A Thursday Afternoon Ride Through Welch, West Virginia

A Thursday Afternoon Ride Through Welch, West Virginia

While in West Virginia, my friend Joe and I were just bumming around and looking at stuff. We stopped in the town of Welch. I’d read the name in the book The Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam. He grew up just ’round the way in Coalwood.

Welch is the McDowell county seat and a smoldering ember. Riding through it’s brick building-lined streets you could feel that there were secrets of it’s former life quietly tucked away. Secrets you could never know just by passing through.

A sweetly painted water tank along Route 16 that welcomes you to Welch and McDowell County.

Lovely mural on the corner of Wyoming & McDowell:

Ghost ad in a ghost-like town:

Fading away

A glimmer of the past.

The Merci Boxcar of Welch, WV.

A former Pure Oil service station which appeared to be still/recently in some type of use.

A lovingly painted mural along McDowell Street in downtown Welch.

A contrast between today and yesteryear. The Oddfellows Temple sign on the right in the streetview is the only thing that gives a clue that the image following is of the same place. Time marches on.


Saturday Afternoon – Downtown Welch, WV: 24 August 1946

Source: Russell Lee – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

4 Replies to “A Thursday Afternoon Ride Through Welch, West Virginia”

  1. The “before and after” photos of downtown Welch are unbelievable. I am trying to come to grips with a similar situation in my personal affairs. My parents home and property, once a thriving beautiful place full of life and activity, now sits forlorn and empty since my father died last year. Seeing these pictures of Welch and my parents place reinforces just how temporary…well…everything is.

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