MERCER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY WEST VIRGINIA

You don't know where you're going unless you know where you've been. Dedicated to preserving Mercer County's rich history.

Historic Info and Photos




The Bluefield Daily Telegraph


The Bluefied Telegraph came into existance in as a weekly newspaper in 1893. Purchased by Hugh Shott in 1895, it became the leading source of new for the bustling Pocahantas coalfields. At that time it became a daily paper and was renamed the Blufield Daily Telegraph.

The paper's first edition had 300 customers. Henry Rodgin became the first delivery boy at age 11. He also promoted the paper and during his career saved enough money to open a jewelry store on Bluefield Avenue.

Princeton

Princeton is the county seat of Mercer County. At an elevation of 2,449 feet, it is the highest county seat east of Denver, CO.

Princeton's history began in 1837 when Mercer County was formed from Giles and Tazewell counties. Mercer County is named after the Revolutionary War general Huge Mercer. Princeton got its name when he was mortally wounded in the battle of Princeton, NJ. The courthouse was constructed during this time period.

The first bank, the Princeton Savings Bank, was established in 1851. In 1850 the first Methodist Church was built and in 1855, the Methodists and Baptists built a church at New Hope.

By 1860, Princeton had 40 houses and two hotels.

During the Civil War, around 1862, Confederate general Walter Jenifer ordered the town burned to prevent from falling into the Union Army's hands. The only buildings that survived were David Hall's home, Aspenwald, the McNutt house and George Pearis' home on Main Street.

The most famous battle during the Civil War was the Battle of Pigeon Roost.

At the turn of the century, Princeton's population was 500 people. In 1905, the building of the railroad began. It was completed in 1909 and Princeton's population grew to 1,000.

Hospitals were built in 1912 and again in 1918. The latter, the Memorial Hospital remained open until Princeton Community Hosptital opened in 190.

By 1927 Princeton was a bustling community with sixty stores, three banks, four hotels and other businesses. The Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1927.

Princeton continued to grow until the late 1970's when the coal mining automation began causing massive lay offs in this supporting industry. Many stores closed and unemployed miners left to find work elsewhere.

Today, Princeton is in the midst of a revival. Many of the empty stores have been renovated and repurposed. It boasts a historic district with a railroad museum. Many new stores have opened outside the orginal business district.


cache/wst.opf.4374459.xml