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  • Rainelle (houses) (HABS/HAER)

Rainelle was the company town of the Meadow River Lumber Company, which John and Thomas Raine chartered in 1906. Meadow River's major product was floorboards, and the 1941 WPA guide to West Virginia enthusiastically noted that “its triple bandsaws can cut some 35,000,000 feet of lumber annually, or five carloads daily.” Some of those carloads found their way to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, others to the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

The Raines provided well for their employees, building a church, library, schools, and even a restaurant. In taped interviews with the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) in the 1970s, former workers recalled the community fondly as

the best hardwood sawmill town in the country. Workmen's houses are built with a view to comfort and sanitation. All are well constructed frame houses, plastered, papered, and painted white. All are supplied with the purest running water and most of them with modern bath rooms. Each house has its own lawn and garden patch. Some houses are furnished in native hardwoods, are steam heated, electric lighted and electric cleaned, and so compare favorably with the best type of city cottages.

Many of the houses remain, both in Rainelle and in the section of town known as West Rainelle. In 1970 the Georgia Pacific Corporation absorbed the company and closed the mills. HAER recorded the plant before it was demolished in 1975.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Rainelle", [Rainelle, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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