Fayette County's largest city...........Oak Hill, West Virginia a unique city, is nestled between the cities of Fayetteville on her North and Mt. Hope to her South, Oak Hill is . First incorporated as a town, February 25, 1903
The town was so named because of the location of the first post office built in the community -- under a spreading white oak tree at nearby Hill Top, the name being suggested by reason of the association of the oak tree and the town's location on a hill. The post office was moved after a short while to a site near its present location, though the name was retained.
Oak Hill by the late 1960s had become one the 20 largest cities in West Virginia, (The largest city in Fayette County, 7,589 people as of 2000 ) though the community retains a small-town character, and is largely composed of residential neighborhoods, many of which developed in the early 1900s around coal-mining operations. No major manufacturing district was located in the town, which largely served as a local service and commercial destination. The community is popularly divided into "Oak Hill" and "East Oak Hill" or "East-End Oak Hill" -- following East Main Street east of the U.S. 19 expressway.
The real progress and growth of Oak Hill dates from the completion of the railroad line from Glen Jean through Oak Hill in about 1905. Following the completion of the railroad, numerous coal mining operations opened in the vast New River Coal Field , including the nearby mines at Scarbro, Whipple, Carlisle, Summerlee, Lochgelly, and Minden. Soon afterwards, the Virginian Railway completed a connection with the White Oak Railway at Bishop.
Oak Hill Depot
Virginian Railroad Depot
Built in 1903 & restored in the early 2000s - Photos Late 1960s
By the 1970s much of the coal in the Oak Hill area had been extracted and its economy began to transform. With the completion of the U.S. 19 expressway and n the late 1970s, improved access to the Oak Hill area resulted in a the creation of many service jobs. Today, more than two million tourists visit the Oak Hill region, and the New River Gorge area. Many new residential developments are being located in the Oak Hill area.
In 2006 the city took no action to preserve its most-popular historic site -- a former Pure Oil Station, where Hank Williams, Country music legend was discovered dead while in route through southern West Virginia. The building was razed in 2007.
Oak Hill, birth place of harmonica player
Charlie is famous mainly as a harmonica player in country music but is also an
accomplished guitarist and trumpeter. He is from Fayetteville, and was born at Oak Hill.
As you pull onto the parking lot the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce in Oak Hill you see a monument to the coal miner. In gratitude to those miners who toiled so long in the killing coal dust, it was dedicated on December 4, 1995, by irony or design, the Feast of St. Barbara, patroness of coal miners. A symbol for all coal miners, the 5 ½ feet tall statue created by Nick Parrendo, an artist for Hunt Glass in Pittsburgh, PA, shows a working miner with his hard hat, shovel, carbide lamp and a bucket of coal.
Envisioned by Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus Council No. 10,347 in Oak Hill, then parish priest, Father Harold Moore, was the driving force behind the project. He originally planned to erect a memorial at the Catholic Cemetery in Scarbro but soon realized it should represent all coal miners of every race and creed not just Roman Catholic miners buried at Scarbro. In support of the project, United Mine Workers Districts 17 and 29 provided some of the funding for the monument.
Listing 102 mine disasters beginning at Newburg on January 21, 1886 and ending at Fairview on February 6, 1986 the monument commemorates the loss of 2,584 souls. Experts will say that a “mine disaster” carries off at least five souls. Since the 1960’s the total was lessened to three fatalities. In fact, a fatality of one is a disaster of monumental proportion.
This monument also bears witness to the deaths of about 700 lives lost due to the Hawks Nest Tunnel tragedy in the mid-1930s. With a workforce of 3000, the plan was to carve a tunnel four miles through the heart of Gauley Mountain in order to divert water from the New River to provide hydroelectric power for a Union Carbide plant. Unfortunately, it went straight through silica rock. The cost was too high - hundreds of migrant workers, a large portion of them African-American, died from silicosis while building this tunnel during the Depression Era. It is still referred to as one of the worst industrial disasters of all time.
For those men and boys of all races and creeds who worked and died in the depths of the earth to provide a better life.
Mrs. Marian McQuade of Oak Hill
Founder of National Grandparents Day
National Grandparents Day was created in 1978 by a federal proclamation, passed by Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter. National Grandparents Day was first celebrated on Sunday, September 9, 1979.
But Grandparents Day really began much earlier as the brainchild of Marian Herndon McQuade, a West Virginia homemaker and mother of 15 children.
Following article courtesy of The Wall
By Stephen Miller
After Marian McQuade's 15 children grew up, she set out to provide companionship for the lonely by lobbying for what became National Grandparents Day.
An official U.S. holiday since President Jimmy Carter signed it into law in 1979, Grandparents Day doesn't have quite the visibility of America's favorites, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, but an estimated two million cards are sent each year, according to the Greeting Card Association. Hallmark Cards Inc. offers 72 designs for the day, including one with a recordable chip inside to send grandparents 10 seconds of a grandchild's voice.
But long-distance love and greeting cards were almost the opposite of what Mrs. McQuade, who died Sept. 26 at age 91, had in mind.
The wife of the president of a West Virginia coal-mining company, she followed a family tradition of providing companionship and help for old people. In 1956, she helped start what became West Virginia's "Past 80 Party," an annual event honoring octogenarians.
She began by working in nursing homes and sat on several state aging commissions. In 1970, she ran for Congress, campaigning on the gerontology issue. She wasn't elected, but in 1972, she helped persuade President Richard Nixon to declare a one-time National Shut-In Day. When Congress failed to act to make it an annual event, she began lobbying each of the state governments for an Elderly Day.
"The people who know about these things told her it would have a better chance if it was Grandparents Day," says her daughter, Patricia McQuade.
West Virginia was the first state to create a Grandparents Day, in 1973, on the first Sunday after Labor Day, for the autumn of one's life. Twenty-one more states followed in 1974. Congress finally acted in 1978, keeping that date convention.
Motherly but fit, Mrs. McQuade made an ideal spokeswoman for the movement, but found that there were those who sought to use her image to sell cards, flowers and even life insurance. At one point, she sued the founder of the National Council for the Observance of Grandparents Day, when he named her as president and tried to make marketing alliances with gift companies.
"It's not for grandparents like me to get presents," she told the Los Angeles Times in 2003. "It's to alleviate some loneliness."
Still, the tendency to make the day about cards continued. In 2003, the U.S. Postal Service honored Mrs. McQuade with a commemorative envelope to celebrate Grandparents Day's 25th anniversary.
National Grandparents Day has its hazards. In research conducted by Hallmark, the majority of grandparents surveyed "expressed regret that they didn't receive a card, call or gift," according to spokeswoman Sarah Kolell.
Blessed with 43 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, Mrs. McQuade was confined to a wheelchair and lived in recent years in an old folks' home in Oak Hill, W.Va. When a nurse told her that family members were coming to celebrate the 25th anniversary, she said, "Well, I'll believe it when I see it.
Associated Press Article
Oak Hill, West, VA -- Marian McQuade, who convinced governors, Congress and then-President Jimmy Carter to set aside a special day to honor grandparents, has died. She was 91.
McQuade died Friday morning from heart failure, her granddaughter Erin McQuade Kennedy said.
Born in 1917 in Caperton, McQuade started working on senior issues in 1956 when she helped organize an event honoring West Virginia's octogenarians. She served as vice-chairwoman of the West Virginia Commission on Aging and was appointed to the Nursing Home Licensing Board.
McQuade, a mother of 15, grandmother of 43 and great-grandmother to 15, launched her campaign to honor grandparents in 1970.
West Virginia was the first state to recognize grandparents in 1973. She petitioned the rest of the nation's governors and Congress to set aside the day. In 1978, Carter signed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as Grandparents Day.
On the 10th anniversary of Grandparents Day, the Postal Service issued a commemorative envelope bearing McQuade's likeness.
January 18, 1917 - September 26, 2008
Published: November 13, 2007
"New River" tabbed as new elementary name
FAYETTEVILLE — Flowing out of the mouths of babes comes New River as the preferred designation for the new elementary school rising off Oyler Avenue in Oak Hill.
At a press conference at the Fayette County Schools central office Thursday, officials revealed that students from the three schools — Oak Hill, Oak Hill East End and Scarbro elementaries — which will merge in about a year at the new facility opted for the name New River Elementary to lead them into their new surroundings.
Being built on the campus of Oak Hill High School and the Fayette Institute of Technology, will cover 71,628 square feet and will feature over 50 classrooms and learning centers. It will accommodate a student population of 675.
OAK HILL HIGH SCHOOL
Grades 9 thru 12
Near By: Thurmond 3.7 Miles - Fayetteville 6.1 Miles
Fayette County Index