Richwood is located at the confluence of the North Fork and South Fork of the Cherry River in Nicholas County, at 2,268 feet above sea level. Founded as a sawmill town by the Cherry River Boom and Lumber Company, Richwood was incorporated in 1901. The area originally was known as Cherry Tree Bottoms but was renamed Richwood to reflect the wealth of timber in the area.
By the 1930s, with a population of 7,000, Richwood was home to several factories, including the largest sole leather tannery and the largest clothespin factory in the world. Neither survives today. The 2010 population was 2,051. The West Virginia Hillbilly, a colorful weekly newspaper with national circulation, was published in Richwood. Its editor, Jim Comstock, was one of the best-known West Virginians until his death in 1996.
Richwood remains notorious for the Feast of the Ramson, an annual ramp festival held in April. Richwood bills itself as the Ramp Capital of the World. Another annual event, the Cherry River Festival, is held in August.
In 1933, there were two Civilian Conservation Corps camps established near Richwood. Camp Woodbine was located north of Richwood on the Cranberry River at the current site of the Woodbine picnic area. Camp Cranberry was also located on the Cranberry River, near the current site of the Cranberry Recreation Center. These two camps, along with others operated by the U.S. Forest Service, were involved in forest management and protection. The annual CCC reunion in Richwood, which began in 1978, takes place at the former site of Camp Woodbine. As many as 500 people attend this event, including alumni from CCC camps all over the country. The Richwood Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
Read the National Register nomination.
This Article was written by Amy Donaldson Arnold
Last Revised on February 12, 2013
Harr, Milton. The CCC Camps in West Virginia. Charleston: Milton Harr, 1992.
Comstock, Jim, ed. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia vol. 19. Richwood: Jim Comstock, 1976.
Craig, A. L. City of Richwood. Reprint, Clarksburg Exponent Telegram, 5/8/1927.