The Andrew Turnbull Network


The Roads and Rails of Mercer County, WV /

WV 67 and WV 10

[WV 67] [WV 10] [WV 10]
[WV 10]
Highway Start Terminus Length (km)
WV 10 (current alignment) Wyoming County line near Arista US 19, Lake Shawnee 22
WV 67 and 10 (original alignment) Wyoming County line near Arista US 19 (now CR 19/29) near Glenwood 35


West Virginia Route 10 is Mercer County's lightly-travelled northwest-southeast highway, linking Princeton to Huntington by splitting the difference roughly halfway between the US 52 corridor and the West Virginia Turnpike. In Mercer County, the most significant town it passes through (or ex-town, as the case may be) is of an uncountable number of habited places that spent 70 years or more shrinking to nothing due to an unwillingness to find a justification for existence other than coal.

[WV 10 map]

(WV State Road Commission, 1922)

The highway changed dramatically during its earliest years. When the West Virginia state highway system came into existence in 1922, it was numbered off as "67" and had its southern terminus in Glenwood, southwest of Princeton. WV 67 ran as far north as Logan County, where WV 10 continued on to Huntington.

By 1931, WV 67 had been renumbered as an extension of WV 10. Two years later, the highway had been switched to an entirely new routing southeast of Matoaka, exiting the town eastward rather than southward and ending at Lake Shawnee 7 kilometres north of its original terminus. The previous routing of WV 67 and WV 10 in Mercer County then became the basis for a new highway that would go through routing changes of its own over the next fifty years: WV 71.


WV 10 was routed atop a mix of new and pre-existing infrastructure. Many of the roads that make up the highway's present-day course were originally built between the 1890s and 1910s, with the exception of the segment crossing the county line near Arista (which may have been new construction explicitly for WV 67 in 1922) and the newly-built early 1930s realignment east of Matoaka.

Points of interest

[WV 10]

All photos by the author, 2013:

[WV 10 photo]

A: The southwest end of WV 10's current route starts at Lake Shawnee, an artificial pond located 7 kilometres north of Princeton on US 19. The Lake Shawnee area has a fair amount of local infamy as being the place where the first white settlers in the vicinity met a grisly demise in the eighteenth century. Lake Shawnee is also home to an abandoned amusement park built atop an indigenous burial ground, which hardly reduces the heebie-jeebie factors. The park closed in the 1960s, briefly reopened in the 1980s, and has basically been in stasis for the last thirty years.

[WV 10 map] [WV 10 map]

B: As WV 10 approaches Matoaka, it also approaches the division point between its pre- and post-1933 routings. But which way did it go? The 1966 photorevision of the USGS' 1924 base map for Matoaka (first map) shows the post-1933 WV 10 following a ponderous and twisting course form Lashmeet to Matoaka atop a road that dates to the nineteenth century. This is contradicted by the WV State Road Commission's circa-1935 map (second map) that clearly shows WV 10 following its present-day alignment and the old twisty road relegated to lesser status as CR 71/1. Given the evidence, I'm inclined to believe that the SRC map is correct and the USGS simply got confused when overlaying highways upon a base map that didn't originally contain them. There's a reason they redrew all the quadrangles in the 1960s, after all!

[WV 10 photo]

C: WV 10 is a lightly-trafficked road, and few automotive facilities are open along the route...but in decades past, gas stations and service garages abounded. This uglily-remodelled Gulf station (which survived conversion to Chevron in the 1980s) stands at Matoaka's northern edge, where the highway takes an unusually-sharp acute-angle turn into the town.

[WV 10 photo]

Matoaka is one of a seemingly uncountable number of Appalachian towns that sprung up spontaneously in the early 20th century for one express purpose only: To provide services for the coal industry, and the local miners forced to rely on a health- and labour-abusive industry for their own survival. Though the town stopped growing almost as soon as it started, a vestige of a commercial strip remains from the town's 1920s "heyday." WV 10 bypasses the strip, however, by taking a course one block east.

[WV 10 photo]

Just south of the previous scene, WV 10's current alignment passes over Widemouth Creek on its way out of Matoaka. The bridge bears a plaque dated 1948, suggesting that the highway was rerouted that year. But was it? I don't know...and unfortunately, none of the maps I've seen are detailed enough for me to tell for sure.

[WV 10 photo]

D: West of Matoaka WV 10 passes the church of Mack Wolford, the Pentecostal pastor who briefly brought Matoaka to international prominence in 2012 when he was killed by the snakes that he handled. The course of the road gets increasingly hairy on the outskirts of the county, with several hairpin curves near Arista. Finally it clears the Flat Top Ridge that forms the Mercer County-Wyoming County border, and continues to places further on.

Fractional spur roads

[WV 10]

CR 10/1 through CR 10/8 were numbered off eastly from Wyoming County to Lake Shawnee as part of the original fractional number allocation circa 1935, with higher-numbered roads being later additions. It's plainly evident that the fractional highway system came into existence after WV 10's 1933 rerouting, since no child roads (save 10/7) touch the older alignment.

The town streets of Matoaka, West Virginia make up a clump of numbers from 10/23 through 10/31. As with Bramwell, it seems certain that the town surrendered its streets to the state when the town's tax base became too small to account for its own maintenance.

Road Names Start Terminus Length (km) Notes
10/1 Springton Mountain Rd. WV 10 near Wenonah CR 6 3 Original 1930s assignment.
10/2 Smokeless-Piedmont Rd. WV 10, Smokeless dead end, Piedmont 4 Original 1930s assignment.
10/3 Old Giatto-Wyoming Rd. CR 10/15, Giatto CR 1, Wyoming County line 10 Original 1930s assignment.
10/4 Cemetery Hill Rd. WV 10, Matoaka CR 11/2 near Matoaka 2 Original 1930s assignment.
10/5 Church Hollow Rd. WV 10, Matoaka CR 6 6 Original 1930s assignment.
10/6 Pocosin Fork Rd. WV 10 near Lashmeet CR 6 2 Original 1930s assignment.
10/7 Rock River Rd. WV 10 near Lake Shawnee WV 71 (former WV 10), Rock 9 Original 1930s assignment.
10/8 Cabin Branch Rd. WV 10 near Lake Shawnee CR 19/13 near Lake Shawnee insignificant Original 1930s assignment. Former alignment of WV 10's predecessor road.
10/9 Itmann Rd. WV 10, Smokeless dead end insignificant
10/10 (unknown name) CR 10/11, Giatto dead end insignificant
10/11 Old Matoaka Rd. WV 10, Matoaka CR 11, Weyanoke 2 May or may not be a former alignment of WV 10.
10/12 (unknown)
10/13 (unknown)
10/14 Weyanoke Rd. CR 10/11, Weyanoke dead end insignificant
10/15 Old Smokeless Rd. CR 10/15, Giatto CR 10/11, Giatto insignificant May or may not be a former alignment of WV 10.
10/16 (unknown)
10/17 Left Fork Rd. CR 10/6 near Lashmeet dead end insignificant
10/18 (unknown)
10/19 Broyles Rd. WV 10 near Hiawatha dead end insignificant
10/20 Cortez St., Presbyterian Ave. WV 10, Lashmeet WV 10, Lashmeet insignificant Loop
10/21 Arthur St. WV 10, Lashmeet WV 10/20, Lashmeet insignificant
10/22 Peony Rd. WV 10 near Arista dead end 3
10/23 Carter Hill St. WV 10, Matoaka dead end insignificant
10/24 Barger St. WV 10, Matoaka CR 10/27, Matoaka insignificant
10/25 Bailey St. CR 10/24, Matoaka dead end insignificant
10/26 Thompson Hill Rd. CR 10/25, Matoaka dead end insignificant
10/27 Bridge St., Mercer Ave. WV 10, Matoaka WV 10/5, Matoaka insignificant
10/28 Murillon Loop CR 10/20, Matoaka CR 10/20, Matoaka insignificant Loop
10/29 Stonebrook Rd. WV 10 near Lashmeet dead end insignificant
10/30 Court St. CR 10/31, Matoaka dead end insignificant
10/31 Short St. WV 10, Matoaka dead end insignificant
10/32 Ruritan Ln. WV 10, Lashmeet dead end insignificant
10/33 Clover Bottom Rd. WV 10, Lake Shawnee CR 10/34 insignificant
10/34 Bluedove St. WV 10, Lake Shawnee dead end insignificant

[Home] The Network [Back] Mercer County

Valid XHTML 1.0! ©2019 Andrew Turnbull.
Last update 18 November 2019.