Paw Paw, West Virginia

We intended our first stop to be Paw Paw,West Virginia to visit John’s high school friend Reed, and his wife Deborah. We will now save this stop for another trip and head straight to Charlottesville to make up for our delayed trip start. I would like to share what I discovered about this tiny town anyway. Paw Paw, named after the fruit tree that is native to the area, had a population of 410 people in 2020. Paw Paw is known for the Paw Paw tunnel through the mountain, The C&O Canal Company started work on the tunnel in 1836 estimating that it would take 2 years to build; it was built to save them from digging 6 miles of canal on the Potomac River. The canal’s main cargo was coal, brought from Cumberland Maryland and stops along the way to Washington DC. Due to riots, labor strikes by the Irish, English and German workers, fund shortages and difficulty digging through loose shale, the 3,118 ft tunnel through the mountain was not finished until 14 years later.  It sounds like it might not have been such a great investment. When the tunnel finally did open, there were often bottlenecks because it was impossible for boats to turn around or pass. Today the hiking trail through the tunnel is maintained by the National Park Service.

Another interesting fact about Paw Paw is that that grammy award winning Texas swing band, Asleep at the Wheel got their start on a farm in Paw Paw. West Virginia.

Stay tuned! Next I will report from Charlottesville.

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