A Wide-Ranging View of West Virginia

More than 1,000 color photographs of wild, wonderful West Virginia recently joined the ever-growing Carol M. Highsmith Archive in the Prints and Photographs Division. Taken in 2015, these photos are part of Highsmith’s multi-year plan to photograph every state in the U.S., with the Library of Congress as the home for this modern survey of America. In this set, Highsmith roamed throughout the mountains and hollows of West Virginia. She captured the natural beauty of the state, as well as the industrial story of coal mining and the railroad. Main streets of small towns, featuring movie theaters, banks and stores appear. There are grand mansions and log cabins, as well as curiosities and architectural treats. Take a tour of all these aspects of West Virginia through the selection below:

A wide stretch of the New River near Sandstone Falls State Park in West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, Oct. 23, 2015. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.34226

A wide stretch of the New River near Sandstone Falls State Park in West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, Oct. 23, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.34226

A diesel locomotive and freight cars, and a line of hoppers filled with coal, sit behind the CSX train station in Huntington, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 7. 2015. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31741

A diesel locomotive and freight cars, and a line of hoppers filled with coal, sit behind the CSX train station in Huntington, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 7. 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31741

Factory building of the Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company (also known as Helme Tobacco Company) on Wheeling Island, a part of Wheeling, West Virginia, in the middle of the Ohio River. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 10, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31936

Factory building of the Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company (also known as Helme Tobacco Company) on Wheeling Island, a part of Wheeling, West Virginia, in the middle of the Ohio River. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 10, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31936

Colorful downtown building in Elkins, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 3, 2015. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31630

Colorful downtown building in Elkins, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 3, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31630

 

The Merchants National Bank (now City National Bank) building in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 3, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31536

The Merchants National Bank (now City National Bank) building in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 3, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31536

The Smoot Theatre in downtown Parkersburg, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 9, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31891

The Smoot Theatre in downtown Parkersburg, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 9, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31891

The William Post Mansion, also known as the Post Mansion Inn, is a historic home in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 3, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31636

The William Post Mansion, also known as the Post Mansion Inn, is a historic home in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 3, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31636

The Jacob Prickett Jr. log house, built in 1781, is the oldest residential structure still standing in Marion County, West Virginia. When it was first built, it was unusual to have a full second floor and full cellar for this area. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 2, 2015. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31528

The Jacob Prickett Jr. log house, built in 1781, is the oldest residential structure still standing in Marion County, West Virginia. When it was first built, it was unusual to have a full second floor and full cellar for this area. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 2, 2015. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31528

This building in the distressed Appalachian Mountains town of Kimball in southern West Virginia is unusual for two reasons: The town's World War Memorial, it is one of a few large memorials, as opposed to statues, to those who served in World War I, which its builders assumed would be THE one and only world war. Secondly, the building, designed in 1927 by West Virginia architect Hassell T. Hicks, was dedicated a year later specifically to African-American veterans of the "Great War." African-Americans represented as much as 35 percent of the workforce in McDowell County coal mines, with 1,500 volunteering for service in World War I. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, Oct. 24, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.34390

This building in the distressed Appalachian Mountains town of Kimball in southern West Virginia is unusual for two reasons: The town’s World War Memorial, it is one of a few large memorials, as opposed to statues, to those who served in World War I, which its builders assumed would be THE one and only world war. Secondly, the building, designed in 1927 by West Virginia architect Hassell T. Hicks, was dedicated a year later specifically to African-American veterans of the “Great War.” African-Americans represented as much as 35 percent of the workforce in McDowell County coal mines, with 1,500 volunteering for service in World War I. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, Oct. 24, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.34390

The old and modest Little Kanawha Valley Bank building in Glenville, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 6, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31678

The old and modest Little Kanawha Valley Bank building in Glenville, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, May 6, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31678

The Shepherdstown "Little House" in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, April 29, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31359

The Shepherdstown “Little House” in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, April 29, 2015. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.31359

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One Comment

  1. Sharon M.
    March 30, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    wonderful photos. i love how the teeny tiny bank building has proper columns, just like its larger brethren!

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