C&O Through the New River Gorge 2022 Calendar
Throughout the human record, there are instances of factors combining to create a completely unconventional set of historical circumstances on which we look back with wonder because of its uniqueness. Such is the case with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and the surrounding industries in the 20th century throughout the New River Gorge of West Virginia. The industrialization of the New River Gorge was a rise and fall of human technology and achievement amid one of the most rugged places in North America. It is a story of discovery, machines, nature, and human grit.
Our history is best brought to life and taught to us through living connections to a subject, era, or place. We revere the last living witnesses to wars, political dynasties, notable events, famous families, and historical tragedies. Less frequently do we recognize the real people who successfully clawed out a society that never previously existed, now vanishing into history as quickly as better-known survivors of world events. This calendar is dedicated to two living connections to railroad and industrial history in the New River Gorge, Mr. Marvin Plumley and Ms. Dorothy Jean Boley, two West Virginians who were part of, as the poet wrote, this machine in the garden. In our photographic selections, we hoped to capture this world where they lived, worked, and served. We also give thanks to their lifelong efforts ensuring their stories are not lost to time.
Ms. Dorothy Jean Boley of Hinton is believed to be the last living female wartime hire on the C&O Railway with memories that include seeing German prisoners of war captured from the Afrika Korps, traveling west through the Gorge aboard C&O trains to stateside camps, as she hand delivered paychecks to C&O road crews who were too busy to leave their trains. In her railroad career she was secretary to the division superintendent and, in her later life, dedicated her retirement to the Hinton Railroad Museum, serving as a living link to the history that organization preserves in this place.
Mr. Marvin Plumley of Meadow Bridge, West Virginia was hired onto the C&O Railway in 1967, beginning a decades-long career working various railroading jobs, including years at Thurmond, Meadow Creek, Hinton (HX), Raleigh, Gauley, Rainelle, and the White Sulphur Springs depot. From 1984 to 2007, Mr. Plumley worked for Amtrak as the station agent for Prince, West Virginia, serving the public throughout the New River Gorge. Today Mr. Plumley is an active C&O Historical Society member and volunteer, working to preserve and teach the history he witnessed, and promoting the Society's mission, especially by contributing to projects at the C&O Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge, Virginia.
Today the New River Gorge itself is silently returning to the wild, forever preserved as America’s newest national park, an example that nature is a stronger force than any technology that attempts to conquer it. But for a time, humankind conquered the wilderness, changing history and contributing to the world's progress throughout the 20th century. This calendar captures pieces from that unique intersection of history, when an industrial symphony echoed against the gorge, and people and machines briefly ruled the landscape.
– Large 12x12 size with bold dates.