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Thomas, West Virginia
East Avenue in Thomas in 2006
East Avenue in Thomas in 2006
Location of Thomas in Tucker County, West Virginia.
Location of Thomas in Tucker County, West Virginia.
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Tucker
Area
 • Total 4.51 sq mi (11.67 km2)
 • Land 4.46 sq mi (11.55 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.12 km2)
Elevation
3,035 ft (925 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 586
 • Estimate 
(2019)
550
 • Density 123.32/sq mi (47.61/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
26292
Area code(s) 304
FIPS code 54-80020
GNIS feature ID 1555802

Thomas is a city and former coal town in Tucker County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 586 at the 2010 census.

History

Thomas was platted in 1884. Thomas was named for Thomas Beall Davis (1828-1911), brother of Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. The Davis brothers, in 1883, opened a mine near Thomas and had coal ready to ship when their railway arrived a year later. By 1892, Davis Coal and Coke was among the largest and best known coal companies in the world and employed 1,600 people. At the peak of its operations in 1915, there were nine producing mines within a mile of the company's office in Thomas.

Immigrants flocked to the area as miners, railroad laborers, or merchants. The Company employed a man named Wladyslaw Dackiewicz as an interpreter. He could speak, read, and write eight languages and his services were much in demand with the influx of immigrants.

In 1901, in less than two hours, nearly half of Thomas (83 buildings) was destroyed by a fire. The town was quickly rebuilt with fine hotels and a new opera house. The Cottrill Opera House had a saloon on the first floor which was by far the most elegant of the eight bars located on Front Street. In 1909, Front Street (also known as First Street, Main Street, and East Avenue) was laid with brick to become the first paved street in the county.

Thomas claimed the grandest railway station between Cumberland, Maryland, and Elkins, West Virginia. Built of brick in 1901. It was destroyed by a tornado in 1944.

In 1921, coke production ceased and mining operations have diminished.

The Cottrill Opera House, Davis Coal and Coke Company Administrative Building, Fairfax Stone, and Thomas Commercial Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Thomas is located at 39°8′53″N 79°29′50″W / 39.14806°N 79.49722°W / 39.14806; -79.49722 (39.148077, -79.497174), along the North Fork of the Blackwater River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.51 square miles (11.68 km2), of which, 4.46 square miles (11.55 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water.

Climate

The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Thomas has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 269
1900 2,126 690.3%
1910 2,354 10.7%
1920 2,099 −10.8%
1930 1,660 −20.9%
1940 1,449 −12.7%
1950 1,146 −20.9%
1960 830 −27.6%
1970 713 −14.1%
1980 747 4.8%
1990 573 −23.3%
2000 452 −21.1%
2010 586 29.6%
Est. 2019 550 −6.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 586 people, 253 households, and 130 families living in the city. The population density was 131.4 inhabitants per square mile (50.7/km2). There were 345 housing units at an average density of 77.4 per square mile (29.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.5% White, 0.2% Native American, and 0.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.3% of the population.

There were 253 households, of which 17.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 48.6% were non-families. 42.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.95 and the average family size was 2.62.

The median age in the city was 56.6 years. 11.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.2% were from 25 to 44; 28.8% were from 45 to 64; and 35.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.8% male and 53.2% female.

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