Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 24

MOUNTAIN CURIOS
SNOWSHOE MOUNTAIN RESORT

WEST VIRGINIA 4,800-FOOTER

The Four Lives of Cheat Mountain
Over the last 160 years, the identity of the peak has changed, changed, changed and changed again.
By CHRIS OLSON

W
This informational marker is
just north of the Cheat River,
and marks the former site of Fort
Milroy.

TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT:
* Fort Milroy rendering,1861.
* Harvesting timber near Cheat's summit in the
early 1900s.
* Cass was once home to a bustling train
station and numerous families who brought life
to the railway.
* Snowshoe Mountain Resort is among the
Southeast's premier winter destinations.

24

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

hile you may think you know West
Virginia's Cheat Mountain, thanks to
the popular ski resort at its southern
summit, there are stories to this mountain
that go far beyond sliding down its snowcovered flanks.
1. It was a Civil War battle site. Chosen for its key positioning at the entrance to
the Tygart Valley, Cheat Mountain Summit,
or Fort Milroy as it was also known, became
the Union Army's highest known fortification during the Civil War (4,000-plus feet). In
fact, Confederate General Robert E. Lee once
laid siege upon the fort in an unsuccessful
attempt to gain control of what was then
western Virginia. The fort's significance was
short-lived, however, when a harsh winter in
1861, perhaps a foreshadowing nod to the
mountain's future potential, claimed numerous Union soldiers and livestock. The fort
was abandoned in early 1862.
2. Next up: Logger's heaven. As the
Civil War ended, resource demands of a
growing nation and its accompanying infrastructure soon created new allure to the
hills surrounding Cheat. Industrious men and
women of the late 1800s set their sights on
the expansive wealth of timber on the flanks
of the mountain. Grueling physical labor and
complex rail solutions brought tracks of the
West Virginia Pulp & Paper Company to the
summit of Cheat on January 30th, 1901. The
mountain was, officially, open for extraction,

and for nearly 30 years it would be logged
extensively, as lumber from Cheat, Spruce
and White Top was brought down the mountain and shipped to market.
3. The drive for coal. When Western
Maryland, an emerging rail company, purchased the lines that navigated to the summit of Cheat in 1928, their sights were set
not on what was above ground, but what was
below. Coal soon surpassed timber as the
main export from the ridges of Cheat during
the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. As America's train era
began to slow, so did demand for coal. A new
chapter in Cheat's history was about to begin.
4. Snowshoe Mountain Resort. The
latest chapter in Cheat Mountain's history
can be attributed to Dr. Tom Brigham, a dentist from North Carolina, who envisioned
a ski resort while gazing upon the barren
summit in 1972. Adding economic drivers to
a struggling Appalachia and providing topnotch winter recreation for folks throughout
the southeast, Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort has ushered millions of visitors to the
flanks of Cheat Mountain since first opening
its slopes in 1974.
So, next time you're admiring the view
from Snowshoe's Top of the World, remember, that while a lot has changed in the Blue
Ridge Mountains over the last 160 years, our
allure for Cheat Mountain, the summit you'll
be standing on, remains as strong as ever, if
in different ways over the decades.


http://www.BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/BRCSO21
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brcja21
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2021_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2021_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2021_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_11_12
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20170102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20151112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20141112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20131112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130708
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com