Oak Hill developed in the early twentieth century as a regional trading center because of its close proximity to three of Fayette County's largest coal operations. The 1941 WPAsponsored West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain Statestated that Oak Hill was a “merchant's town” whose economy “revolves around the magic phrase ‘pay day at the mines.’” Those days are now gone, but Oak Hill continues to prosper. Its 2000 population of 7,589 made it Fayette County's largest urban entity. As at Mount Hope, Main Street still follows the winding route that was once the path of the Giles, Fayette and Kanawha Turnpike.
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