The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 28, 2012

Hinton's Railroad Days welcomes residents, visitors

— Hinton is one of West Virginia’s towns built around railroad life, and Saturday thousands lined its streets to celebrate history, family and trains and take in foods, arts and crafts.

Tina Westfall Allen and her daughter Kylie Allen made the trip to Hinton from Cincinnati as a homecoming. Tina Westfall Allen said she is originally from Hinton, and her family has deep roots with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad.

Her grandfather and great-grandfather worked on the railroad and she was spending some time Saturday looking for photos of her family, particularly C.L. Westfall, in the Hinton Railroad Museum.

Tina Westfall Allen recalled watching the steam engines roll into Hinton as a child, a sight that residents of the town do not get to experience today.

Tina Westfall Allen has made the trip to the place where she grew up for Railroad Days for more than 20 years — rarely missing the celebration over the years. This year, though, was her daughter’s first time to Railroad Days.

“It’s really cool — everyone being together and there’s a lot of history,” Kylie Allen said.

Richard Grose, a train collector and dealer from Elkview, was making his first visit to Railroad Days. Grose had a display of model trains for sale upstairs in the museum, and the celebration had enabled him to meet many new faces.

“It’s pretty neat,” Grose said of Railroad Days. “I’ve met a lot of interesting and nice people, whether they’re into trains or not.”

To further educate visitors to Railroad Days about the history of trains, especially the C&O Railroad, representatives of the Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society from Clifton Forge, Va., were present.

“Hinton was built from it (the C&O Railroad),” said Scott Greathouse, a volunteer and historian with the C&O Railway Heritage Center. “It’s good to know your history.”

Greathouse explained many visitors at Railroad Days ask for assistance in finding information about family members who once worked for the C&O.

The foot traffic and information inquiries at the booth had been “steady” throughout Saturday, he said.  

Besides searching for history and reconnecting with the past, visitors at Railroad Days had plenty of vendor booths from which to buy a variety of arts and crafts.

Debbie Clark, owner of Last Leaf Designs in Parkersburg, sold painted slate hangings Saturday afternoon. Clark said she has been to Railroad Days for the last four or five years and it has turned into one of the best shows in which she participates each year.

“Locals and visitors enjoy it,” Clark said. “I have a lot of repeat sales. Plus, my grandkids live here. I like it down here in the mountains.”

— E-mail: chiggins@ register-herald.com

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