From tree-lined streets and a vibrant downtown, to the hills that surround the city, Elkins is known for having all the benefits of both a small town and a larger city. With its contemporary mixture of history, commerce and arts, Elkins is now considered a ”Small Town Gem” by the West Virginia Department of Commerce. Our town celebrates its proud heritage and looks forward to continued growth. Residents and visitors enjoy:
A vibrant arts community. With the Randolph County Community Arts Center, Augusta Heritage Center, Old Brick Playhouse and the Mountain Arts District collaborative, it’s no wonder Elkins was listed as one of the 100 best small arts communities in the U.S and is a West Virginia Certified Arts Community.
Quality health care facilities. Elkins is home to the Davis Health System (DHS) which includes Davis Memorial Hospital and an extensive list of specialty services including the Cancer Care Center, Women’s HealthCare, WVU Cardiac Care, the Pain Management Center and Wound Care. Over 1,000 healthcare professionals make up the DHS which offers technology equal to that of much larger hospitals. It serves more than five counties.
Commitment to education. Elkins is fortunate to be home of Davis & Elkins College, the Randolph County Board of Education, the Randolph County Wood Technology Center and the Kump Education Center, which is currently being created. There are offerings for every age student, from Pre-K to post-baccalaureate degrees. We are also home to the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library.
Recreation and the great outdoors. You’ll find that great adventures start in your own backyard. With the best ski resorts in the south, miles of mountain biking, hiking in our national forest, access to over 500 miles of trout streams, whitewater rivers for all skill levels, an unparalleled blaze of fall colors, hunting, and award winning golf courses a “short drive” from home— it’s easy to acknowledge why our region has been recognized as one of our Nation’s top five tourism destinations!
Ideally situated as the gateway to the Monongahela National Forest, our community has long been a destination for sightseers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts alike.
The community also provides a wealth of youth activities to keep young minds sharp. Local youth organizations range from theater productions at the Old Brick Playhouse and art classes at the Randolph County Community Arts Center to youth baseball, soccer, and swimming leagues.
Elkins and the surrounding region also offer unique opportunities for youth to experience the natural wonders that surround them. Families often enjoy the benefits of living close to historic sites, state parks, and our national forests.
Canaan Valley State Park, Blackwater Falls State Park, Cass Scenic Railroad, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, and National Radio Astronomy Observatory all offer educational programs, interpretive hikes, historic rail excursions, and one-of-a-kind educational experiences for adults and youth alike. There’s always something fun and exciting to do!
Tourism. Elkins is a terminus for the Durbin Greenbrier Valley Railroad excursion trains and supports an active Railyard including the Elkins Depot Welcome Center. Travellers can also find several Branson-style music and comedy variety shows, including the American Mountain Theater, the Gandy Dancer Theatre and Franks Family shows, which attract visitors from throughout the United States. For more information go to Randolph County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Tree City, USA! Elkins proudly received Tree City, USA designation in 2009 thanks to the hard work of the Elkins Tree Board and Friends of Trees organization. The Board is an active 5-member committee made up of volunteers selected by City Council that are dedicated to preserving, replacing and maintaining trees in the city. They also assist with developing plans for plantings and grant-writing. The Friends of Trees meets monthly and includes concerned citizens who want to help manage and care for trees. Their programs include an Adopt-a-Tree Program and the city’s tree inventory. For more information, go to appalachianforest.us.
Community Support. Not only is Elkins surrounded by natural beauty, we are also encompassed in community interest and support. With the cooperation and assistance of both city-wide and county-wide organizations such as Elkins Main Street, Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, and the Randolph County Development Authority, Elkins continues to grow it’s family and business friendly community.
Despite its small size, Elkins is rich in National Register historic sites, including several National Historic Landmarks. This is due in large part to the city’s dedicated volunteer community. The Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission works hard to preserve the city’s many historic structures and neighborhoods. Both the downtown and Wees neighborhoods are listed with the National Register of Historic Places.
In the early 1900s, the city grew quickly. Davis and Elkins developed railroad lines, coal mines and timbering. Together, they built the WV Central and Pittsburgh Railway into Elkins and opened a vast territory to industrial development in the late 1890’s. In 1899, Elkins became the county seat. With those developments, the town started a building boom. By 1906, as described in “The Coming Metropolis of the State,” the town boasted of “European-style” hotels, opera houses, banks, a YMCA, brickworks, tannery and brewery. Davis Memorial Hospital and Davis & Elkins College had already been founded. The city had already attracted hundreds of rail and timbering workers as well as business entrepreneurs, all looking to make Elkins their home.
As the railroad expanded, Elkins experienced the luxury of passenger train service. In 1930, 18 passenger trains were arriving and leaving Elkins daily. The air was filled with the coal dust of steam locomotives. By the late 1950s, passenger service was discontinued and by the end of the 1980s all rail service ended. By the turn of the 21st Century, the rail yard began to be vibrant again. With a recently redeveloped depot area and tourist train service, the sound of train whistles has returned.