Centralia

GPS: 38.623, -80.568
ELEVATION: 1,066 Feet

This historic marker gives Centralia credit for being at the "center" of West Virginia.

This historic marker gives Centralia credit for being at the “center” of West Virginia.


Centralia (pronounced Sin-Trail-Ya) is in a remote and beautiful location where County Route 17 crosses Laurel Creek. It is surrounded by the Elk River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) which includes Sutton Lake, a large public hunting area, campgrounds, and other facilities for outdoor recreation. In the summertime Sutton Lake is over 14 miles long and has a surface area of 1,440 acres with 40 miles of shoreline. The dam was completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1961 at a cost of $35 million.

The town was named for being in the “center: of West Virginia – geographically and by population”.

With a rich logging history, Centralia had one of the largest band mills in the nation. It was also the largest voting precinct in Braxton County. The town’s population peaked around 1938, when the mill burned down. A&O Railroad operates the tracks which still running through town, now with two coal trains a day.

Achival Photos from the James G. Fowler Collection


 

Today Centralia’s awesome beauty along with the facilities at Sutton Lake attract tourists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts from Spring through Fall. “There are places where you can see hundreds of thousands of acres,” said long time resident Karl Browning with pride. “I have travelled all over the Eastern U. S. and worked in Virginia and Ohio, but Centralia is home for me. I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere.” Mr. Browning owns and operates Ruth’s Carry Out which is a convenience store and “hang-out” with a pool table. It also has a small number of camping spots. For information about Ruth’s Carry Out call 304-765-2148.

Barker’s Grocery is on Bakers Run, near Bakers Run Campground. It was opened in 1967 by current owner Barbara Turner’s parents. Ms. Turner took it over in 1984. “It’s pretty hectic with tourists in the Summer season,” explains Ms. Turner. “But it’s really quiet the rest of the year. I enjoy watching deer, turkey and squirrels play.” Barker’s has 15 full hook-up campsites, storage for campers, boats and RVs, and a store that sells convenience items, firewood, camping supplies, and bait. For information about Barker’s Grocery and other services call 304-765-5140.

If you have information about Centralia that you would like to share, please submit by email to CAEZ Marketing.

 Fishermen are enjoying the banks of Sutton Lake.

Fishermen are enjoying the banks of Sutton Lake.

Laurel Creek enters Sutton Lake near Bakers Run Campground.

Laurel Creek enters Sutton Lake near Bakers Run Campground.

A&O Railroad uses the dual tracks running through Centralia to haul coal.

A&O Railroad uses the dual tracks running through Centralia to haul coal.

Karl Browning, owner of Ruth’s Carry Out shows off the trophies of deer he has killed.

Karl Browning, owner of Ruth’s Carry Out shows off the trophies of deer he has killed.

 Storage for campers, boats and RVs is a large part of Barker’s Grocery’s business.

Storage for campers, boats and RVs is a large part of Barker’s Grocery’s business.

 Barbara Turner, owner of Barker’s Grocery, greets visitors to the store personally.

Barbara Turner, owner of Barker’s Grocery, greets visitors to the store personally.

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Homes in Centralia, West Virginia

Homes in Centralia, West Virginia

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