Reconstruction and Indus

We’d Be Millionaires if We Had It Now: Voices of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike

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In the aftermath of the Civil War, life in the new state of West Virginia changed forever. With the help of a booming railroad system, it became possible to extract the abundant natural resources of the region. By the end of the 19th Century, timber and coal were being exported from West Virginia in astonishing quantities. Capitalists of the Gilded Age found it simple to exploit cash-starved mountain families, and vast tracts of land and mineral rights were purchased for a pittance.

By the early days of the 20th Century, a previously agrarian life was transformed as farmers became loggers, miners, millhands and railroaders to keep food on the family table. Dangerous working conditions, inclement weather, and the Flu Epidemic of 1918 compounded hardships.

Stories of fortitude through hard times live on in this audio history production, the third in the four-part series, Voices of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike. Join us as local elders recall with a grim chuckle that, “We’d All Be Millionaires If We Had It Now!”

Don’t miss this CD filled with West Virginia music and ambient sound including live tree felling, teams of work horses and more.

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