Gassaway, a quintessential railroad town, was established on an 1,100-acre site in 1904 to house shops for the just-completed Coal and Coke Railroad. Henry Gassaway Davis commissioned engineer James A. Paterson to plat Gassaway, which is sited on a broad, sloping peninsula of the Elk River, near the midpoint of his railroad's termini at Charleston and Elkins. Paterson accomplished his task with panache, platting the main streets to parallel the river's peregrinations on ascending levels and connecting them with short cross streets on relatively easy grades. Tracks and shops occupied the prime flat bottomlands alongside the river while a modest civic center was surrounded by the depot, city hall, fire station, and post office. Paterson finished his work by the summer of 1905, when Gassaway was incorporated. In 2000, the population was 901.
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