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Richwood is located at the confluence of the North Fork and South Fork of the Cherry River in Nicholas County, at 2,268 feet above sea level. Founded as a sawmill town by the Cherry River Boom and Lumber Company, Richwood was incorporated in 1901. The area originally was known as Cherry Tree Bottoms but was renamed Richwood to reflect the wealth of timber in the area.

By the 1930s, with a population of nearly 6,000, Richwood was home to several factories, including the largest sole leather tannery and the largest clothespin factory in the world. Neither survives today. The West Virginia Hillbilly, a colorful weekly newspaper with national circulation, was published in Richwood. Its editor, Jim Comstock, was one of the best-known West Virginians until his death in 1996.

As factories closed in the late 1900s, Richwood lost more than half its population. The devastating 2016 flood took an even greater toll. In 2020, the city’s population was 1,661, a one-third decline since the beginning of the 21st century.

Richwood remains notorious for the Feast of the Ramson, an annual ramp festival held in April. Richwood bills itself as the Ramp Capital of the World. The Cherry River Festival, held each August, features a parade with the honorary Cherry River Navy.

In 1933, there were two Civilian Conservation Corps camps established near Richwood. Camp Woodbine was located north of Richwood on the Cranberry River at the current site of the Woodbine picnic area. Camp Cranberry was also located on the Cranberry River, near the current site of the Cranberry Recreation Center. These two camps, along with others operated by the U.S. Forest Service, were involved in forest management and protection. The annual CCC reunion in Richwood, which began in 1978, takes place at the former site of Camp Woodbine. As many as 500 people attend this event, including alumni from CCC camps all over the country. The Richwood Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

Read the National Register nomination.

This Article was written by Amy Donaldson Arnold

Last Revised on August 03, 2023


Sources

Harr, Milton. The CCC Camps in West Virginia. Charleston: Milton Harr, 1992.

Comstock, Jim, ed. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia vol. 19. Richwood: Jim Comstock, 1976.

Craig, A. L. City of Richwood. Reprint, Clarksburg Exponent Telegram, 5/8/1927.

Farley, Yvonne S. A Good Part of Life: Remembering the Civilian Conservation Corps. Goldenseal, (Jan.-Mar. 1981).

Cite This Article

Arnold, Amy Donaldson "Richwood." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 03 August 2023. Web. 24 May 2024.

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