THE HISTORIC DUNLAP FARM ON INDIAN CREEK
|Address:||904 Indian Mills Road, Ballard, WV 24918|
Randy S. "Riverbend" Burdette, 304-667-2897
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Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk Google Earth map (Foxfire)
Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk topographic map (Foxfire)
Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk location map 1 (Foxfire)
Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk location map 2 (Foxfire)
Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk recreation map (Foxfire)
Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk general location map 1 (Foxfire)
Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk general location map 2 (Foxfire)
Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk area map (Foxfire)
Historic Dunlap Farm on Indian Crk state map (Foxfire)
The Historic Dunlap Farm located on Indian Creek, a landmark of Monroe County and of the historic Red Sulphur Springs Valley is still standing. This incredible antebellum brick home is the original Dunlap farm on the waters of beautiful Indian Creek. This truly is an old southern type of family home. The property offers diversity for many uses, farming, hunting, or living off the grid. The property includes the old Dunlap cemetery that was started in the early 1800s. Red Sulphur Springs was one of the early springs of Virginia prior to the civil war and continued in operation until the early 1900s. The last owner of the mineral spring itself was former United States vice president Levi Morton. The Red Sulphur Springs Valley is one of the most picturesque in all of West Virginia.
- Wild and Wonderful Monroe Antebellum brick 2 story home
- One of the oldest homes in the
- Red Sulphur Springs Valley
- Frontage on wonderful Indian Creek
- Outstanding location in beautiful farm country
- 77 acres +/-
- Wild and Wonderful Monroe County
- Mineral rights convey
- Beautiful pastoral views
- Located in low traffic farming community
- Ideal for horses
- Stately porch columns
- Mature trees
- 2-3 Bedrooms
- Large dining room
- Built-in kitchen pantry cupboards
- Beautiful vintage staircase
- Wonderful, front covered porch
- Covered back entry porch
- Metal roof
- Hand-hewn log outbuilding skeleton still standing
- Small plank side outbuilding still standing
- Excellent hunting
- Low property taxes
- Some perimeter fencing board with wire
- Amish Community nearby
- State maintained access roads
- 10 minutes to the medical clinic
- Historic Cook’s Mill nearby
- Minutes to Peterstown, historic Union, and Hinton
- Easy drive to Roanoke’s jet airport
- Pence Springs Flea Market 15-minute drive
- Superior access by state maintained paved roads – FedEx, UPS, and USPS delivery
- Cell phone coverage is excellent in most areas with 4G service
- Fur-bearing – deer, black bear, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, raccoon, fox, chipmunk, opossum
- Winged wildlife – eagles, hawks, owls, ravens, turkeys, and Neotropical songbirds
- Excellent recreational area for kids and adults
THE ANTEBELLUM HOME
The Dunlap Manse is believed to have been constructed circa. 1830-1840 by Alexander Dunlap. According to research in the records of the Monroe County Courthouse, James A. Dunlap acquired various tracts on Indian Creek in 1838, (140 acres, 285 acres, 250 acres) referenced in deed book L at page 690. It seems that the farm came out of Alexander Dunlap’s holdings. He began acquiring property on Indian Creek in 1798 (one year before the official formation of Monroe County) (100 acres on Indian Creek, deed book D page 57) and continued with a 20-acre tract and a 186-acre tract in 1821 (deed book G page 315) and again in 1830 with a 440-acre tract on Indian Creek (deed book J page 493), all per the clerk’s records. Fortunately, Alexander Dunlap’s will of January 19, 1853, was probated in Monroe County in Will Book 5, page 523. It recites his wife Mary A. Dunlap; that he had three sons; Robert, William, and Henry, and one daughter, Virginia. He dictates the property in Red Sulphur Springs “shall remain as of present”. He also gives Robert “the farm on which I live when he comes of age”. He also authorizes his executors to sell “Red Sulphur Springs” for $25,000.00 within 5 to 7 years. His executors posted a $50,000.00 bond.
The Dunlap Manse has remained in large part as the 1800s era. The summer kitchen is now only a memory, while the main structure remains. The two-story metal roof manse was constructed of baked red clay bricks (likely from the property) with typical wooden shutters adorning the exterior. The downstairs rooms have six lite over nine-light windows, and the upstairs has six lite over six lite windows. The front entrance door is a jointed graduated series of six raised panels with three vertical pane side panels with a horizontal header seven pane overhead lites. The door still retains in original black iron with brass knob “box lock”. The kitchen and entry foyer ingress and egress doors are also jointed graduated series of six raised panels. The home currently has three fireplaces that would have been used for heating and light. Flooring is wide board hard pine and poplar throughout the home. The semi-formal staircase leads upstairs from the front entrance foyer to a landing with six over six lite windows to the second course of stairs to the two bedrooms. The staircase hand railing is a hardwood rounded unit with a pointed finial cap at the beginning. A foyer staircase closet offers storage beneath the staircase. The staircase has scalloped Gothic design decorative side moldings under the simple straight balusters. The interior moldings are simple but decorative for the period. The dining room has built-in pine and poplar cupboards on each side of the fireplace. Each side cupboard has two tall doors over shorter bottom doors. The doors have chamfered interior panels in the mortise and tenon frames. Period brass bullet hardware to secure the cupboard doors is still functional.
The wooden fireplace mantles are simple but elegant country functional adornments. The kitchen has built-in cupboards to match the dining room, however, these cupboards have been stripped of the exterior paint revealing the beautiful pine and poplar wood. The kitchen has a side door that leads to a covered side porch.
The living room is semi-formal with a center fireplace with a period mantle. The room has chair rail molding around the lower waist section. The front side of the room has a set of double six over nine lite windows with a single six over nine windows on the south side.
Upstairs features a foyer with an attic access door and a bedroom to each side of the foyer. The foyer has six over six lite windows on the front side of the home. The bedroom to the left has a center fireplace with wooden mantle and matching building wardrobes. The wardrobe doors and front still have the original feathered faux mahogany grain painting to imitate the very expense and scarce solid mahogany hardwood.
The attic is accessed via the upstairs foyer from a mortised and paneled construction door complete with cast iron drop-latch hardware. The attic is easily accessible offering some basic storage, or a hiding place in case of a visit from the northern army.
The architect, brick mason, cabinetmakers, and carpenters of the manse remain unknown currently. It is highly likely that they were local to the Red Sulphur Springs Valley. Materials from the manse such as hardware could have been available from merchants in Union, Lewisburg, and Giles County Virginia.
Room Name Level Length Width
Foyer Main 17.2 x 5 offset 4.8 x 3.5
Living Room Main 15.8 x 17.7
Dining Room Main 14.5 x 17.7
Kitchen Main 19.5 x 18.3
Covered side porch Main 21 x 7.6
Foyer Upper 9.2 x 8.2
Master Bedroom Upper 14.8 x 17.5
Bedroom 2 Upper 15.9 x 17.6
Covered front porch Main 24 x 10
BRIEF HISTORY OF RED SULPHUR SPRINGS, MONROE COUNTY
Red Sulphur Springs, located on State Route 12 in southern Monroe County, was the site of a 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. The history of Red Sulphur Springs is uncertain before 1800, but it is thought that Indians made use of the spring. The site was acquired around 1800 by Nicholas Harvey. His sons were the first to develop the property in the 1820s by constructing cabins for the use of visitors. In 1833, the property was purchased by Dr. William Burke who formed a corporation and embarked on an ambitious building campaign. A spring pavilion and several buildings for the accommodation and entertainment of 300 guests were constructed. The golden age of the Red Sulphur resort came before 1861. During the Civil War soldiers from both armies occupied the buildings. Following the war, the resort continued operation, and in the 1890s it was purchased by Levi Morton, U.S. vice-president under Benjamin Harrison. Morton upgraded the property and operated the resort successfully until around 1915 when he offered it to the state of West Virginia for use as a tuberculosis sanatorium. He sold the property after his offer was rejected by the state. Around 1920, the buildings were dismantled and the resort ceased operation.
Google Coordinates: 37.523430°(N), -80.780280°(W)
Address: 904 Indian Mills Road, Ballard, WV 24918
Elevation Range: 1533 ft. to 1898 ft. +/-
FOREST/TIMBER AND AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES
The Historic Dunlap Farm consists of approx. 23 acres of pasture, 5 acres tillable cropland, 47 acres woodland, and approx. 2 acres with the farmhouse and outbuildings. The property includes the Dunlap Cemetery which dates to the early 1800s. According to tax maps the property includes approximately 1300 feet of frontage on Indian Creek.
Indian Creek, The Bluestone Lake/New River, are major contributors to the local ecosystem richness and diversity for both plants and animals. Indian Creek and the surrounding aquatic plant life create a water-supported community with a wide variety of wildlife. Indian Creek supports the aquatic food web, provides shelter for wildlife. The plant life associated with the creek 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 creek including raccoons, opossums, blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, minnows, native fish, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrats, bullfrogs, 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 Indian Creek and wet weather branches, create the perfect wildlife habitat. The “edge effect” created between farm fields, hollows, ridges, benefits all the resident wildlife. Bald eagles, red tail hawks, whitetail 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 hard mast including acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts, and black walnuts. Soft mast includes stag horn sumac, black cherry, tulip poplar seeds, maple seeds, autumn olive berries, and blackberries.
RECREATION AT THE HISTORIC DUNLAP FARM
The Historic Dunlap Farm offers matchless recreational opportunities. The farm offers numerous soft recreational activities.
Nature viewing is first in a line with 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.
Near-complete darkness can 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 Indian Creek nearby Greenbrier and New Rivers, and Bluestone Lake is ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and windsurfing.
Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, and Hiking
The gently laying land may be used for conventional and mountain biking, hiking, or horseback riding.
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
The Historic Dunlap Farm could be developed for farm and forest trails that are perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV or UTV. These exciting machines handle a wide variety of terrain.
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.
Hunting is a first-class experience. Whitetail 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.
The farm has frontage on Indian Creek. A wet weather branch that is active during snowmelt and rain runoff is near the house. Two pond beds remain that could be cleaned and put back into operation.
The Historic Dunlap Farm includes approximately 1300 feet of frontage on the waters of Indian Creek. Indian Creek is a gentle stream with some fairly deep holes to be found. The creek is an excellent recreational spot for folks of all ages. Swimming, canoeing, and fishing are well-enjoyed activities. Species of fish range from trout to bass, bluegill, and catfish to name a few.
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”.
Indian Creek is a tributary of the New River. 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 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.
West Virginia is one of the states in the US that has two ownership titles, those being SURFACE RIGHTS and MINERAL RIGHTS. A title search for mineral rights ownership has not been conducted. All rights the owner has will convey with the property. 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 July 12, 1967, by E. S. Worley, Surveyor. A metes and bounds description was prepared from that survey for use in the deed that created the farm from a larger tract of land. Some of the boundaries are evidenced by fencing. A portion of the southwestern boundary is with Indian Creek while another portion of the southwestern boundary is with Indian Mills Road Rt. 27. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.
Water: An old hand-dug well with a cast iron pump
Sewer: None, a septic system could be installed
Telephone: Frontier could be available
Internet: Cellular hotspot
Cellphone Coverage: Good (tower in distance sight)
The property has frontage on Indian Mills Road Rt. 27. The driveway to the home connects to the public road system within that frontage.
There is currently no county zoning in Monroe County. All prospective purchasers are encouraged to contact the Monroe County Health Department for answers regarding the installation of septic systems and water wells. Further information on county zoning may be answered by contacting the Monroe County Commission.
DEED AND TAX INFORMATION
Deed Information: DB 175 Pg. 567
Monroe County, West Virginia
Acreage: 77.1 acres +/-
Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Monroe County (32), West Virginia
Red Sulphur District (3)
Tax Map 3 Parcel 14.1; Class 2
2021 Real Estate Taxes: $553.84
THE DUNLAP CEMETERY AND THE MINERAL SPRINGS
Little information has been located concerning the cemetery on the Dunlap Farm. The following information was recently located on the world wide web. The Red Sulphur Springs Hotel was a spring resort in Red Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It held a social event every evening. When residents died there, to avoid compromising its reputation, bodies were secretly taken to a cemetery about two miles away, where many of the grave markers have no name. The hotel opened in 1832 and closed in 1917; the last event held there was a dance. At one time Martin Van Buren, the president of the United States, visited the hotel, which was once owned by Levi Morton, Vice President under Benjamin Harrison. After its closure in 1917, the hotel was dismantled and only a small, concrete base remains where the pavilion once stood.
Monroe County School District
Public Elementary School:
Peterstown Elementary School
Public Middle School:
Mountain View Middle School
Public High School:
James Monroe High School
THE SURROUNDING BLUESTONE AREA
Amidst the beautiful scenery of southern West Virginia lies the long Bluestone Lake. This reservoir, the third largest lake in West Virginia, is popular for its fishing and other recreational activities. Bluestone Lake was formed by a concrete dam built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers across the New River to reduce flooding. Although the dam was started in 1941, its construction was delayed because of World War II, and it was not fully completed until 1952. The lake is nearly eleven miles long, with an area of 2,040 acres during summer pool, though the water level does change frequently. The Lake can grow to over 36 miles long at flood control pool. At higher levels, the lake extends into Giles County, Virginia. The Lake’s Catchment Area is 4,565 square miles. Water levels are drawn down four feet in winter to make room for melting snow and spring rain.
Bluestone Lake, Greenbrier River, and the New River are great places for fishing, and it is said that New River is the best warm-water fishery in the state. Some of the species of fish available in the lake and river are bluegill, catfish, crappie, muskellunge, and various types of bass. New River bass has set some West Virginia state records.
In addition to fishing, Bluestone Lake is fantastic for enjoying all sorts of water activities, including boating, canoeing, water skiing, and wakeboarding. The lake has several boat ramps and a commercial marina for the boater’s convenience and there are no limits to the size of boats or motors that can be on the lake.
Bluestone Lake is part of the Bluestone Wildlife Management Area, which covers an area of 18,019 acres. The Wildlife Management Area is known for having some of the best hunting in the area, and hunters and trappers will be able to catch a variety of game including whitetail deer, turkey, fox, and other animals.
A great place to enjoy the lake is Bluestone State Park. The Park has ample accommodations for those who want to stay overnight. There are a variety of campsites – or, if you prefer a more comfortable stay, there are 26 cabins with TVs, showers, and other modern conveniences. Park visitors can take a walk on the hiking trails, play in the swimming pool, or rent game equipment to play croquet or horseshoes. The Park also has weekly events with lots of fun activities.
In addition to all the fun activities on the lake, there’s plenty more to do in the surrounding area. There are several other parks nearby, where you can enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities. You can experience some great whitewater on the New River. And the New River Gorge is well-known as a great place for rock climbing, with its many hard sandstone cliffs. If you want a break from outdoor activities, the nearby town of Hinton has many attractions. There are a variety of restaurants, shops, and antique stores to browse, and museums to visit.
Historical and recreational interest located in the Bluestone area includes the outdoor musical dramas “Hatfields and McCoys” and other shows performed at Grandview Park, near Beckley. Pipestem Resort with its myriad recreational facilities is only nine miles to the south and the 80,000 acres New River Gorge National River Park, the center of some of the state’s best whitewater rafting and canoeing plays an integral part of the area. Of special note are Sandstone Falls and the Visitor Center, just north of Hinton; and Bluestone National Wild and Scenic River, which flows into Bluestone Lake within the park boundaries.
BLUESTONE LAKE MARINA
Bluestone Lake Marina offers guests lake opportunities for water-oriented recreation. Depending on lake conditions, it is open from April 15th through October 15th.
At the marina, you can rent fishing boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes, and slip rentals as well as cabin rentals conveniently located near Bluestone Lake and Bluestone State Park. Fuel, bait, and snacks are available for purchase.
BLUESTONE WMA – 18,109 ACRES
The Historic Dunlap Farm is a 5-minute drive to West Virginia’s Bluestone Wildlife Management Area. The statewide Wildlife Management Program is designed to conserve and manage high-quality habitats for a variety of wildlife species and to improve public access to these resources. West Virginia provides numerous opportunities to learn and appreciate the abundant wildlife.
Bluestone Wildlife Management Area offers visitors a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities on 18,109 acres. Being adjacent to Bluestone Lake, the state’s third-largest body of water, the area offers guests boating, canoeing, and fishing opportunities. The section of the lake from just upstream of the Bluestone River to Bluestone Dam is in Bluestone State Park; the rest of the lake in the West Virginia basin comprises Bluestone WMA.
Hunting is offered due to the wildlife management area status, and Bluestone has over 330 primitive campsites and picnic sites. Avid fishermen can enjoy float fishing and stocked trout fishing in Indian Creek. Hiking and equestrian trails are also popular.
Bicycles are permitted on main roads, day-use areas, and campground areas. Many of the roads leading to Wildlife Management area campgrounds are dirt roads which provide an experience similar to off-road bicycling.
BLUESTONE STATE PARK
Bluestone State Park was established in 1950 and is named after the Bluestone National Scenic River, which flows into the New River at the park. Bluestone State Park encompasses over 2,100 acres of rugged, heavily forested, mountainous terrain, and provides a variety of water-oriented activities for guests and residents of southern West Virginia. This Park is five miles south of Hinton, WV.
Classic Cabins at Bluestone State Park are available for rent year-round. The campgrounds, although seasonal by nature, are popular campsites with visitors. Hiking and the opportunity to view eagles make Bluestone a neat area to visit.
Bluestone State Park has 26 modern, fully furnished cabins with kitchens, showers, linens, towels, cooking utensils, dishes, tableware, and modern appliances. Each cabin also has a stone fireplace, grill, picnic table, and campfire ring. Cabins are available for rent year-round and accommodate two to eight people. Select cabins are pet friendly. Guests also have access to nearby Pipestem Resort State Park’s indoor facilities including an indoor pool and sauna for some more rest and relaxation.
Bluestone State Park has four campgrounds with 120 campsites. The Meador Campground has 32 sites open to RVs and tents with electric and water available at seven of the sites, electric at 15 sites, and a central bathhouse are also on-site. The Tent Area Campground has five rustic sites and is designed for group camping. Old Mill Campground, open to tents and RVs, has 44 rustic campsites and a central bathhouse. East Shore Campground has 39 primitive sites accessible by boat only. The campgrounds are open from mid-April through late October. Campground reservations are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year. Campgrounds are open on a first-come, first-serve basis through October 31. A campsite reservation application is available here.
An extra plus is that Bluestone Park is adjacent to Bluestone Lake, the state’s third-largest body of water. Due to this sizeable lake, boating and fishing are naturally an important part of the recreational opportunities at the park. The addition of hiking trails, a swimming pool, game courts, and a seasonal nature/recreation program creates a well-rounded array of activities. The proximity of Bluestone to Winter Place ski area makes the park’s rental cabins affordable accommodations for ski groups and winter vacations.
Nearby is “The Year-Round Crown Jewel of West Virginia State Parks,” Pipestem, which is known for its scenic overlooks and an aerial tram ride into the Bluestone Gorge. Park amenities include an 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course with several restaurants and snack bars.
Bluestone Dam, located at Hinton, is one of the major flood control dams in West Virginia. It has the largest drainage area and flood storage capacity of any dam in the state. It is built across New River, one mile above its junction with the Greenbrier River and two miles below the confluence of New River and Bluestone River. Prior to the construction of the Bluestone Dam, flooding was a major problem in this great river system.
Bluestone Dam was authorized in 1935 by an executive order issued by President Franklin Roosevelt. Construction on the project began in 1942, but work was suspended in 1943 because of World War II. Work resumed in January 1946, and the dam was completed for operational purposes in January 1949, and totally completed in 1952. The approximate cost was $30 million.
With a drainage area of 4,565 square miles, Bluestone Dam controls 44 percent of the river flow through the populous Kanawha Valley, which is downstream. It is a concrete gravity dam 165 feet high and 2,048 feet long, administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Normal release of water from Bluestone Lake is accomplished through 16 sluices in the base of the dam. The 790-foot spillway has 21 flood gates. There are also six sluiceways for hydroelectric power that have not been used in the early decades of the dam’s history. The maximum discharge capacity is 430,000 square feet per second.
The dam contains 942,000 cubic yards of concrete and 7,800 tons of steel. Its lake has a summertime surface of 2,040 acres and is very popular with boaters, skiers, and fishermen. Bluestone State Park, located on the Bluestone River about three miles above the dam, provides lodging, camping, a restaurant, and recreational facilities.
The Bluestone Dam celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999 when the Army Corps of Engineers estimated that the dam had prevented more than $1.6 billion in flood damages. Bluestone ended its first half-century with important improvements underway. The lake became a major supplier of public water in 1997, serving Hinton and Princeton and a large area between and around those two communities.
Reinforcements were added to the dam under the federal Dam Safety Assurance Program, with raising the dam by 8 feet, installing anchors, and thrust blocks to tie the dam into bedrock, spillway improvements, and other work. The second phase, installing bedrock anchors, is underway and three additional phases remain to be constructed. Simultaneously, work began to add hydroelectric capacity to the dam, in a partnership between Hinton and other communities and private industry.
Hydroelectric Power Generation Project: Bluestone Dam was originally designed for Federal hydropower and six penstocks were constructed through the east abutment. During World War II, construction activities were delayed, during which time interest in Federal hydropower declined.
The Water Resources Development Act of 2000, authorized Tri-Cities Power Authority (TCPA) to design and construct a hydropower generating facility at Bluestone Dam. TCPA is made up of the West Virginia cities for Hinton, Philippi, and White Sulphur Springs.
Until the early 2000s, the penstocks were capped and never modified. Between 2001 and 2017, the Corps modified the penstocks to create an auxiliary spillway as a required Dam Safety Action.
The Corps and TCPA initiated negotiations for the installation of a non-federal hydropower facility at Bluestone Dam but these negotiations were put on hold as the Corps advanced required dam safety actions so TCPA could re-assess the project. Bluestone State Park was established in 1950 and is named after the Bluestone National Scenic River, which flows into the New River at the park. Bluestone State Park encompasses over 2,100 acres of rugged, heavily forested, mountainous terrain, and provides a variety of water-oriented activities for guests and residents of southern West Virginia. This Park is five miles south of Hinton, WV.
THE NEW RIVER GORGE NATIONAL PARK and PRESERVE
The 70,000-acre New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a unit of the United States National Park Service (NPS) designed to protect and maintain the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. Established in 1978 as a national river, the NPS-protected area stretches for 53 miles (85 km) from just downstream of Hinton to Hawks Nest State Park near Ansted. The Park was officially named America’s 63rd national park, the U.S. government’s highest form of protection, in December of 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a relief bill.
West Virginia is home to parts of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a footpath that stretches more than 2,100 miles between Maine and Georgia; the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, which cuts through 16 states for 4,900 miles; the Bluestone National Scenic River; and Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. Now, over 70,000 acres of land, bordering 53 miles of the gorge, has earned the government’s protection.
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve are rich in cultural and natural history and offer an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities. New River Gorge is home to some of the country’s best whitewater rafting, mainly from the Cunard put-in to the Fayette Station take-out and is also one of the most popular climbing areas on the East Coast.
Home to the New River, which drops 750 feet over 66 miles, with its Class V rapids, has long drawn adventuresome rafters and kayakers to this whitewater area. The New River, which flows northward through low-cut canyons in the Appalachian Mountains is actually one of the oldest rivers on the planet.
Rock climbing on the canyon walls, mountain biking, and hiking on trails that flank the river, and wildlife viewing—bald eagles, osprey, kingfishers, great blue herons, beavers, river otters, wild turkeys, brown bats, snakes, and black bears—are all popular activities within the park.
Begin your experience with a stop at Canyon Rim Visitor Center, which is situated on the edge of the gorge, for maps, current information, and chats with a park ranger. You can learn any pertinent safety protocols and visit the bookstore.
The New River Gorge Bridge is a work of structural art. Construction of the bridge began in 1974 and was completed in 1977. The Bridge spans 3,030 feet in length and is the third highest bridge in the U.S., at 876 ft. During Bridge Day, an annual one-day festival celebrating the construction of the Bridge, BASE jumpers launch off the 876-foot bridge and parachute down to the New River. New River Gorge is the only national park in the U.S. that permits this extreme activity.
President Jimmy Carter signed legislation establishing New River Gorge National River on November 10, 1978 (Pub.L. 95–625). As stated in the legislation, the park was established as a unit of the national park system “for the purpose of conserving and interpreting outstanding natural, scenic, and historic values and objects in and around the New River Gorge and preserving as a free-flowing stream an important segment of the New River in West Virginia for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.” The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act was incorporated into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, changing the designation to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Less than 10% of the original national river was re-designated as a national park, where hunting is no longer permitted, while the remainder is a national preserve with little change.
NEW RIVER REGION OVERVIEW
The New River is shared by boaters, fishermen, campers, park visitors, and local neighbors. The waters of the New River system contain a mosaic of hydrologic features and aquatic habitats that support a highly productive aquatic ecosystem that includes distinct populations of native fish, mussels, crayfish, and a broad array of other aquatic life, including rare amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
The 320-mile New River rises in the Blue Ridge region of North Carolina and flows northeastward through the Appalachian uplands to Radford, Va., where it turns northwestward and passes through a series of narrow valleys and gorges into southern West Virginia. It ends where it joins the Gauley River to form the Kanawha River. In WV, the New River is entrenched in a steep and narrow valley, the narrowest part of which is known as the “New River Gorge.”
In 1998, because of historical, economical, and cultural importance, President Clinton signed into law the New River as one of the very first American Heritage Rivers. Much of the river’s course through West Virginia was designated as the New River Gorge National River. In 2021, the area was designated as the United States’ newest National Park.
The New River is recognized as the “second oldest river in the world” and is estimated to be between 10 and 360 million years old. Its headwaters begin near Blowing Rock, NC, and are one of the few rivers in North America that flows northerly.
Class I, II, III, IV, and V rapids dot the entire 320 miles of New River making it a great paddling, tubing, and white rafting adventure. Beautiful cliffs, bluffs, and mountain views make it one of the most scenic rivers on the east coast.
New River Gorge National Park includes 53 miles of free-flowing New River, beginning at Bluestone Dam, and ending at Hawks Nest Lake. The New River typifies big West Virginia-style whitewater. Within the park, it has two very different characters. The upper (southern) part of the river consists primarily of long pools and relatively easy rapids up to Class III. It is a big powerful river, but very beautiful, always runnable, and providing excellent fishing and camping. There are a number of different river access points, and trips can run from several hours to several days.
The lower (northern) section of the river is often referred to as “the Lower Gorge.” In a state that is justifiably renowned for colossal rapids, the Lower Gorge has some of the biggest of the big with rapids ranging in difficulty from Class III to Class V. The rapids are imposing and forceful, many of them obstructed by large boulders which necessitate maneuvering in very powerful currents, crosscurrents, and hydraulics. Some rapids contain hazardous undercut rocks.
Prior to the rise of the Appalachian Mountains, the New River cut its bed at a time when the land sloped to the northwest. Amazingly so, as the Appalachians gradually rose around the river, the New River wore away the bedrock at the same rate the mountains formed, leaving behind towering cliffs and prominences that hover hundreds of feet about the water level.
Accounts claim that Indians referred to the New River as the “river of death,” however this origin story is likely legend. Native Americans and early European settlers regarded the New and Kanawha rivers as being one single waterway. The name “New” may have been derived when the river upstream was discovered by European explorers as the first “new” river found flowing westward.
Native American Indians used the New River as they traveled west years before the pioneers arrived. In the 1600s explorers navigating the New River thought they were close to the Pacific Ocean because of its westerly flow.
In 1671 the Batts-Fallam expedition, by way of the New River, came through to the Lurich area and ended there because the Indian guides refused to take them any farther. They carved their initials in a tree and claimed the territory for King Charles II of England. This was the first proclamation of English territory west of the Alleghenies making the New River the first gateway into the west.
Fast water, big rocks, and lazy/slow stretches are features of the New River. Water sports enthusiasts will find the New River ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and windsurfing. Great fishing is found in the New River with bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and rock), flathead catfish, channel catfish, muskie, walleye, and bluegill present in good numbers. Year after year, it produces more citation fish than any other warm water river in WV.
The New River Gorge was a vast and largely unsettled wilderness until the C&O railroad was built on the eastern side of the river in the 1880s. The railroad opened the rich coalfields and virgin timber stands of the region. Early “mountaineers” settled the area and soon were carving out mountain farms and raising families.
The gorge was practically impassible before the completion of the New River Gorge Bridge, near Fayetteville, WV, in 1978. The river within its gorge is one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the eastern U.S. Much of the New between Hinton and Gauley Bridge is managed by the National Park Service as the New River Gorge National River.
Principal tributaries of the New in West Virginia include, from south to north, the East River, the Bluestone River, and the Greenbrier River.
Many former mining communities located on the New River in its gorge have since become ghost towns. These include Sewell, Nuttalburg, Kaymoor, Fayette, South Fayette, Hawks Nest, Cotton Hill, and Gauley, Beury, and Claremont.
GREENBRIER RIVER AND RIVER TRAIL
The Historic Dunlap Farm is a 20-minute drive to the lazy Greenbrier River near to where it empties into the New River at Hinton. The Greenbrier River is 173 miles long is the last free-flowing river east of the Mississippi. It is an excellent river to float or canoe and is well known for its large and small-mouth bass fishing. It is the gateway to water recreation and fun as it is at most times lazy and easy to navigate.
The Greenbrier River is formed by the confluence of the East Fork Greenbrier River and the West Fork Greenbrier River in the town of Durbin, West Virginia. From Durbin, the Greenbrier River flows southwesterly through Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, and Summers Counties. It flows through several communities including Cass, Marlinton, Hillsboro, Ronceverte, Fort Spring, Alderson, and Hinton. The Greenbrier River joins the New River in the town of Hinton, just 10 minutes away.
The property is a 60-minute ride to the Greenbrier River Trial and is operated by the West Virginia State Parks. The trail is a 77-mile-long former railroad, now used for hiking, bicycling, ski-touring, horseback-riding, and wheel-chair use. The trail passes through numerous small towns and traverses 35 bridges and 2 tunnels as it winds its way along the valley. Most of the trail is adjacent to the free-flowing Greenbrier River and is surrounded by peaks of the Allegheny Mountains.
Banking, healthcare facilities, drugstore, grocery, hardware, auto parts, and farm supply are readily available in nearby Union and Peterstown. There are no fast-food restaurants but there are local restaurants that are great places to meet friends and enjoy a great home-cooked meal.
Some of the friendliest people in West Virginia can be found in Monroe County. Monroe County has a population of about 13,000 residents and does not have a stoplight and has more cattle and sheep than people. Monroe County is a special area with interesting folks, both “born and raised” and newer members from many different states. People from all walks of life reside in harmony in this lovely pastoral setting.
RED SULPHUR SPRINGS
Red Sulphur Springs is in southern Monroe County, West Virginia, and just a few minutes from the Virginia state line at Peterstown.
According to William Burke on the Springs of Virginia, The Red Sulphur Springs is in Monroe County in what is now West Virginia and are the furthest west and south of all the springs written about by Dr. Burke in his 1846 book. He described the gorge where the springs are located as being gloomy with only a rude shelter over the springs and several comfortless, windowless cabins when he first visited in 1829. He purchased the springs in 1832 and made many improvements before surrendering possession of the property in 1841. By the time he wrote his book, the Red Sulphur was second only to the White Sulphur in terms of length of the season, and overall number of visitors, and the 350 people who could be accommodated at any given time in the hotel and the multiple ranges of beautiful buildings.
Burke said the most noteworthy structure was the Pavilion over the springs. Constructed shortly after his first visit, the pavilion dome was 50 feet above the water level of the springs and was supported by 12 Ionic columns. He devoted more than a third of the 394 pages of The Mineral Springs of Western Virginia to these springs and explained that the uneven treatment of the different springs was a result of the extraordinary, curative powers of the water at Red Sulphur so that, “a more extensive notice than we have given of the other Springs is not only necessary but indispensable to a just estimate of its peculiar action on the human system.”
Shortly after Monroe County was created, James Alexander offered 25 acres of land, including a lot for a courthouse which in time became the town of Union. On January 6, 1800, the Virginia Assembly passed an act creating the town of Union.
The Monroe County Historical Society preserves several historic structures in the town, including the Caperton Law Office, Owen Neel House, Clark-Wisemen House, Ames Clair Hall, and the Old Baptist Church. The Union Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
The Town of Peterstown is a short drive. Banking, healthcare facilities, drugstore, grocery, hardware, auto parts, and farm supply are readily available in Peterstown. The town is on the border with Virginia, and Virginia Tech is less than an hour from Peterstown.
Peterstown was chartered in 1803 by the Virginia General Assembly, incorporated in 1892 by the Circuit Court. Peterstown was named for Christian Peters, a Revolutionary war soldier, who settled nearby and founded the town shortly after the Revolutionary War. The town is the site of the 1928 discovery of the 34.48 carats (6.896 g) Jones Diamond by Grover C. Jones and his son, William “Punch” Jones.
SALT SULPHUR SPRINGS
Salt Sulphur Spring near Union 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 1800s and early 1900s, 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.
Just a few miles away lies the sleepy village of Greenville. Greenville is the classic old Virginia community with the historic Cook’s Mill still standing on the banks of Indian Creek. The Ziegler Family that currently owns Cook’s Mill has the grounds open for visitors to enjoy picnics and to view the massive water wheel and the exterior of the building. Greenville has a country general store complete with gasoline sales. The post office is still open and a community meeting place.
RED SULPHUR SPRINGS
Red Sulphur Springs, located just a few miles away, 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.
INDIAN CREEK COVERED BRIDGE
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 the spring of 2000, the bridge was rehabilitated by Hoke Brothers Construction, Inc. of Union, WV 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.
Hinton is the southern gateway to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The town has a large historic district, railroad museum, antique shops, and restaurants. After crossing the bridge at Hinton, you will begin driving alongside the New River down River Road. There are great riverside vistas on this favorite route for a casual drive along the waterfront. Boaters, motorcyclists, fishermen, and vehicle cruises on the roadway and the river are a common sight. Nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny mountains lies a place where the rivers flow and the eagles soar. A place where small-town charm is around every corner and outdoor recreation is the norm. A place where porch sitting is earned after days spent hiking, biking, boating, and fishing. It is a place that remembers its past and looks towards the future.
Banking, healthcare facilities, regional hospital, fast food drugstore, grocery, hardware, auto parts, and farm supply are readily available in nearby Hinton the county seat of Summers. Hinton has some fast-food restaurants and there are also the local restaurants that are great places to meet friends and enjoy a great home-cooked meal.
Nearby Forest Hill has a medical clinic, a post office, and an Amish baked goods store.
TALCOTT, HILLDALE, LOWELL, AND PENCE SPRINGS
The small communities of Talcott, Lowell, and Pence Springs are a vital part of the community. Talcott is the home of the famous John Henry legend and hosts a yearly festival called John Henry Days. Talcott has the John Henry Park and a museum, plus a post office. Hilldale has a brand-new Dollar General Store plus a convenience general store with gasoline sales. Lowell is home to the famous Lowell Market, a general store complete with a deli with the best breakfast biscuits for miles around. The store sells food, sporting goods, bait, hardware, lottery tickets along with a host of other goods. Pence Springs is the home of the awesome Pence Springs Flea Market, held Sundays from April – the end of October. Dozens of vendors set up offering antiques, collectibles, guns, households, and a sundry of goods and tools. Another mainstay in Pence Springs is Country Road Store is known to locals as the Pence Springs Wallyworld. Food, gasoline and fuels, pizza, sporting goods, camping supplies, and hardware are part of the stocked inventory. As former owner, Bird Keatley used to say, “If we don’t have it, do you really need it”? Greenbrier Girls Academy sitting high on a knoll in the Pence is a private school on the grounds of the Pence Springs Hotel.
The Historic Dunlap Farm is nestled between the folded Ridge and Valley Province to the east and the younger Allegheny Plateau to the west. Its waters empty into the world’s third oldest river, the New River, just a few miles downstream.
The area has many interesting “riches from the earth” in the form of sandstone, limestone, agates, fossils, geodes, caves, and curious rock outcrops. The river’s bottom and banks have numerous types, ages, and classes of rocks that originate from several diverse geological regions along the New River basin draining millions of acres.
Geologist’s estimates vary widely from 3 million years to 320 million years when talking about the age of the gorge. The river pushes its load of sand and other particles over the bedrock of the river channel and wears it down in a sandpapering action. The cutting takes place very slowly and each foot cut may take thousands of years.
Erosion by the New River has exposed several different rock formations. Traveling the 52 miles between Hinton and the New River Gorge bridge you will pass through a cross-section of the earth’s surface, exposing sedimentary rock layers totaling about 4,000 feet in thickness. It may have taken 7 to 10 million years for these deposits to accumulate as layers of sand, mud, and rotting plants and then compressed and bonded into sandstone, shale, and coal.
Just 45 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 50 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.
The Historic Dunlap Farm is in the Indian Creek, New River Valley – Greenbrier River Valley region and contains interesting Native American artifacts.
The New River Gorge was never permanently settled by Europeans prior to the 1850s, so the older archeological record begins with the very rich story of the Native American Indians in the New River Gorge area of southern West Virginia. Most of the stories involving native peoples center on “historically” documented tribes and their interaction with the European and African peoples who came into this area in the mid-1600s. What we usually consider the beginning of the story is an ending.
The story of American Indians in West Virginia began hundreds of generations before the written history. The keys to this amazing story are literally found in the arrowheads and multitudes of other artifacts and historic sites left behind by these ancient peoples.
The oldest artifacts from the New River Gorge are Clovis points. Made more than 11,000 years ago over much of North America, these intricately shaped stone spear points were used by ancient nomadic hunter-gatherers, Paleoindians, to kill mammoths, mastodon, and other Ice Age creatures.
Later artifacts found in excavated village sites, such as pieces of pottery, stone and bone tools, seeds, beads, and arrowheads, show the development of thriving agricultural-based permanent communities connected by well-established systems of trails.
Peoples of the Archaic and Woodland periods lived in our area for thousands of years (from approximately 8,000 B.C.E. to 1,200 C.E.), constructing palisade villages and elaborate burial mounds, progressing from spears to bow and arrows, producing clay and stone pottery and art objects, and extensively cultivating corn, squash, and beans. They were the ancestors of the people we know of today in eastern North America as the Cherokee and Shawnee.
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 were part of the Archaic Period culture. This culture lasted from about 10,000 to 3,000 BP (before the present day).
Native American artifact collectors search for and have found, arrowheads, spear points, tomahawks, tools, and toys (marbles) in the region of the valleys. 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 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.
From Union (24.5 mi.) (36 Minutes +/-)
From the Monroe County Courthouse take US Route 219 South for 8.3 miles, turn right onto WV-122 West travel 11.6 miles and then slight left onto County Rd 21/1/Red Sulphur Marie Road for 1.8 miles and then turn left onto Route 12 South and travel 1.8 miles and turn right onto Rt. 27 Indian Mills Road and travel approx. 1 mile. The locked farm gate is on the right.
From Hinton, WV: (18 Miles +/-) (25 Minutes +/-)
From McDonald's on Stokes Drive, take Stokes Drive across the river bridge and turn left onto Route 3 East and 12 S, travel 5.3 miles, and then bear right onto Route 12 South at the Willowood Bridge interchange, then travel 11.3 miles, turn right onto Rt. 27 Indian Mills Road, and travel approx. 1 mile. The locked farm gate is on the right.
From Peterstown: (10.2 Miles +/-) ( 15 Minutes +/-)
From Reece’s Hardware on US Route 219 take Route 12 North for 9.3 miles and then turn onto Rt. 27 Indian Mills Road and travel approx. 1 mile. The locked farm gate is on the right.
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