Visitors can explore genuine old mountain farm in New River Gorge

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Visitors can explore genuine old mountain farm in New River Gorge
West Virginia Explorer editor David Sibray explores the historic Trump-Lilly Farm on Swell Mountain in the New River Gorge.

HINTON, W.Va. — Far from crowds that visit some of its most popular tourist attractions, the National Park Service at the New River Gorge has preserved an old-time mountain farm, providing visitors a glimpse into the past in West Virginia.

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Though access isn't provided to the interiors of the buildings, visitors are encouraged to walk the grounds of the Trump-Lilly Farm and consider how life was lived at the remote site from the late 1800s until the park service acquired it in the late 1900s.

A log barn is one of several historic buildings that remain.

According to historian Leigh McGowen, who nominated the property to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, the landmark is important because it was never modernized.

"The farm exemplifies an Appalachian frontier farmstead with more than 90 percent of its original historic fabric intact," McGowen wrote in her nomination.

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"The farm is one of a few remaining southern West Virginia farmsteads which has never been adapted to modern farming. Though West Virginia's history has been dominated by small subsistence farms, very few remain with such historical integrity."

Sibray studies wayside historical information at the farm.

Today, the farm's peacefulness likely impresses visitors as much as anything. On a quiet country road on the flank of Swell Mountain, it seems a world away from modern life, though it would have been busy with activity long ago.

The National Park Service wayside at the farm reminds visitors that life on such a farm long ago was busy. The Trump and Lilly families, for whom the farm is named, worked hard to sustain its members.

"Subsistence farming, 'living off the land,' was a full-time job for men, women, and children requiring many skills and a broad knowledge of the environment," the wayside reads.

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"Their basic needs for food, shelter, and water were not bought with money; they were acquired by all members of the family and guided all aspects of their daily lives."

A stone footbridge crosses a stream.

A QR code on the wayside and the provides a smartphone-ready walking tour of the farm.

To reach the Trump-Lilly Farm from WV-20 at Hinton, West Virginia, follow River Road (WV-26) north approximately 50 yards to a left turn onto Freezeland Mountain Road. Follow the latter 2.4 miles to the farm and a gravel parking lot.

Motorists unfamiliar with driving on a gravel road with sharp turns and steep grades should be vigilant and may wish to use extreme caution in winter during inclement weather.

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Visitors may stop by the , where rangers can provide directions and up-to-date road conditions. The visitor center's phone number is 304-466-0417. Google coordinates for the farm are 37.699560, -80.901653.

For detailed information on the farm, visit the for the national register.

DEMOLITIONS: To conserve funding, the National Park Service has proposed demolishing historic buildings at the farm and elsewhere in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia has placed these historic landmarks on its . To voice your concerns about the demolitions, contact the alliance . To voice your concerns to the park service, call 215-908-3159.


Map of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Map of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

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