Elkhorn Inn History
The historic "Coal Heritage Trail" building that is now the Elkhorn Inn was built by Empire Coal & Coke Company as their "Miner's Clubhouse" in 1922. Our brick and concrete building replaced two wooden buildings which had burned down, and it survived the devastating floods of 2001 and 2002 which destroyed 30 houses next to the Inn and killed 8 people. Dan and Elisse bought and saved the building from demolition in 2002, Dan restored it, and we opened our new home as the Elkhorn Inn in May of 2003. Over the years the building changed hands many times and was used for a variety of purposes; from many of our guests who lived or worked in this building thoroughout its history, we have learned that in the 1940s it was a rooming house for coal miner's families, it was privately owned in the 1950s, in 1957 it was the office and residence of mining company supervisor and his family, and was later a State Police barracks. In the 1960s-1970s it was the offices of Hawley Coal, in 1988 it was Data Services, Inc., and in the 1990s it was briefly owned by Billie Cherry.
Restoring, living in, and maintaining this "Coal Heritage Trail" building is a wonderful, continuing adventure! HGTV's two programs on us, "Building Character" & "ReZONED",highlighted some of the interesting architectural details Dan "uncovered" in the process of restoring this building, including the original tile floor in the two-tub bathroom, transom windows on guest room doors, the original hemlock banister, & pay-window where the miners went to get their pay. Built to withstand fire, the only wood in the building is the trim- all 66 original 1922 windows! In 2008, Dan Clark was awarded the Coal Heritage Trail Preservation Award for his restoration of the Elkhorn Inn, which is the only surviving historic buidling in our area. The "Restoration of the Elkhorn Inn" page has "before and after" photos of our restoration of the building.
The Inn's "Museum Room" (see the link under "About") has a growing collection of items from this building's past and our area's illustreous history in railroading and coal mining, including coal core samples, mine maps, scrip, photos, post cards, books, "Pocahontas" railroad china and menus, artwork, and mining memorabilia. West Virginia authors Nick Christodoulou, Raymond Daugherty, Homer Hicklam, and others have given us their books & memoirs on growing up in this area, which we have for our guests to read.
If you have items for the "Museum Room", or info or photos to share, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-708-2040.
For more photos of area history, click on this link to go to the Area History photos in our Photo Gallery.Learn More
The historic "Coal Heritage Trail" Elkhorn Inn was built in 1922 by Empire Coal & Coke Company as their Miner's Clubhouse, replacing two wooden buildings which burned down. As we have learned (and continue to learn) from our guests, many of whom lived in or worked in our building, our building served many purposes throughout the years, including being a rooming house for miner's families, the Hawley Coal office, a police barracks, a nurse's lodging house, and a document storage company! The Elkhorn Inn's Museum Room features a growing collection of art, photography, books, scrip, documents, post cards, china, and historic memorabilia on the Empire Coal & Coke Company, Hawley Coal, Landgraff, coal mining, the Norfolk & Western and Norfolk Southern "Pocahontas" railroad (which goes past the Inn), and McDowell County. Also on display are Builder Levy'sdocumentary photographs, Doug Wonders' and Michael Shufelt's rail photography spanning more than 25 years of the "Pokey", and Sean Hoyden's railroad photography. If you have historic items you would like to donate, or to have us display, please email us or call us at 1-800-708-2040.
The Inn's Gift Shop features hand-crafted West Virginia coal statuettes, hand-made silver, lamp-glass bead, and Elkhorn Creek-glass jewelry, pearls, vintage blown-glass ornaments, old-timey "coal" candy", locally made james, jellies, and sauces, specialty "foodie" items, stained glass windows and suncatchers by Richard Latshaw, signed books by James Porterfield and Homer Hickam, Elkhorn Inn embroidered-logo apparel, and one-of-a-kind ceramics, sculpture, and fine art. See our "Gift Shop" page for more details and to order, or call us at 1-800-708-2040.Learn More