Daniel Shumate and Milly Callison with their three sons settled Rich Creek and built their first log home in 1780. Later in 1787 Daniel received a land grant for 387 acres and built his second log home near a large spring knoll overlooking the river.
The people of Rich Creek came to know this home as “Riverside, home of the Hardin Shumates” until 1981 when it was sold to Emory and Louise Eaton. However, white settlers came across Rich Creek back in 1671 when the Batt and Fallam Expedition came to a halt when Indian guides refused to go any further. They burned their initials in a tree and claimed the territory for King Charles II of England.
The early settlers in Rich Creek were Scotch, Irish, Germans, and Englishmen. They brought a horse or two, a cow, a long rifle, and a dog. Their main tool was the axe, which they used to cut down trees and the like. Christian Peters established one of the earliest mills of the area on the banks of Rich Creek.
Rich Creek steadily grew into a lovely little town. In 1882, the North and West came to Lurich, which could be reached by ferry or horse, and provided an outlet to Mercer County, West Virginia. About twenty years later the Virginian Railroad came through. Then the 1920s brought Farmer’s and Merchant’s Bank and electric lights. In 1930, a modern four-room school with a library was built which taught seven grades.
The population began to grow in the 1940s with the coming of Celco, and in 1946 the town was incorporated. Growth continued and in 1954 a Municipal Hall was built. At this time the main street was Virginia Avenue. Rich Creek lost the Virginian Railroad when Route 460 was four-laned.
The 1970s brought Elmac Incorporated, the Commonwealth Bolt, and a Health Center. A Foodland, Tastee Freeze, Delicatessen, Beauty Shops, and Restaurants came to town. Today the people are proud of Woodland Park and Cemetery. Rich Creek provides a gateway to many delightful towns in West Virginia. (Elmac Incorporated is now United Hydraulics; Commonwealth Bolt is now Jenmar Corporation; Foodland is now Jewell's IGA; Tastee Freeze is now Burger Boy and the deli is closed.)
*This information courtesy of gilescounty.org.
1. Airplane Service Station - Located where Corner Market now stands. Ran by Sid Freeman's father and Togo Spangler (Jean & Alfred's father).
2. American Block Plant - Located where VB Mart (Marathon) now stands.
3. Back Side of Main Street - Where Fire Dept. now stands.
L to R: W.O. Woodson Wholesale, Cecil Bradley Home, Acie Adair Grocery.
4. Lamar Mann's. He made furniture and caskets there.
5. The first Post Office in Rich Creek. You entered through the first door on the right. W.G. Gwinn was the postmaster.
6. Virginian Railway Depot and tool house. Located where IGA Jewel's now stands. The railroad is now RT 460.
7. The originial restaurant. It burned down and was rebuilt. Central Restaurant is now located there.
8. Service Station - Tommy Hudson now owns and operates this.
9. L to R: Farmer's & Merchants Bank, Mac McClaugherty Barber Shop, Blondie Ganoe's Beauty Shop, Whitten's Department Store, O.O. Spangler's Grocery.
10. Main Street of Rich Creek 1942. Big red building was American Block Plant (on right).
11. Virginian Railway Train.