Two developments turned Rainelle, West Virginia, from a booming town to another place headed to oblivion.  The Meadow River Lumber Company, once the world’s largest hardwood sawmill, sold to Georgia Pacific who closed the mill.  And the Interstate Highway 64, engineered to follow U. S. 60 near Rainelle, was diverted 20 miles south.

Two external decisions crippled Rainelle.  Now, many people are working together to reinvent the Town as a regional shopping center, outdoor recreation Mecca, renewable energy demonstration project, and as once again an excellent place to live, work, play, raise a family, and retire.  In short, they are trying to enforce founder John Raines’ statement at the beginning of the Great Depression:

The West Virginia Review (March 1929) published an article entitled “The Largest Hardwood Lumber Plant in the World: Meadow River Lumber Company, Rainelle, West Virginia.” The author interviewed John Raine in his hotel room in Charleston, where he was serving as the Greenbrier County representative to the House of Delegates – the first Republican elected from Greenbrier County in fifty years.

The article looks at the history of the man and the company, but shares his insight into the future and his optimism. The last paragraph of the article reads;

“The time of the temporary lumber camp has passed. The modern town with all advantages is ushered in; a permanent town, built to carry on.”

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