Back at the height of the coal boom in the early part of the 20th century Clinchco had approximately 3500 miners in the town alone.
This is the only coal company building still remaining in Clinchco and at one time or another housed a bank, barber shop, company offices, printing press, school rooms, mortuary, and post office.
Today, Clincho is a shell of its former self. The school has closed but the post office remains in operation at a different location.
Dante, Virginia is located in western Russell County near the Dickenson County border. At one time in the early 20th century, Dante was the northern terminus of the Clinchfield Railroad. In fact, it was such a booming town that at one time the Headquarters for the Clinchfield Railroad was located in Dante. The town, and this station is given much credit to opening up and developing the coalfields in neighboring Dickenson County.
I cant find a definite opening date for this train station but Im guessing sometime around 1900 would be correct.
Recently CSX has wanted to demolish the structure and the community has fought to save and restore the building, but as you can see from my photos as of September, neither side have saw their plans come to fruition.
What’s really shocking and sad about this depot is the rapid decay of the building. While researching I saw some photos shot at this depot in 2011 and the building looked much more structurally sound than as it stands today.
My guess is that unless something big doesnt come along and soon, this historic depot will be lost forever.
Clinchco, and all of Dickenson County, Virginia is a very interesting place to me. Dickenson County is the youngest of the Virginia counties. It was formed in 1880 from portions of Wise, Buchanan and Russell Counties.
Back when I first started with my fascination of exploring rural areas and more specifically coal mining areas I ran across Dickenson County and the small town of Clinchco specifically on a cold March morning in 2008.
on that day I explored the tiny town of Clinchco which sits along side state route 83 and the McClure River. While I was driving through I just really was captivated by the rugged feel of the town. I started following the news coming out of Clinchco and Dickenson County.
I remembered the school and how new-like it seemed and had hoped it would remain open for the town. Then I got to reading about the flood proofing going on in town and all of the contracts with the Army Corp of Engineers. For some reason, this school was built in the 100 year flood plain. Why? I have no idea. The plan was to replace this school and the school at Sandlick with a consolidated school out of the flood plan.
then in 2011 many Virginia school divisions, including Dickenson County were faced with deep budget cuts. The enrollment at Clinchco Elementary had fallen to 164 and on July 20, 2011 in a 4-0 vote the Dickenson County Board of Education voted to close the school. School boundaries were redrawn and students from Clincho were divided among Sandlick and Ervinton.
According to sources I have found online from press releases and such from teh US Army Corp of Engineers, as part of the flood proofing project and work going on in Dickenson County, this building will be demolished. Such a shame that the building has to be tore down and destroyed.
The building and grounds seem to remain relatively untouched since it was closed in 2011.
Who knows how many days left this building has to be standing. Im very happy to be able to provide these images and documentation to what was Clinchco Elementary School.
****UPDATE**** December 22, 2016: Thanks to a facebook friend I have learned that the school at Clinchco has been demolished and the lot completely cleared.