian periods when the West Virginia area was south of the equator and moving north. Coal, a combustible sedimentary rock, formed when our area was covered with huge, tropical, swampy forests where plants – giant ferns, reeds and mosses – grew. When the plants died they piled up in swamps. Over time, heat and pressure transformed the buried materials into peat and into various forms of coal. These prehistoric coalfields continue to provide energy and industry to residents of West Virginia, the nation, and the world.

The Droop Sandstone, a very hard, quartz-rich rock originally deposited as sand beaches along an ancient shoreline, is especially prominent in the area. Numerous sheer rock cliff formations are created by the erosion-resistant Droop Sandstone. Locally, the Muddy Creek Mountain quarry produces decorative sandstone from the Droop that is known worldwide for its beauty and durability.

SALT SULPHUR SPRINGS

Salt Sulphur Springs is located just 2 miles north of the property and is a popular wedding venue and is the scene of select community advents.

The area is well known for the healing waters of the numerous “Sulphur Springs”. During the 1800’s and early 1900’s, several “Sulphur Springs Resorts” flourished in the area. Most notably and still in existence are White Sulphur Springs, Warm Springs and, Hot Springs. Others included, Sweet Springs, Blue Sulphur Springs, Red Sulphur Springs, Green Sulphur Springs, Pence Springs and, Sweet Chalybeate Springs.

During the height of wealthy families’ summer treks to the Virginia springs resorts—from roughly 1800 until the Civil War—one popular circuit encompassed “the fountains most strongly impregnated with minerals, heat, fashion, and fame,” according to one chronicler. For those arriving from eastern Virginia and points northeast, the circuit started at Warm Springs northeast of Lewisburg, in the Allegheny Mountains. From there, it ran south and west to the Hot, the White Sulphur, the Sweet, the Salt Sulphur, and the Red Sulphur, then back in the opposite direction.

The “Old Salt” was famed for its three springs: sweet, salt sulphur, and iodine, curative especially for “chronic diseases of the brain” such as headaches.

The main hotel building dates to about 1820. Salt Sulphur Springs Historic District holds one of the largest groupings of pre-Civil War native stone buildings in West Virginia

RED SULPHUR SPRINGS

Red Sulphur Springs, located just a few miles south of the Riffe Farm, was once was the site of another popular mineral spring resort from the 1820s until World War I. The spring water emerges from the ground at 54 degrees F. and leaves a purplish-red sulfurous deposit which was used to treat skin conditions. The water was believed to be useful in the treatment of tuberculosis. Modern analysis shows the water to be high in bicarbonate, sulfate, and calcium.   Around 1920, the buildings were dismantled, and the resort ceased operation.

ARCHEOLOGY

The long stretches of bottomland along Indian Creek well known to be rich in Native American artifacts.

Native American Indians who lived in the River Valleys of the Ohio, Kanawha, Greenbrier and Roanoke, as well as northern Georgia, upper SC and Tennessee where part of the Archaic Period culture. This culture lasted from about 10,000 to 3,000 BP (before present day).

Native American artifact collectors search for, and have found, arrowheads, spear points, tomahawks, tools and toys (marbles). Most of the artifacts would be from the Archaic period and  can be readily found on any flat areas on the creek that would be one foot higher than the creek’s bank.

The American Native Indians who lived in what is now West Virginia led a Stone Age lifestyle – they only had stone tools and weapons, had never seen a horse and had no knowledge of the wheel.

There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in West Virginia. The names of the tribes included the Cherokee, Iroquois, Manahoac, Meherrin, Monacan, Nottaway, Occaneechi, Saponi and Shawnee.

Other famous Tribes of Eastern Woodlands: Miami, Lenape, Iroquois, Massachusett,  Powhatan, Abenaki, Shawnee and Pequot, Fox, Sauk, Wampanoag, Delaware, Huron (Wyandot), Mohawk, Mohican and Menominee

The way of life and history of West Virginia Indians was dictated by the natural raw materials available to them.

  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunter-gatherers, farmers, fishers, trappers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Wigwams (aka Birchbark houses)
  • Crops: Corn (maize), pumpkin, squash, beans and tobacco
  • Trees: Poplars, birches, elms, maples, oaks, pines, fir trees and spruce trees.
  • Transport: Birchbark canoes
  • Clothing: Little clothing in the summer, animal skins (Buckskin) in winter
  • Languages: Iroquoian and Algonquian

History Timeline of the Native Indians of West Virginia

10,000 BC: Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison.

7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools

1000 AD: Woodland Period – homes were established along rivers and trade exchange systems and burial systems were established

1500’s AD: First contact with Europeans – The history and the way of life of West Virginia Indians was profoundly affected by newcomers to the area. The indigenous people had occupied the land thousands of years before the first European explorers arrived. The Europeans brought with them new ideas, customs, religions, weapons, transport (the horse and the wheel), livestock (cattle and sheep) and disease which profoundly affected the history of the Native Indians.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Monroe County School District

Public Elementary School:
Mountain View Elementary School

Public Middle School:
Mountain View Middle School

Public High School:
James Monroe High School

“Sleepy valley in Indian Creek grows as a destination”
By David Sibray
Publisher at West Virginia Explorer Magazine

Though it might sound cliché, time really does stand still in the Indian Creek valley. A winery has opened. Farmers are experimenting with new crops. A small retirement community has been established where the old school once stood. But for the most part, little has changed, and most residents like it that way. Ironically, such pleasant security is what’s making the area so attractive.

“One of the things we like about living here is that nothing’s happening,” says Fred Zeigler, a retired Chicago, Ill., geologist who purchased what’s known as Cook’s Old Mill. A fan of old gristmills, Zeigler and his wife pulled up stakes to move to the idyllic valley in the early 2000s.

“I think from an agricultural point of view there’s been a little change. When we arrived a few years ago, farmers were mostly raising beef and dairy cows, and recently there’s been a lot of movement toward vegetables and specialty crops.”

April Ernst, who opened Old World Libations, a farm winery and meadery, three years ago, says she and her husband, Scott, searched throughout the eastern U.S. before falling in love with the valley and its scenery.

“Everywhere you go is just gorgeous,” Ernst said, speaking of West Virginia as well as the valley. “It’s amazing to live in such a beautiful place.”

Craig Mohler, the editor of The Monroe Watchman, agrees, stressing the value that residents of the valley, and surrounding Monroe County, place on the land, which is renowned for its natural beauty and healing springs.

“Monroe County still doesn’t have stoplights or Walmarts or fast food,” Mohler says.

“People here are strongly attached to place, perhaps even more than in other parts of West Virginia, and it’s easy to see why—the sparse population, the mixture of pasture and woodlands, and farms that have been in use for hundreds of years.”

The valley enjoys just the right amount of isolation—a half-hour’s drive south of Interstate 64 at Lewisburg and east of Interstate 79 at Princeton—though in the remote past it was a busier place.

Mohler and Zeigler both point out that Indian Creek takes its name for a Native American trail that crossed the Appalachians from the valley of the Ohio River to that of the Great Valley of Virginia.

“It was the interstate of the Indian world, if you will,” Mohler said.

After the arrival of European settlers, the valley and surrounding countryside became famous for its mineral springs, many of which were developed into resorts that attracted wealthy southerners before the Civil War.

Even today many visitors believe the spring waters possess curative properties, though certainly, the beauty of the landscape is cure enough.

Red Sulphur Springs, near the mouth of the creek, was formerly a bustling agricultural center as well as a resort that attracted guests through the mid- and late 1800s, and Zeigler is working to find remnants of the old spring house, only the foundations of which may now exist.

Salt Sulphur Springs, near the head of the creek, was likewise a resort, though many of its old stone buildings and spring houses remain marvels to travelers who find themselves touring the valley south of the Monroe County seat at Union.

Both landmarks were part of a circuit of mineral-spring resorts, perhaps the most famous of which was the Old White at nearby White Sulphur Springs, now the home of The Greenbrier, still a thriving, world-class retreat.

The region is also known for its caverns, through which the headwaters of the creek pass, and for its covered bridges, remnants of a time long passed.

Given the propensity of new and existing residents to preserve the natural and cultural beauty of the region, and as a result of the valley’s distance from developed urban areas at Lewisburg and Princeton, it’s likely the region will remain among the most desirable in the state for years to come.

David Sibray
Publisher at West Virginia Explorer Magazine

REGIONAL INFORMATION