Monument near Summersville, West Virginia, recalls beloved nanny goat

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Monument near Summersville, West Virginia, recalls beloved nanny goat
The goat once grazed the cliffs along US-19 near Summersville, West Virginia. (Photo courtesy Anne Johnson)

SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — A monument raised in memory of an escaped nanny goat is attracting the attention of motorists on US-19 in central West Virginia.

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The roadside curiosity stands along the four-lane expressway that crosses Powell Mountain, the second-highest summit the highway traverses between Florida and Pennsylvania.

A monument to a goat that roamed Powell Mountain has been anonymously installed. (Photo courtesy Anne Johnson)

Anonymous benefactors have raised a memorial near the windswept mountaintop—a white metal silhouette of the goat secured to a rocky ledge where it once grazed.

Anne Johnson, a photographer who became one of the goat's biggest fans, says its chosen lonely habitat spoke to the creature's spirit.

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"I think we all must remember what she gave us, what she taught us—to be strong and persevere, to love and care for one another," Johnson said.

Anne Johnson searches for signs of the Powell Mountain goat in 2019. (Photo: David Sibray)

Johnson and Dave Sibray, the editor of West Virginia Explorer Magazine, searched part of the mountain in 2019 for evidence of its survival but found no sign.

The goat's shaggy white coat rendered it conspicuous against the brown cliffs, attracting the attention of passersby, who began to look for it as they traveled the route.

In the end, Johnson said, the lifespan of a solitary goat is usually no more than a decade. However, the goat on Powell Mountain had lived beyond that, weathering winters on one of the highest peaks in the region.

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Its perseverance is what Johnson said attracted her in the beginning. According to Johnson, the goat had escaped a farm nearby at Muddlety, and though it had been captured and returned, it continuously escaped and climbed the mountain.

Sibray said he hopes the monument becomes part of a larger park area that takes advantage of westward views from the peak.

"Powell Mountain has long been known for providing views that extend more than 40 miles across the valleys of the Elk River and its tributaries," he said. "I believe there's a cultural and economic advantage to developing a small system of trails and overlooks there."

Powell Mountain is north of Summersville, West Virginia, and a half-hour drive north of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in central West Virginia.

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For more information on the monument or touring Nicholas County, contact the .


Origin of name "Polemic Run" may arguably remain a mystery

Polemic Run Road leads off the US-19 expressway near Birch River, West Virginia. (Photo courtesy David Sibray)

Each day, more than 10,000 motorists pass the turn-off onto Polemic Run Road in central West Virginia, but few leave the US-19 expressway and wander into the wooded hills to the west. If your car handles well on the backroads, the hour's journey off the beaten path in southern Braxton County is well worth the trip, no matter the season.


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