Historic Railroad Map of West Virginia - 1883

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Map showing the West Virginia Midland Railway and its connections.

The 1858 completion of the Northwestern and Virginia Railroad led to the rise of Cairo. Cairo was incorporated along the banks of the North Fork of the Hughes River. At that time the community was a booming oil town prospering with the discovery of oil-rich fields throughout the area.

West Virginia ranked high in the production of quality oil and gas, and Ritchie County was one of the leading oil producing regions in the state. The beginnings of the area’s oil industry date back to the “Wildcat Wells” of the 1860s when a well near Cairo, “Big Run”, showed great promise. After a devastating conflagration and decline at the nearby oil field, “Volcano Fields”, the industry concentrated on Cairo. Much speculation and development occurred in Cairo at the time, as reports of abundant oil fields circulated.

The West Virginia Midland Railway was a five-mile standard gauge railroad line connecting a sawmill along the Holly River with the West Virginia & Pittsburgh Railroad at Holly Junction. The West Virginia & Pittsburgh line later became part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railway system.

The West Virginia Midland Railway operated from 1883 until 1896 when it was re-chartered as the Holly River Railroad.

This map of West Virginia was published in 1883 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. It shows relief, drainage, cities, towns, and the railroad network of 1883.

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