Turn This Town Around

 

Meet the eight towns competing in our monumental Turn This Town Around campaign—a historic partnership between West Virginia Focus, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, and West Virginia Public Broadcasting.


Written by Nikki Bowman

Have you ever driven through a town where once majestic buildings stand as bruised and battered stewards and thought, “What would it take to turn this town around?” Well, we think about it—a lot. And we aren’t the only ones. In close partnership with the West Virginia Community Development Hub and West Virginia Public Broadcasting, we are launching an ambitious undertaking. We want to find out what it will take to turn our towns around, and we are going to document it every step of the way.

The mission of our company, New South Media, Inc., is to change perceptions about our state, not just how others look at us, but how we look at ourselves as West Virginians. We do that by telling our state’s story—one town, one person, and one business at a time. We connect our readers with our communities and the people and businesses that work endlessly to champion them. In every issue of this magazine, we are going to take it one step further by including one feature that will follow our Turn This Town Around campaign. With your help, two towns will be chosen—one from the northern part of the state and one from the southern part. The two towns you select will become living laboratories. Our goal is to help ignite change, to rally the community with a set of goals and deliverables, to showcase the successes and failures, to identify challenges, and to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

The West Virginia Community Development Hub, one of the state’s leaders in the field of community development, will coordinate the effort. The Hub will connect the two communities with training on civic engagement, leadership development, and project management; provide a community performance coach; help them assess their strengths and vulnerabilities; develop a community vision and plan; and link them to technical assistance providers in key areas like civic engagement, the local food movement, community sustainability, and organizational development.

According to the Hub and its Community Building Toolkit, there are common tenets that enhance the success of community-building efforts.

These include:

  • Broad-based community engagement in decision making
  • Creation of community collaboration teams
  • Mapping and leveraging community assets
  • Achieving clarity of purpose on a path forward
  • A non-linear, Design-Do planning process that focuses on short-term goals
  • Shared leadership and accountability
  • Connection to regional trends and issues
  • A willingness to take risks

Community revitalization doesn’t just happen, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight—that’s part of the challenge. Historically community improvement initiatives stall at the implementation stage. Every community has development plans sitting on the shelf. When plans aren’t implemented and momentum stalls, many concerned community members throw their hands up in frustration and quit. But we know the most valuable resource isn’t money. It’s people—people who care about their communities. We must help them fuel the flames of change. Every community has people who care, but sometimes we are overwhelmed by the challenges and don’t know where to start. That’s where our extensive list of partners comes in. Together we can be catalysts for change.

Our Turn This Town Around revitalization campaign will look at the restoration and repurposing of existing buildings and assess economic resources, employment opportunities, and ways to expand the tax base and keep money circulating in the community. We will help our communities create programs to prevent blight and abandonment, improve livability by attracting businesses and social activities, and foster incubators for entrepreneurship and the arts. We will reach out to our local schools, encourage and embrace involvement from the youngest among us, and in doing so, hope to inspire them to see their state as a place of opportunity.

There will be naysayers. Jack McCall, the author of The Small Town Survival Guide, calls them the “Coffee-Break Cynicism Society.” You know the types. The ones who are always complaining, the ones who are the first to say something can’t be done or “That’s not the way we do things.” Guess what? They aren’t the captains of this ship, and there isn’t any room on the boat for those who would rather sink.

We aren’t just going to talk about the problems and challenges. We are going to do something about them—and we are going to do it together and document the entire experience. And when we say we, we mean everyone. There are many groups and businesses in our state that are focused on improving West Virginia. Groups like Generation West Virginia, a network of young talented leaders focused on solving the “brain drain” issue, or Create West Virginia and their grassroots efforts at building creative communities (just look at what they did in 2013 during their conference in Richwood), or the Main Street West Virginia program, helping a dozen communities improve their downtowns. The West Virginia Center for Civic Life trains people across the state to come together to discuss and resolve challenges. There’s also Imagine West Virginia, a group dedicated to making policy recommendations that would positively impact the state, the Tamarack Foundation, a nonprofit that strives to nurture artisan entrepreneurs, and the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, a group working to build our agricultural economy, not to mention the West Virginia Small Business Administration or the West Virginia Small Business Development Centers. And although the list goes on and on, we are all concerned with one thing—building a better state. If we all row our boat in the same direction, we will accomplish more and reach our destination faster.

We are possibilitarians. Together we can make the possibilities reality. There are no easy answers. There is no quick fix. We cannot bring back the past, but we can envision a brighter future and work toward that goal. There is no time to waste. Let’s turn our towns around.

 

The Contenders: North

grafton2Grafton

A former hub for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Grafton is the county seat of Taylor County. South of U.S. Route 50 and about 15 miles east of Interstate 79, the Grafton Downtown Commercial Historic District includes 72 buildings, including the Grafton Hotel, B&O station, and Andrews Methodist Church—the International Mother’s Day Shrine. “Grafton used to be a busy, booming railroad town, but the railroad slowed down and the economy isn’t what it used to be,” says Brennon O’Sullivan, superintendent at Tygart Lake State Park. “There’s pictures in the local library of hundreds of people walking around Main Street, but today we could use more businesses in downtown.”

Brennon says the city does its best to work with limited resources. “There’s great potential in Grafton because of the surrounding areas. We are reopening the swimming pool this summer, and the state park is now open year-round.” City Manager Kevin Stead says, “The city of Grafton is excited about this wonderful opportunity to not only showcase our assets and possibilities, but to identify our limitations and explore how we can address them in a positive way.”

  •  Population: 5,164
  • Area: 3.8 square miles
  • Median age: 41.7
  • Median household income: $29,232
  • Mean travel time to work: 24.9

Education attainment:
High school graduates: 49.8%
Associate’s degree: 4.5%
Bachelor’s degree: 9.6%
Graduate degree: 2.8%

Notables: Tygart Lake State Park, Grafton National Cemetery, Anna Jarvis House, Grafton City Hospital, Arch Coal

 

 hundred-signHundred

This incorporated Wetzel County town is off the beaten path and the only known town in the country to be called Hundred. It was named for Henry Church, who lived to be 109 years old and was known as “Old Hundred.” Hundred was a B&O flag stop and experienced an oil and gas boom in the late 1800s.

Linnea Kumher, director of the Hundred Public Library, lives about six miles outside of town, and says she loves working in the area. “There is so much potential. I just wanted to stay here and do anything I could to help,” she says. She says the Wetzel County town is growing and residents young and old are invested in making the tiny town a better place. There are clubs for kids to keep them out of trouble and new stores. Still, the town needs new housing and a community center, she says. “We’d like to have a place where people can walk indoors in the bad weather,” Linnea says. “And we need a main building like a community center very badly. Right now we have to either hold meetings in churches or sometimes the high school, but they are already so busy and they have a very small parking space.”

  • Population: 299
  • Area: 0.50 square miles
  • Median age: 44.1
  • Median household income: $32,500
  • Mean travel time to work: 38.5

Education attainment
High school graduates: 57.8%
Associate’s degree: 12.8%
Bachelor’s degree: 2.8%
Graduate degree: 3.2%

Notables: Hundred 4th of July Parade, Sweet Melissa’s Restaurant, oil and gas industry

 

petersburgPetersburg

Petersburg is a gateway to the Potomac Highlands, with popular outdoor destinations like Blackwater Falls State Park, Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Dolly Sods Wilderness, Smoke Hole Caverns, and Seneca Rocks within easy driving distance. It is the county seat of Grant County, and the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad will take you from the South Side Depot in Petersburg to Romney. Although outdoor adventurists flock to the area, they often drive through the town on their way to other locations. But Petersburg is at the center of it all, says Hanna Weaver, executive director of the Grant County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Hanna lives and works in Petersburg and says the area is a hub for tourism—from fishing to train rides to just plain exploring the great outdoors. “It’s a really beautiful area,” she says. But the town could use a stronger downtown presence. “Petersburg is laid out differently. There’s a lot of historic homes, but there’s not really a downtown,” Hanna says. “That would be nice to have, like a lot of other towns have—like Shepherdstown.”

People often stop by the visitors’ center in the South Side Depot and then walk to the gift shop next door. Then they cross the street to a local restaurant. But after that, they get in their cars. “That’s one thing visitors comment on when they come down here,” Hanna says. “There’s not really a strong Main Street with shops you can walk to. It’s scattered
in Petersburg.”

  • Population: 2,467
  • Area: 1.62 square miles
  • Median age: 47.1
  • Median household income: $33,352
  • Mean travel time to work: 21.4

Education attainment
High school graduates: 46.6%
Associate’s degree: 6.6%
Bachelor’s degree: 7.7%
Graduate degree: 3.7%

Notables: Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, Spring Mountain Festival, outdoor destinations, the river

 

rowlesburgRowlesburg

Rowlesburg is situated on the Cheat River in Preston County, just 13 miles south of Kingwood. A former coal town, it now has a small, dedicated historic district.

Lucille Grim says there’s a lot to be proud of in Rowlesburg, and volunteers have been working hard to bring new life into the town, working on multiple museums in an effort to boost tourism. “There is a lot of history here. It’s an old, old town, and it was a railroad town, but when the railroad left it was all downhill for us,” she says, adding that life there hasn’t been the same since the 1985 flood.Lucille, curator of the Rowlesburg Area Historical Society, has lived in the same house in Rowlesburg for nearly 50 years. “People keep coming back to retire—and they are helpful for a couple years—but when you retire you lose your zip. We need some young people.” She says the area desperately needs more jobs, too. “There just isn’t any money.”

  • Population: 584
  • Area: 1.1 square miles
  • Median age: 48
  • Median household income: $37,917
  • Mean travel time to work: 36.3

Education attainment
High school graduates: 57.5%
Associate’s degree: 2.1%
Bachelor’s degree: 10.6%
Graduate degree: 2.7%

Notables: WWII Museum, Preston County Sports Museum, Cannon Hill Civil War Memorial, West Virginia Chestnut Festival

 

The Contenders: South

aldersonAlderson

The Greenbrier River divides the town of Alderson into two parts with portions in both Greenbrier and Monroe counties. Located 15 miles south of Lewisburg, the Alderson Historic District has 165 structures and a restored 1896 rail station. The historic federal prison camp is the town’s largest employer, with Martha Stewart, “Squeaky” Fromme, and Billie Holiday being a few of the infamous women to be incarcerated there.

Margaret Hambrick, treasurer of Alderson Main Street and volunteer grant writer and public information officer for Alderson, sees great progress in the town’s adoption of a green team and receipt of a recycling grant, but acknowledges there’s not enough economic development. “We’d like to see more things right here, which would have more people living here, too,” she says. “We need to draw more people to the town rather than serving as a bedroom community for Lewisburg.”

  • Population: 1,184
  • Area: 608 acres
  • Median age: 42.8
  • Median household income: $26,875
  • Mean travel time to work: 29.8 min

Education attainment
High school graduates: 38.2%
Associate’s degree: 5.1%
Bachelor’s degree: 13.2%
Graduate degree: 5.1%

 Notables: Alderson Historic District, Alderson’s Store, Alderson Memorial Pedestrian Bridge, C&O Railroad Depot, Alderson’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration, The Greenbrier River

 

hillsboroHillsboro

Hillsboro in Pocahontas County is most famously known as the birthplace of world-renowned author Pearl S. Buck. The two-story Dutch-style house where Pearl was born in 1892 is on the National Register of Historic Places and is now a museum. Hillsboro is also the site featured in the movie Patch Adams, where real-life Dr. Patch Adams purchased land in West Virginia to build a medical clinic based on his unique philosophy of doctor-patient interaction.

“We’re a small town, but we think we’re pretty lucky to be living here,” says Bill Beard, county commissioner and long-time farmer. “We do lack employment—that’s probably why we have as few people as we do in our area. We devote a lot to tourism.

  • Population: 260
  • Area: 0.36 square miles
  • Median age: 39.3
  • Median household income: $16,953
  • Mean travel time to work: 20.9

Education attainment
High school graduates: 50.2%
Associate’s degree: 3.2%
Bachelor’s degree: 3.2%
Graduate degree: 0%

Notables: Little Levels Heritage Fair, The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Museum, Gesundheit! Institute, The Pretty Penny Cafe, Beartown State Park, Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

 

matewanMatewan

Perched on the banks of the Tug Fork River and Mate Creek in Mingo County, Matewan was the site of the Battle of Matewan, also known as the Matewan Massacre, between Baldwin-Felts detectives and coal miners. The event inspired the movie Matewan. The town also figured prominently in the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud. The small town has flooded 36 times since 1949, and in 1997 a floodwall was built.

“Matewan is a unique little town, and the town’s people have done a great job of preserving Main Street and historical areas,” says Jeffrey Lusk, executive director of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails Authority. “It’s also a great connection to the Hatfield-McCoy Trails.” But Jeffrey says the town could use some assistance, too. “Matewan needs more entrepreneurs, more capital and vision, people who will make the investments and build up the retail infrastructure to turn those old buildings into a thriving Main Street. The opportunity is there. Thirty-six thousand Hatfield-McCoy trail riders come through the town every year. Matewan just needs a grassroots effort to spur some excitement about entrepreneurs building the retail and lodging infrastructure.”

  • Population: 499
  • Area: 358 acres
  • Median age: 45.4
  • Median household income: $36,750
  • Mean travel time to work: 28.4

Education attainment
High school graduates: 40.8%
Associate’s degree: 2.5%
Bachelor’s degree: 5.9
Graduate degree: 2.4%

Notables: Matewan Depot, Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, Historic Matewan House Bed and Breakfast, Tug Fork River

 

pinevillePineville

Pineville is the county seat of Wyoming County. Castle Rock, a looming 200-foot limestone outcropping that resembles a castle, is a local landmark beside the public library. The area is known for its close proximity to Twin Falls State Park and the Hatfield-McCoy Trails.

“What makes Pineville a wonderful place is that it’s full of passionate, caring people,” says Kathy Brunty, Wyoming County Family Resource Network director. She says the area would benefit from public transportation and more activities for local youth. For the most part, she says, kids have no place to go.

  •  Population: 668
  • Total area: 0.84 square miles
  • Median age: 49.4
  • Median household income: $48,158
  • Mean travel time to work: 17.9

Education attainment
High school graduates: 29.9%
Associate’s degree: 3.2%
Bachelor’s degree: 6.8%
Graduate degree: 8.9%

Notables: Twin Falls State Park, Hatfield-McCoy Trails, RD Bailey Dam, Horse Creek Lake, Clear Fork Valley Golf Course

Voting for Turn This Town Around is now closed. Look for the results in the March/April issue of West Virginia Focus.

We welcome lively discussion and all opinions; toward that end, it is our policy to omit any and all comments that come to our attention containing abusive or personal attacks, or material that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, slanderous, or hateful.

559 Comments

  1. Annastasia Gavette said:

    I have lived in Petersburg for most of my life, its a very beautiful place with all the mountains and scenic sites, but the downtown isn’t really nice looking and it’s kinda boring. I think Petersburg needs a turn around!

  2. Jane Hyre Fleming said:

    Didn’t realize how much I enjoyed growing up in Petersburg, W.Va. until I moved away…Love goin’ home to visit family and friends. Scenic views are breathtaking!

  3. W. Proudfoot said:

    Grafton, WV is the home of the International Mother’s Day Shrine which is different from the home of Anna Jarvis that is located in Webster.. Also, our swimming pool has been open for many years and is a wonderful facility. The swimming area at Tygart Lake State Park will reopen next summer.

  4. Kay Baldwin said:

    I would vote for Petersburg….although I don’t live there…this town never bounced back after the 1985 flood.

  5. Julie Hedrick said:

    I am from Petersburg WV… I Love Petersburg and moved into the town of Petersburg at the young age of 17. Most every one that lives here in this town is either retired and from the bigger cities or those of us that are young and wish to remain because we love where we come from… I not so long ago lost my job due to not enough projects going on in our area to keep the plant I worked for to remain open. ( Stone Quarry ) It is sad because there is really nothing in our town as in jobs to keep our children here they are leaving as soon as they graduate from High School some go to college but alot can not afford it… even with help from aide… it is still not affordable… so they move away… get labor jobs for companies that are paying decent wages. I so wish our town would allow changes and more businesses to move in… I was born and raised here and would love to be able to stay here but as I am drawing unemployment and it will run out before I know it we as a family may be forced to relocate and it crushes me. Consider working with our town it sure could use alot of help.

  6. Jennifer Kolat said:

    I live in the tiny town of Hundred. I love it here. It’s like stepping back in time when you’re here. Your neighbors stop to chat, you know every student in your child’s class as well as their parents. When there is any need in our community fundraisers are quickly scheduled to help one another. I simply adore the friendly atmosphere, it’s a wonderful place to raise a family. However there are also several problems, just like any town. Many of our buildings have fallen by the wayside. Our sidewalks are in dire need of repair. While we have wonderful groups for our teens and children, there’s simply nowhere for them to meet (currently using churches, the small room in the library, even the town park in warm enough weather). A community center to hold events or town meetings would be so very useful and vital to our area! There are so many people here who care, so many who want to see Hundred returned to it’s former beauty, so many still full of pride for our small town. Most of us just don’t know where to start. This would be very welcomed and appreciated help!

    • Christina Hostutler said:

      I have lived in Hundred my entire life and I to love it here. What Jenny says above is all so very true. Our neighbors are always there to help, and the town really does come together to support each other. There are those who are trying to make a positive impact in our community. New groups have formed like S.A.S.S. (Strong and Sophisticated Sisters); the Family Resource Center, as well as Young Life, and older groups continue on like 4-H, Hundred Area Pride, Girl Scouts, etc. Events like the Little Miss and Mistery Liberty Pageant, Autumn Beauties Pageant and the first ever Old Time Christmas event (2013) have brought new life and activities to the area and help to build the sense of community that all small towns strive for. A community center would be a wonderful and very much needed addition to our little town. There has been a huge interest in some type of fitness/exericse program but there is not a place large enough for such acitivities. A community center would be perfect and appreciated beyond a doubt.

    • Alana Minor said:

      I couldn’t have said it better! Things like this contest give us hope that someone does want to help, it’s refreshing to know that.

  7. victor said:

    Petersburg has so much potential but we have the wrong people running it,please help us

  8. Rebecca Alt Lanhardt said:

    I vote for Petersburg, WV, it really needs transforming. So much to offer but sadly the older buildings have been torn down or sitting empty. Once was a thriving little town that would remind people of the town
    Illustrated in the movie “Back to the Futrure”. Such fine memories of growing up here…….

  9. Roy Leggett said:

    ROWLESBURG WV IS A WONDERFUL TOWN WITH LOTS OF HISTORY .WHEN THE FLOOD HIT THIS SMALL TOWN IN 1985 IT DESTROYED A LOT OF THINGS BUT NOT THE PEOPLES SPIRITS AND LOVE FOR THEIR TOWN

  10. Jimmy Thomas said:

    Rowlesburg wv is a great quit little town .This would be great for this town .Vote for Rowlesburg wv

  11. Elizabeth said:

    I am not sure if it is my browser or what but the vote box wont load for me in Chrome or Firefox.

  12. Sandy Davis said:

    Grafton needs your help! there used to be lots of things to do in downtown Grafton.I’m 58 and have lived here all my life. I love this little town but, I have 4 kids, ages 9 to 17, and there is nothing for them to do!!!!! we go skating in Clarksburg, movies in Fairmont, shopping in both places, Morgantown to eat, ect.. we boat on the lake, but you can’t swim from shore, so who wants to camp in our campgrounds? most of our neighbor hoods still have that small town feel, but downtown is dying!! we have a lot to offer. Just not the know how or the want to. How do you vote for our town?

  13. Sandra said:

    What about Marlinton? Recently a fire destroyed part of Main street leaving parts the town even more in need of a helping hand.

  14. Debbie Moore said:

    Would love to see our little Town of Matewan turned around, we need good people willing to take a chance, we need jobs so our citizens won’t have to leave. We have a lot of History & we’re sitting right in the middle of the Billion Dollar Coal Fields.

  15. Kobe Watkins said:

    I think Grafton needs a turn around new look. I think this because there are lots of abandoned buildings including the old middle school,community bank,B&O train station and the hotel. We can tear them down and make something better of this town and give it a new look

  16. Kathy Wellman said:

    All of these towns are special and each one deserves to be turned around, but I sure would love my little town of Matewan, WV to be the one.

  17. Kimberley Shaver said:

    I am going wIth Rosenberg. My father was from there and we continue to have our family reunions there every July. I love this place

  18. Pamela J. Brumfield said:

    I would like to see Pineville win in this Turn Your Town Around project. They really need a decent shopping center which could be a boost for their economy. There’s no place to shop since Magic Mart closed, and this was where most locals shopped instead of going to Beckley. There also needs to be some place for the kids to go and play. Some type of skate park? Pineville could really be a booming place if these things were made available. They have some great history! The ‘Notables’ for Pineville such as Twin Falls State Park and Hatfield-McCoy Trails are great assets and wonderful places to visit and enjoy!

  19. Cheryl Mehaulic said:

    Grafton could really use a makeover. It has so much history and charm but has not had upgrades in the downtown area for years. With a three season tourism draw such as Tygart State Park, this city would flourish with assistance.

  20. Ann Bowes Halverson said:

    I was born in the Matewan Hospital and grew up there. My home town will never be what it once was however I would like to see it become a thriving community again.

  21. Suzie Santibanez Grossman said:

    Vote for Grafton WV: home of the historic International Mother’s Day Shrine, where Mother’s Day was founded; beautiful Tygart Lake State Park, and the WV National Cemetery- the ONLY national cemetery in WV

  22. Deborah Sbarra said:

    My vote is for Grafton. This little town has such heart and many willing members to try to do the best with what they can. They have a Facebook page called “What Grafton Needs is…” where they share their ideas and suggestions to make their town better. One of those idea is to make the historic Waldo Hotel and community college which would help revitalize the downtown.

  23. Tina Moats(Mayne) said:

    i would like to see Rowlesburg get the turn around i lived there from 1970 till 1985 to flood took my home, i had to move and get a new home, new school and new friends, Rowlesburg was a grat small town where we all knew one another and kept a friendship going .

  24. Vikki Sims said:

    I would love to see Pineville get this. Our youth really has nothing to do or no place to go.

  25. Richelle Layman said:

    I vote for Rowlesburg!! It’s a great little town with lots of potential! I’ve lived in Preston County my whole life and would love to see this town shine again!

  26. Amanda Jaimee Scott said:

    Alderson! Home of West Virginia’s largest 4th of July Celebration! So much history and so many beautiful buildings! Alderson desperately needs a turn-around!

  27. Keith Knotts said:

    My vote goes to Grafton where my mother and father were raised and I spent so many summers. Memorial day parades, and the birth place of Mothers Day.

  28. Gloria Pack said:

    I vote for Pineville. It is a wonderful small town, but does need some help with getting it turned around to see it grow. It has much to offer.

  29. Annma Simms said:

    I vote for Hundred because the kid”s there need something to look forward to. it is our neighboring town, we buy farm supplies there & lumber.it needs renovating or modernizing.

  30. Carol Haught said:

    My vote goes to hundred. There is so much potential there. The existing businesses like Miss Blues and Melissa’s draw crowds from all over the Northern part of the State. Just think how much this area would grow in tourism with a little help. Hundred..a great choice!

  31. Michael Hatfield said:

    I grew up in Matewan I would like to see them improve any way they can I have a lot of family still living there and it will always be home. I miss the mountain life and the people that still live there. I have a lot of good memories from there.

  32. Heather Blackburn said:

    Matewan WV I believe needs a turn around. We could use some good things happen to our little town. People around end up leaving due to lack of jobs and not much to do, so I believe Matewan would be a great candidate for a turn around and with the right people helping I believe Matewan would and could be a great place again.

  33. Kathy said:

    Matewan WV……..this is my husbands hometown. It is very historic and popular in being part of the Hatfield-McCoy legacy. It would be sooooooo deserving of this extra boost!

  34. Amanda. said:

    100% Agree that Petersburg did not really survive the flood of 85. There are SEVERAL business’ that need a new or revamped home. The town is filled with wonderful, loving people, and many family owned business’. This boost could really help the local economy. Please, Vote for my small neighbor of Petersburg. Lord knows the little town could use all of the help it can get when facing towns twice its size. Blessings.

  35. Marisa Chambers said:

    I vote for Matewan! I’ve lived there my entire life and it definitely needs some sprucing up!

  36. Dawn Newlon said:

    Grafton WV is now my hometown. Wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else in the world! Its got my vote!

  37. Cindy said:

    I vote Hundred. It is a very nice little town. I have visited several times and always feel welcome. It would be nice to see Hundred get a little help.

  38. Cecilia Frady said:

    Pineville would really benefit from the assistance of someone coming in and helping fix this place up for our youth. As of right now there is nothing for the children to do but walk around and twiddle their thumbs, and try to stay out of trouble. And Pineville,W.V. is to beautiful to just let die!

  39. Cindy said:

    I vote Hundred. It is a nice little town that I have visted several times. The people are always welcoming and it would be nice to see Hundred get a little help.

  40. Cherry L.Lupton said:

    I Vote for Petersburg because I do live close to Peterburg and it is a very nice town. But I must say My husband and I have visited some of these other small town and I love them too. It’s a shame that the goverment who waste alot our hard earned money couldn’t put in back into some of these smaller towns that really need it desperately.

  41. sharon adams said:

    Pineville! A beautiful town with tons of potential. It was the best place in the world to grow up, nestled in the hills with the Guyandot River cutting through the middle of it. It was vibrant and lively forty years ago, and deserves to be again.

  42. Pamela Hinkle said:

    The town of Matewan has so much history! It will always be home. I feel all of the historical events that has taken place in such a small area is more than reason enough to restore this precious town!! :)))) Thanks in advance for the consideration & God Bless!!!

  43. morgan heavner said:

    I vote petersburg needs a big turn around there is a lot of things need a big fixing around here

  44. Cindy said:

    We need to concentrate on creating Downtown Grafton businesses. Like make the Grafton Hotel, a hotel again with a touch of 50s or 60s flair. Open the station for visitations. That is like going to DC and not visiting one monument. Concentrate on refurbishing the front of all our old buildings with sandblasting to get to their beauty. I have a whole train set I would donate IF they use it to fund rebuilding or keeping the station open.

  45. Josh McBee said:

    Grafton would be an excellent place to start. Us local merchants have been trying to get something going in Grafton for many years now. It’s one of the nicest communities, and shows the most promise. Not only with community support. But also the means to push forward in the future. Go Grafton!!

  46. Sherri Case said:

    My hometown of Rowlesburg, such a wonderful little community that currently has a great group of people attempting to revitalize the town. They have made fantastic improvements on their own so far but could use help. I have so many great memories of growing up there! The town was devastated after the flood of 85′, in which the school board took advantage of the situation and pulled the high school out and used the federal money to build a new bigger school in the county seat. I was a member of the first graduating class of that newer, bigger school however when asked I always say I am RHS alumini. Please vote for Rowlesburg.

  47. kara lester said:

    My vote is Pineville. Ppl of pineville n the town itself has came a long way in the past yrs. This.could b an amazing adventure for all n an asset to our town. W twin falls n hatfield mcoy trail system this win would only add to that…tourisim would go up it would help our economy n provide more jobs give our kids more job opportunities…..give our kids more period. I only hope that my child will see all the advantages of living in a small town as he gets older n develops into a young man. This town shapes n molds our youths to go n do great things n prepares thwm for adult hood. Many leave n fewer stay. For the omes that leave I’d like to think they had all they needed here in our small hometown to not b afraid of the unknown

  48. Wanda Fronzaglio said:

    Matewan has my vote! I can remember when it was a bustling little town. I left the area in 1962, but go back every chance I get. That area will always be my home.

  49. Cheyenne Hansen said:

    My vote goes to Hundred. I grew up there, and I take my children to visit as often as I can. It gives them the chance to see what a community really is.

  50. Julie said:

    I grew up in Petersburg and the tourism potential is amazing. I live in North Carolina now but I love to bring friends back to where I come from. I can see it being a great place to live, work and visit again, they just need help to get things started.

  51. Greg McGee said:

    I left Wst Virginia in 1984 when I joined the Marine Corps. I graduated from Flemington H.S.. I moved around a lot growing up and lived in several towns and counties. I currently live in Louisiana and have been here since 1996. But my fondest memories will always be of Rowlesburg. I never had many friends, but the best ones were in Rowlesburg. Sorry, cousin Mandy in Grafton. But Rowlesburg gets my vote.

  52. Sharon & TJ said:

    Rowlesburg has a lot to offer the River, Festivals, History, just a quiet place for everyone to enjoy. New to the community we hope to bring and help revitalize the town. Look for us in the near future!

  53. Brenda McKeever said:

    Would like to know where to vote? My husband grew up in Hillsboro. I think that the country around this small town is the most beautiful country that I have ever seen. I am from the southern part of WV and I haven’t seen any of the scenery as beautiful as it is in the area of Hillsboro WV. As the saying and song goes, “Almost Heaven West Virginia this describes Hillsboro.

  54. CaSondra Ray said:

    My vote is for matewan I have been raised here my whole life and I am 32 and I am now raising my child here,, we are a community that is always like family and this place has such special impacts on people even out of towner say so and as for myself I would never leave no where else

  55. Jessica Owens said:

    I think Grafton is an area that doesn’t need this…. They have jobs, restraunts, grocery stores, there also only 30 mins from 2 major cities…. The other small towns have none of this

  56. Brooke said:

    So many great small towns on the list. I vote Anderson, rowlesburg, And hundred

  57. vpgreg said:

    Go for Petersburg. We have family from there and some that still live there today.

  58. Gail Weikel Correa said:

    Alderson…..one of the many beautiful communities in our Greenbrier Valley…has my vote ♥

  59. Trina said:

    Petersburg is a wonderful town that is on route to the ski resorts for the Washington DC people. It it were provided some assistance, it could help with the tourism and other events within the area.

  60. Nina said:

    i vote Petersburg, WV , never realized how much I loved and missed everything until i moved. I miss that u can walk down the street and not be afraid and most of all its so beautiful their.

  61. Anthony Blevins said:

    Matewan. To much history in this town. Although I live in Mercer County you can not find better people than in Matewan and Mingo County.

  62. Barbara Garnett said:

    Petersburg is a beautiful place! My vote is for them. And for the south, Matewan.

  63. J.R. said:

    Petersburg, but you will have to fight the politicians if you want to turn it around

  64. Robert said:

    Matewan. I went there for the first time in 2005 to ride the trails. The people there need a boost.

  65. Kelli Hale said:

    Grafton….where both of my parents are from. Still have family there, and where my dad is layed to rest!

  66. Amanda Pitzer said:

    Rowlesburg…Rowlesvegas baby! Multiple festivals each year, a lively community center with art studio and museums, the Cheat River, and an absolutely awesome community. I’m proud to claim Rowlesburg as my town!

  67. Kelli Hale said:

    Grafton!….home of the Mother’s Day Shrine and Tygart Lake. Both are my parents are from there. Fond childhood memories.

  68. Laura D. Brandes-Williams said:

    Grafton, the best childhood memories!!!!! Hunting, fishing, cooking and just being together and listening to my Grandfather’s beautiful voice singing!!! God truly made a special place when he made Grafton, West Virginia.

  69. Sarah said:

    I vote Grafton! It is a great small town and everyone is friendly. It’s the place where I want to raise my kids. PLEASE PICK GRAFTON!!!!!!!! 🙂

    • Glenn H Bartlett II said:

      I vote Grafton too I have been away from here for 35 years and I’m back and it has changed a lot. I remember the days walking store to store and see friends all up and down the sidewalks. Now you are lucky to see anyone.

  70. Buzzy said:

    Petersburg…………my family lived there and some of the greatest moments in my life occurred there, and besides who in WVA doesn’t love the taste of ramps!!!!!!

    • Amanda Goush said:

      Grafton!!! My hometown and where I still visit my family and friends.

  71. Becky said:

    I vote Grafton. It’s a great town full of great people, and the new generation of people living here are ready for this kind of change. There are some great possibilities for this Smalltown, America!

  72. Roberta Peless said:

    Matewan — I was born there and left in 1965. The history of the coal mine wars and the Hatfield/McCoy feud spawned two movies. People who’ve never been anywhere near Matewan know about the Hatfield/McCoy feud. Money spent to restore Matewan would be money well spent.

  73. JOHN SHUE said:

    HILLSBORO,Is the place to be. Four generations of my family have lived here and raised there families.

  74. Traci Stead said:

    Grafton. I absolutely LOVE WV and want to return home someday. The hills around Grafton let my soul breathe deeply and encourage me inside and out. Grafton has the potential to be a business hub, a historical tourist attraction, and a retreat center. It seems the best situated of the northern selections.

  75. Tanya Lester said:

    I vote Matewan! So much history in this town. I have wonderful memories in this little town. So many wonderful people there. This town really needs a boost economically for it’s residents.

  76. jim said:

    Petersburg…..I moved here in 1987…it is home now. I will live and die here.

  77. Brandon Francis said:

    Matewan..This small town holds so much history, that played a major role in developing the state we know and love today.. its strong roots in the mining community, help bring , and create association, like msha and the black lung act which, protected the workers of this great state, while working and after retirement.. please don’t let this vital part of west Virginia, be lost to history..Thank you

  78. Caitlin said:

    You can’t vote with a comment! Click on the big red and green box located to the right of the listings!

  79. Tyler Gibson said:

    Matewan, a place for fun-filled activites and where most of my family grew up.

  80. Angela Merici said:

    Did you read the stats? Grafton is economically disadvantages and is STILL able to accomplish the businesses you mentioned. All the more reason to vote for Grafton

  81. Jaime Blankenship said:

    Matewan!! Would love to see something positive happening in Mingo County!

  82. Mel Freeze said:

    I vote for Grafton – in its day it was the hub of transportation with the railroad; also home of Anna Jarvis, founder of Mother’s Day; has a beautiful lake with opportunity to boat, water ski as well as a very nice lodge and rental properties.
    This small town had been working towards keeping its appearance nice and clean, has some nice restaurants and shopping for foods and clothing available. LETS ALL SUPPORT GRAFTON, WEST VIRGINIA.

  83. TeeCee said:

    Matewan, certainly. The History there needs to be preserved and celebrated.

  84. Kevin said:

    Petersburg, Its in desperate need of a turn around. Also in a great location to be so much more.

  85. Brenda Simpkins said:

    Matewan is always getting visitor to see the history of the Town of Matewan. Matewan needs a extra boost!

  86. Donna Hart said:

    GRAFTON….GRAFTON…GRAFTON! An Awesome town with so much potential! That’s my vote!

  87. Glen M. Dotson said:

    I vote for Matewan. I have a lot of good memories of Matewan. I went to High School there, back in the 1950’s and 1960. As I said before my soul is still there. To me this is home. It does need somebody with a vision and bring some type of industry to Matewan. People of Matewan or all of West Virginia are good, honest, and hard working people.

  88. Heather Jewell said:

    I would love to see this honor bestowed upon Grafton, WV! I grew up in this town and am currently returning here to live. There is so much potential and a great sense of community. Not to mention, there is an abundance of natural beauty in Taylor county (although all of WV is breathtaking).

    Go Grafton!

  89. Chelsea Alger said:

    I vote for pineville. It is a tiny big hearted town that needs some fixing up.

  90. Kyle said:

    Grafton!!!! It has the history and it has potential to be something big. I vote for Grafton

  91. shane laux said:

    i vote for grafton. this is my home town and i have always wanted to see something great happen to this town again. i have heard and learned about all the great things that went on b4 i was born. so lets get this town up on its feet again and vote for GRAFTON plz!!!

  92. Farmhouse-Repurposed said:

    Matewan … Love the ride over on the Hatfield and McCoy trail, and the towns reception is the best. I would love to see
    more of the businesses be more oriented towards the ‘back in the day’ town of yesterday.
    Historical Preservation of buildings has always been a great interest to me and I think there needs to be more of it but it needs to be governed in a way that makes sense to the integrity of the town it is located in.

  93. Kristina Grimes said:

    I voted for GRAFTON. I grew up in Grafton and it has so many possibilities. This town may have limited resources but no limitation on the spirit and willingness of the people that live in Grafton to make it better. With the help of the Turn This Town Around campaign, Grafton can be transformed to a place of opportunity, community sustainability and bustling commerce that is long over-due.
    P.S. there is the link at the top right of this page (the red ‘click here to vote’ button) also here is the link to “vote” https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/turnthistownaround

  94. danielle green said:

    MATEWAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With the history this town has and people already coming in to visit our area for the Hatfield/McCoy trail this would be great for our little town!!

  95. Matthew Trout said:

    Although I respect Rowlesburg and the wonderful job the people have done to revitalize the town, I must cast my vote for Grafton. I have lived in West Virginia since birth, and I have never experienced a town quite like it. I must say, a vote for Grafton is a vote for West Virginia.
    Many don’t see from the outside, just how much this little town has come back recently. Grafton is the historical center of our beautiful state. Boasting (until recently) the state’s only two national cemeteries, the Grafton Memorial Day Program is the longest running in the nation. What other Memorial Day Parade sees grade school students march all the way to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of the fallen? This historic program brings thousands to line the streets each year. Thousands of patriotic people flock to the city and walk a long way from their cars in the heat, because they understand the rich tradition and history this city offers. Twice now, the small amount of funding from the state’s Veterans Administration, has been threatened to be cut. This is outrageous.
    There are so many other wonderful aspects about Grafton, and Taylor County, that it is a shame that our nearest neighbors are seemingly unaware of the great potential here. Grafton needs to be treated as a showcase in this state, truly the Best of West Virginia. Vandalia needs to step up and revitalize the Willard Hotel and B&O Depot, as a state showcase, they should be made to do so.
    The International Mother’s Day Shrine is already an attraction, as well as the Anna Jarvis House in Webster. Our state needs to recognize these resources and promote them.
    Tygart Lake State Park is arguably one of West Virginia’s most pristine parks, and it sits at the edge of town. Every year, the improvements are visible as a great bunch of people work hard to make great, better. The addition if the Boston Beanery the Tygart Lake State Park Lodge has made it possible to keep the lodge running all year long.
    The city management has worked with business owners and the public to bring life back into this town. They should all be commended for the efforts thus far. In recent years, the Spirit of Grafton Celebration, a Memorial Day weekend extravaganza, has grown to see Ferris Wheels on Main Street. The weekend us full of entertainment. From dancing in the streets to a live band on Friday evening, to live shows on Saturday afternoon and attractions leading into a high level concert on Saturday night, to a car show and gospel sing to wind up Sunday, the weekend before the longest running Memorial Day Program in the nation, has become a must attend event in its own right.
    I admit I am a bit long winded, so I will finish with the city of Grafton partnering with the Grafton Volunteer Fire Department to put on what, in my opinion, was one of the best Hometown Christmas celebration I’ve ever witnessed. Every year, the Mountain Statesman sponsors a Gigantic Toy Giveaway, providing, through community donation, hundreds of toys to those whose Christmas might not be so fortunate as others. Through the cooperation and support of the Grafton Volunteer Fire Department, Santa comes downtown to a parade and a hero’s welcome. After the giveaway, the entire town watches in wonder as the honorable Mayor G. Thomas Bartlett, III, lights up the large tree at the Shrine and the entire town for Christmas.
    There are hundreds of stories like this waiting to be told in this little town, and a true chance to see it become a West Virginia showcase.
    Rowlesburg, keep up the good work, you truly are coming back to life, and your festivals are top notch, but my vote will forever be with Grafton.

  96. Teresa Blackmon said:

    Pineville. I moved here from Florida several years ago. I love living here. It would be better, tho, if the kids had something to do here and if there were more businesses. A few updates and building makeovers would make things look nice and inviting. Being the county seat, it makes sense that putting some work into the town would be beneficial to people who visit and come to town for county business.

  97. Lana Exline said:

    I vote Grafton! My dad’s hometown, and many fun memories as a kid. – Lana Exline, Martinsburg, WV

  98. Mariana said:

    MATEWAN!!! This town has a great history, wonderful people, and a tremendous need with the area’s economical issues related to the decline in the coal business. Our whole county would benefit. This is a beautiful place to live.

  99. Rust Hedrick said:

    They all deserve to be “turned around” but PLEASE start with Petersburg. Great people (except for a few), beautiful scenery and the hub for so many outdoor activities. This could be more of hot spot for visitors and a boost to the local economy.

  100. Richard Dulee said:

    Want to thank my daughter Amelia Dulee-Kinsolving and Courtney Jesser for posting this article. I’ve lived here in Alderson my entire adult life, taught for 32 years here at the school, built my home and raised a family here. Alderson is a special place. Our bridge epitomizes the spirit of our town, it it is one of the most photographed and I think beautiful in our state. When bridges were being built in West Virginia the citizens of Alderson opted for beauty. They raised the money locally and built our special bridge rather than have an ugly steel truss one offered free from the state. That beauty is still present in Alderson and hopefully it will be recognized again. Please vote for our town.

  101. Nellie from Myrtle Beach, SC said:

    I Vote for Petersburg, Wva. There are SEVERAL business’ that need a new or revamped home and business. I visit there at least once a year to see my best friend. So much to see, and such beauty.. The town is filled with wonderful, loving people, and many family owned business’. This boost could really help the local economy. Lord knows the little town could use all of the help it can get when facing towns twice its size. Give Petersburg the Blessings to help it grow.

  102. Sonya Cook said:

    I vote Petersburg… i am 17 and I have lived here my whole life and this town is amazing, although we do need some fixer ups here and there this town is great! The veiw you can get of the moutains just by riding down through town is way beyond beautiful! So for me my vote is Petersburg all the way!

  103. Candace said:

    I vote Pineville WV, i have lived there all my life! There is nothing in this town to do, we have to drive an hour to do anything, or even to go to a hospital.

  104. Suzie Grossman said:

    You will have a very successful project if you choose Grafton WV. The community support here is unrivaled, as you can already see in the voting poll. Thanks

    • charlotte said:

      Please complete the survey….the comment does not constitute a vote. Thank you

  105. Selena said:

    Make sure you are placing your votes by hitting the vote button and not just placing your votes in the comments

  106. Adrienne said:

    I vote Hillsboro, but I think Marlinton should be in the running after their recent fire

  107. Muriel Layton said:

    MLayton
    We have a fine arts center, and many attractive things here such as a good hospital and health care facilities which furnish employment, but are sorely in need of employment opportunities which disappeared over the years. At one
    time Petersburg had stores where most needed items could be found, but no more. We are in need of help in
    revitalizing our town. I have cast my vote for Petersburg, and hope we can attract some more industry here.
    Too many young people have left our area to seek employment.

    • Sonja Cook Brewer said:

      I vote Pineville, WV, where I was born and raised! Some of my grandchildren live there and 2 brothers also!
      Thanks for considering my home city! Thank you so much!
      God bless you all!

  108. Donna Davis Grant said:

    I went to school at Rowlesburg, WV and my grandparents lived there. It is the greatest little town. I my memories and heart always goes back to the “good old days in Rowlesburg,” some of my fondest memories. The 85 flood destroyed a lot of the businesses and homes, but not the spirit or love of the people. I cast my vote for ROWLESBURG!

  109. Emiy said:

    Petersburg!!! My Mom grew up there and the people are wonderful and deserving of this!

  110. Melanie said:

    Alderson. However….. you can change town.. not the people.. I think both need a fix.

  111. Valurie Stewart said:

    I vote for Pineville, beautiful little town with lot’s of potential….there are some tourist attractions and something special right in town is our own CASTLE ROCK

  112. Krista Hiner said:

    I am from Petersburg and have been through the other towns. Wow, you have picked some great little towns of which all need a bit of a face lift, more businesses and community centers for the residents. It is a difficult decision to place my vote!!

  113. Peggy King said:

    My father was from Matewan, so it has a special place in my heart. The people in this town have worked for years trying to make it better…they have done a good job, but they could use more help…..Matewan is my vote…

  114. Robert Jennings said:

    Grafton…This little town is more than just history, it is our future. We have so much to be blessed with in our history, but she has the opportunity for an amazing future. Lets make it happen!

  115. Andrea said:

    I vote for Grafton, my <3, my home. A town that's been honoring our veteran's since 1867 – 146 years of recognition and rememberance is most deserving!

  116. Susan Foster said:

    Former resident of Taylor County. Still miss it every day. Raised our sons in Taylor County and they are proud graduates of Grafton High School – home of the Bearcats. In addition to all the other attributes that have been mentioned which make Grafton a deserving contender for this program, including the railroad history, the proud tradition of honoring our fallen military with the parade and laying of flowers and wreaths on Memorial Day and the ceremonies at the National Cemeteries, and that the origin of Mother’s Day began right here in Grafton, we also have the Anna Jarvis House located right outside of Grafton and which was restored, primarily through the efforts of dedicated volunteers, I would also like to mention that the citizens of Grafton and Taylor County recently accomplished what many people thought would be impossible. Through their combined efforts and with the support of the school system and local business, enough money was raised to install a turf field at Grafton High School, which will enable the field to be used for football, soccer, and youth sports programs. In addition, a community playground was built several years ago, again mainly with volunteer labor and community support. Grafton and Taylor County are full of people with the energy, motivation, and desire to make this area an even better place to live than it already is. I hope that Grafton is chosen for this opportunity.

    • Matthew Trout said:

      Well said Susan, what the Friends of McKinney Field accomplished is just this side of a miracle. Another testament to the heart of this town is the fitting tribute to Sam “The Waterman” Bord that leads up to that field.
      I remember covering a fire when I first got back to Grafton. I saw city police officers running to fire engines to get tools for the fire fighters. i witnessed a spirit of cooperation that never failed in my eyes after. Taylor County Emergency Service responders are at the top of their respective fields, and they stick together.

  117. Cathy Dzvis said:

    Mate wan- a vast history and the people are proud- unite for a better tomorrow for the next generation-

  118. Cathy said:

    Pineville was a great place to grow up. With it’s beautiful courthouse and Castle Rock located in downtown Pineville and the best hot dogs and subs at the Pinnacle Drive-In, it would be a great starting point on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail. This site needs a picture of Pineville.

  119. Robin said:

    Matewan gets my vote, even tho I dont live there anymore I grew up there lots of good memories, and I go back there to visit as often as possible .

  120. chris haddox said:

    Heck…do we have to pick just two? They are all worthyl! I am from the southern part of the state and now live in the northern area…..love it all!

  121. Cindy Goodwin said:

    I hope people from Hundred are doing the Monkeysurvey, just under the discription of Pineville. You have to do the survey in order to vote. Placing a comment here, is not a vote. You must do the survey!

  122. Melissa Dunn said:

    Adlerson!! It’s such a lovely old town – the 4th of July is awesome! We love it there – my husband’s grandfather was Deputy Federal Marshall there

  123. David Moore said:

    Hundred! I do youth ministry there and I can guarantee that there is not a town in northern WV with the potential or need of Hundred. Please come to Hundred!

  124. Trina K Goldsmith said:

    I vote Petersburg!! So many beautiful landmarks, Petersburg would provide a central location to all of them. If only it was spiced up a bit!

    • Mildred Bishoff Woods said:

      I vote for Rowlesburg. The people of the town have worked very hard to revitalize the town. The old high school is full of history!!

  125. Nicole said:

    I have some great memories of growing up in Grafton and would love to see it restored.

  126. Martie Brasher King said:

    Born in California but my home will always be West Virginia!!! My great grandfather and grandfather were the owners of Hunt Funeral Home and cared so much for the people of Hundred, my mother has been a driving force of the rails to trails in Hundred. My vote is for Hundred!!!

  127. Nikki Green said:

    Rowlesburg gets my vote!!! They really need the help! Grafton is my second choice- out of all of them, I know these two need it the most! All of these places could use the help, but my vote stands firm on Rowlesburg.

  128. Deloris Osborne said:

    I vote for Hundred I think it’s a beautiful place with nice people…

  129. David said:

    Does a town with a population of 5,000 and a AAA high school really belong in this list? I don’t think you can compare a few of these towns.

  130. Sam Petsonk said:

    I hope that you will count all the votes inadvertently cast by people commenting on this page, not realizing that they should have filled out the survey!

  131. Sam Petsonk said:

    Please make the link to the survey more prominent on the webpage above! I am concerned that many people have voted on the comments section of this page without realizing that their votes didn’t count.

    • Donna Boggess said:

      A lot of historic and quaint shops, good churches andcould be a great place to visit.

  132. Connie Keys said:

    I vote Petersburg. True, it never recovered after the flood. My Grandma’s family, the Heavners, are from that area. I still have cousins in Petersburg. Sad, there are so many WVa towns that are in such bad shape. Two that really need help are not on the list, Keyser and Piedmont. I see on FB that buildings are either torn down or burn down in Piedmont regularly. We will retire to Romney soon. It seems to be doing ok. Just wish the other small towns in that area would pick up and be as productive as when I was growing up.

  133. give the kids a future said:

    Vote Pineville. The high school graduate level is the lowest. Don’t you want a higher education level? I mean after all these kids are our future.

  134. JF said:

    I was a civic leader & lived in Grafton 3 yrs during the height of the FBI moving into region – We tried to encourage re-development but the long term residents didn’t want to change anything to accommodate new families or infrastructure. They kept waiting for the railroad to return or the glass industry to resurrect. No one wanted change except to the past. I watched beautiful buildings & homes fall into ruin – Unless attitude has changed in 10 yrs, sadly I can’t recommend voting for Grafton.

  135. Jo Hill said:

    TheCity of Grafton has been upgrading its appearance with new sidewalks, welcome signs, street lamps and plantings. Its Christmas decorations were wonderful. It is the home of the Mother’s Day Shrine and Anna Jarvis House – a marvelous tour of the home of Anna Jarvis’s mother – having railroad history, civil war history and AMA history, as good a mini-tour as I have encountered. The Taylor County Arts Council presents the work of new artists each month and bluegrass music many Saturday evenings. The City still needs help in trying to turn our town around. I vote for Grafton.

  136. Pingback: Turn This Town Around - City-Data Forum

  137. Donna said:

    Petersburg–there is no place to shop at local an no jobs here have to travel out of to town .

  138. Kimberley Kesner said:

    Ilive in CA now, but Petersburg will always be home. I miss that Petersburg is not as vital and vibrant as when I was growing up. We had stores and businesses that brought in people. We have the great outdoors and access to local skiing, hiking, climbing, fishing, biking and camping. There is so much history here and Petersburg is a short drive to Cumberland, Washington, Winchester, and Martinsburg. However, businesses closed or left Petersburg and opportunities that we had were unfortunately turned down by people who were in power that had no vision. Closed minded individuals and mother nature have crippled Petersburg’s potential. We had great schools, an awesome high school band that other towns and schools envied. We had so much to be proud of and still can with the right opportunity to rebuild a vital downtown economy that is a destination and not a small blip on the map to somewhere else. I VOTED PETERSBURG!!!!!!!

  139. Tina Helmick said:

    Vote for Petersburg!!! Wonderful and hard working people who don’t need to spend their weekends on the road traveling to bigger cities to buy things for their family.

  140. Darrin McCormick said:

    THANK YOU West Virginia Focus and West Virginia Hub for embracing everyone’s love for small town West Virginia! All of these well deserving communities can benefit tremendously from your spotlight and development assistance. Please, let me know if I can help out in anyway. Thanks again! Darrin McCormick, Mayor, Williamson, West Virginia. (Good Luck, Matewan!!)

  141. Jean Metz said:

    Grafton has been my home for the last 15 years. I just want to say that our little town has done a lot of upgrading and the Christmas lights this year were just beautiful. Grafton needs a little help to continue our work. It’s great to live and work in Grafton so my vote of course is for GRAFTON.

  142. Pat Rowand said:

    It’s a wonderful town for Memorial Day parades, Historical International Mother’s Day Shrine, Tygart Lake State Park, The Old B&O Train Station and Hotel.

  143. scott said:

    Hundred! Hillsboro!

    Others on the list are bedroom communities to other decent economies, like Grafton is to Morgantown and Alderson is to Lewisburg. Some others have the Hattfield McCoy Trails nearby.

    Hundred and Hillsboro need the help more than other candidates.

  144. Elaine Westfall said:

    We moved from West Virginia in 1986 but have visited many times since then. Of the towns listed, I have been to all except Matewan but have read about it. Whatever places are selected, the road conditions to and from the areas are a major consideration for visitors. On a recent trip to the WV National Cemetery near Grafton, I was shocked at how much worse Route 50 is now than when I used to ride in my grandfather’s old pick-up truck to the Taylor County Fair!
    I live about thirty miles from Atlanta, Georgia, and everyone knows what can happen on the roads here (with a bit of snow and ice) but there is usually room for more than one vehicle on a road. Having to ride the berm is no fun.
    God luck to each and all. I hope to see the results.

  145. John W. Starr said:

    I voted for Matewan and Grafton. I was born about out of the town of Matewan. My high school was located right in the town of Matewan. I don’t know of another town in WV that has the history that was made in my hometown.

  146. Carolyn wiles mclaughlin said:

    Rowlesburg..My Parents and Grandparents grew up here..l..I am a frequent visitor…I Love the beauty of the area…Rowlesburg deserves to win…

  147. Stella Burnette said:

    I vote for Grafton. The history in Grafton is amazing: B & O Railroad dating back to the 1800’s with roundhouse (many old photos as memories) with one beautiful hotel nearby for guest who arrived on the train. Was rebuilt during the early 1900’s, and it stands so beautiful to this day, the B & O Station with the large beautiful brick hotel beside of it, railroad tracks in the back, beautiful river and mountains all around. Walk down just a little ways, and you see a lot of historical advertisements on a building for folks to see when they arrived in Grafton on the train years ago. Near this is the theater with lots of memories of the dating years and just a fun time to go downtown and see a show. Look across the road and see that church. What is special about that church? “Mothers”. This was the first Mother’s Day celebration in the USA at Grafton, Taylor County, WV. Walk inside, take photos and take a tour as it is now a beautiful museum inside honoring mothers and Anna Jarvis and her mom. It is now an international Mother’s Day, celebrated worldwide. We also have a lot of Civil War History, the B & O Railroad is part of this history as well. Walk across the river on more than one bridge in Grafton. Go to the Tygart Valley dam, spend a night in the lodge or just visit and enjoy a good meal overlooking the lake. Visit the various museums in Grafton and nearby. Walk to some restaurants in Grafton. If that’s not enough, many people have china and glassware in their homes that was made in Grafton years ago. Admire the beautiful historical buildings & homes all around Grafton. Go visit the 2 historical cemeteries to show your respect for all the WV veterans who have fought for your freedom and are now laid to rest. The only 2 national cemeteries in West Virginia are at and near Grafton. If you have some extra time, check out the Valley Falls State Park near Grafton. There are many beautiful parks in Grafton too.

  148. Tom Mayes said:

    I grew up in Grafton, and still enjoy the occasional visit. As the home of the National Cemetery in WV, the Mother’s Day Shrine, and Tygart Lake there is potential to increase tourism and draw to northern WV — Fishing and hunting in the area are incredible, and so much of the surrounding country is unspoiled and spectacular — Close to I-79, and half an hour from Fairmont, Clarksburg, and Morgantown, it should be a focus of development, and there is SO much potential, simply by virtue of its location.

  149. mikeb7570@comcast.net said:

    GRAFTON HAS THE MOTHERS DAY SHRINE AND ANNA JARVIS BIRTHPLACE.HAS 2 NATIONAL CEMETARIES,RAILROAD HISTORY,THE COOLEST DAM YOU WILL EVER SEE AND BY FAR THE BEST LAKE IN WV.

  150. Jo said:

    Don’t put down someone elses town to make yours look better. That just speaks to the quality of your character. People who ‘used to live’ somewhere……..towns change, people change. Please don’t think that because you left disgruntled that things are the same. The town of Grafton WANTS to expand and move forward. As far as it being an ‘accessory’ town to Morgantown…isn’t that what this contest is about???? Making small towns more productive? There is so much negativity on here, my goodness people…..can’t you just be nice? If you can’t, then remember the saying..and just be quiet.

  151. Pamela Bucklew said:

    My hometown of Rowlesburg is a wonderful town, with wonderful hard working people, not afraid of the everyday challenges they face. Rowlesburg has always been a vital link. to not only other towns in the state, but also other northern states and the eastern and southern seaboard states. States which include, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and of course our beloved, capital, Washington DC. It is about time, this beautiful little town, with it’s georgeous,creeks, river, valleys, ridges and mountains get the long, overdue, attention, “it” and it’s wonderful people, so desperately need. Vote Rowlesburg.

  152. Leora Hulstine Kemper (Phoenix, AZ) said:

    Rowlesburg is a nice little town with very friendly people. I would visit my Aunt Elinore Hulstine all night and be up early next morning to go across the little alley way from the Nassif bar and grill to a very small house that housed the telephone switchboard. Aunt Elinore would light up the gas light and turn on the switchboard to accept calls, etc. Also, would visit my grandmother, Sadie Lee Sanders, for a weekend. She would get a lot of visitors bringing her news to be printed in the newspapers of nearby towns–including Morgantown. She sat at her old fashioned typewriter pecking away so much of the time. To swim under the railroad bridge, was great fun. Leora Hulstine Kemper

  153. Jon Higgins said:

    GRAFTON gets my vote. We really could use some upgrades and changes around here. I love where I live and am truly proud to say I’m from here! Please help our poor town.

  154. Sarah Myers said:

    I have lived in Grafton for all of my 78 years. I have seen this town devastated with the loss of the railroad and all those jobs, but under proper and intelligent leadership, the town is slowly coming back to life. You cannot say more than that about a town and it’s people, who have accomplished so much in such a few years. YEA GRAFTON! I proudly vote for you!

  155. Sarah Alderson said:

    Just a reminder – you have to fill out the survey in order to make your vote count! (Oh, and please vote for Alderson!) 🙂

  156. Joan said:

    Do you have an update today on the TTTA voting numbers? Thank you for everything you are doing for everyone.

    • West Virginia FocusWVFocus-admin said:

      We’re posting updates daily on Facebook and Twitter. Here’s where the numbers stand now:

      Grafton: 5,108
      Petersburg: 3,332
      Hundred: 1,864
      Rowlesburg: 1,500

      Matewan: 4,023
      Pineville: 2,484
      Alderson: 2,368
      Hillsboro: 2,137

  157. Dennis said:

    Petersburg 100% we definitely could use more jobs and overall revenue for this town and increased business would benefit existing places as well!

  158. Suzanne said:

    I came to the site to specifically vote for Pineville, where I grew up. After reading all the information on all the towns I had to make a decision I didn’t like doing. Choosing a town and leaving others out that also need financial aid. For the north I was so torn between Grafton and Hundred. The south should have been easy since I grew up in Pineville and that was the reason for my coming to the site! No it was not! I chose Hillsboro. I now feel like a traitor but I am not by any means. I just think preserving Hillsboro has a higher priority. I wish there was enough funds to help all 8 towns. No matter who receives the funding I hope they use it well and those that don’t please don’t give up on your community as all the towns in West Virginia are special! Good luck to all 8 communities!!!

  159. Nancy H (Phoenix, AZ) - Feb 11, 2014 said:

    Matewan should win~~ GO MATEWAN!!!~~ Hey, don’t forget to actually vote, and when you do…vote for Matewan!!!

  160. Holly Runyon Trent said:

    I really tore on who to vote for in the south I grew up in wyoming county so im really feeling like a trader right now cause I know pineville could really use the help but I had to vote for my new hometown and my kids home town Alderson if either wins I will be happy

  161. Steve Whorley said:

    I am interested in the photo at the beginning of this article? What town is this? With the railroads running along the town? It reminds me of how Bluefield WV looks…!

  162. Marilyn Walker Wellsl said:

    I was born in Matewan when it was a thriving town . I still have family there and come home as often as I can.
    I love it there.. It will always be my home . I love the mountains and the people I have so many memories of good times ‘ I would like nothing better than to see it restored. My uncle owned the Florist shop in Matewan until he passed away .. .

  163. Becky (Kinder) Jenkins said:

    Matewan WV , is where I once had lived , and I do go back from time to time , but seems that everything there has shut down , would love to see it fixed up , I have children that go back and love every moment of it , and all my grnad children alway wants to visit , and asking question of how it use to be , wants to hear story of it , be nice if they got to live life to experience as their parents did , and cherish their memories to tell to their children . We do make it appoint to go to Matewan Fair , and looking for ward to the following year again and again …

  164. Rose Mary Poling said:

    Grafton is a quaint small town that has several points of interest. The leaders of Grafton are always looking for ways to improve business. The town has beautified the streets, lights at Christmas time and restored store fronts. We have some novelity shops but we could use a boost in aquiring more new businesses.

  165. Travis McCoy said:

    as a teen boy in my town of hundred, I think that we need the boost of business because slowly our town is dying. People have been trying really hard to keep it going and everyone is really trying to step up and do their part. It means alot to someone my age growing up so that one day I will be able to have a family here of my own and possibly like to see something built for me and other kids like me to have something to do. we dont have things for teenagers to do. so if he win, please try to build something that we can do. ty travis mccoy

  166. Catherine Sharpe Rousseau said:

    I once visited Rowlesburg, WV. There’s potential, as long as there’s vision and ambition . With a strong community anything is possible in these United States!!

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