William Nelson Page (January 6, 1854–March 7, 1932), was a United States civil engineer, entrepreneur, capitalist, businessman, and industrialist.
Page was one of the leading developers of West Virginia's rich bituminous coal fields in the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as being deeply involved in building the infrastructure to transport the mined coal. He came to the area to help build the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and soon became involved in many coal and related enterprises in the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia.
Among his many enterprises, Page partnered with financier Henry Huttleston Rogers to plan and construct the Virginian Railway (VGN), secretly built right between two of the country's larger railroads. The well-engineered and highly efficient VGN operated very profitably and came to be known as the "Richest Little Railroad in the World."
Page was also a civic leader, a mayor of his hometown of Ansted, served in the local militia during the Spanish American War and later the West Virginia National Guard, and helped found a hospital in 1889.
The railroad town of Page, West Virginia was named for him. After his retirement in 1917, a ship which served the US Navy and the merchant marine during both world wars, the S.S. William N. Page, was named in his honor.
Early life, education, and employment
William Nelson Page was born at "Locust Grove" in Campbell County, Virginia on January 6, 1854. His parents were Edwin Randolph and Olivia (née Alexander) Page. He attended special courses in engineering at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Page became a civil engineer and between 1871 and 1876, played a role in engineering and building the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railway. He led the surveying party charged with mapping out the route of the double-track railway ordered by Congress to extend between Hampton Roads and the Ohio River via the valleys of the James River and Jackson River in Virginia, and the New River and Kanawha River in West Virginia. He directed the location and construction of several important C&O bridges. While working with the C&O, he became fascinated with the potential of the untapped mineral resources of the more rugged portions of West Virginia.
On February 9, 1882, Page married Emma Hayden Gilham. They had four children.
Entrepreneur and developer
A knowledgeable man with training and experience as a civil engineer, and the spirit of an entrepreneur, Page was exceptionally well-prepared to help develop West Virginia's hidden wealth: huge deposits of "smokeless" bituminous coal. Former West Virginia Governor William A. MacCorkle described him as a man who knew the land "as a farmer knows a field."
Page became a protégé' of Dr. David T. Ansted, a noted British geologist with large land holdings in Southern West Virginia. Page busied himself with many enterprises to develop the natural resources which lay all around him, primarily working with iron and coal operations. Of course, with his background with the C&O, Page was also into railroads.
He was the general manager of the Hawks Nest Coal Co. between 1877 and 1880, Superintendent of the Victoria Blast Furnace at Goshen, Virginia from 1880 to 1885, and located and built the Powellton bridge for the C&O between 1885 and 1889. After developing the Mt. Carbon Collieries, he organized and developed the Gauley Mountain Coal Co, and he became a consulting engineer for other coal-producing firms as well. Other involvements were Virginia and Pittsburgh Land Association (a land development company), and Pittsburgh and Virginia Railroad Company. He was later a principal of Page Coal and Coke Company.
The "Idea Man from Ansted"
William Page settled in the tiny mountain hamlet of Ansted, a town with a population of 2,000 located in Fayette County, West Virginia.
Ansted sits on high bluffs on Gauley Mountain near an outcropping of rocks called Hawk's Nest overlooking the New River far below, where the C&O tracks occupied both sides of the narrow valley. There, in 1898 while he was president of the Gauley Mountain Coal Company, Page had a palatial white Victorian mansion built by company carpenters on a knoll in the middle of town.
Col. Page, as he became known, was in truth an uniformed major in a locally recruited Spanish-American War militia. A colorful character by all accounts, he was described as a slight man who was known for his handlebar mustache, pince-nez glasses, iron bowler derby, and elegant suits. He was considered to be somewhat aloof by the local population, and could frequently be seen riding a bicycle on the sloping lawn of the mansion, where eight servants were employed.
Described years later by author H. Reid as "the Idea Man from Ansted," Page spent long hours working in the den just off the main entrance to his resplendent home. In addition to pursuing business interests, Page also found time to serve as the mayor of Ansted for 10 years and rose to the rank of brigadier inspector general in the West Virginia National Guard. He was also an incorporator and director of Sheltering Arms Hospital in neighboring Kanawha County.
However, of all of his many activities, William Nelson Page is probably best-known for the founding and building of the Virginian Railway (VGN). It started much like just another of his many projects, but would ultimately grow far beyond its original scope. The story of the building of the Virginian Railway is a textbook example of natural resources, railroads, and a smaller company taking on big business (and winning) early in the 20th century.
Building the Virginian Railway
Forming a partnership
While heading Gauley Mountain Coal Company, Col. Page made the acquaintance of financier
and industrialist Henry Huttleston Rogers
Rogers was a millionaire
who had made his initial fortune as one of the key men with the Standard Oil
Trust. He was an energetic entrepreneur
much like the younger Page, and was also involved in many rail and mineral development projects.
Col. Page knew of rich untapped bituminous coal fields lying between the New River Valley and the lower Guyandotte River in southern West Virginia in an area not yet reached by the C&O and its major competitor, the Norfolk & Western Railway (N&W). While the bigger railroads were preoccupied developing nearby areas and shipping coal via rail to Hampton Roads, he formed a plan to take advantage of the undeveloped coal lands. As his plan evolved, he got Rogers and several others to invest in it. A powerful partnership had been formed.
Deepwater Railway vs. the big railroads
Col. Page and his investors purchased the remote land in the name of Loup Creek Colliery. To access it, in 1896, he formed a small logging railroad, the Loup Creek & Deepwater (LC&D). In 1898, he filed a new charter for the LC&D to become the Deepwater Railway. It was originally planned to run only a short distance. In 1902, the Deepwater Railway charter was amended again to provide for the short-line railroad to connect with the existing lines of the C&O along the Kanawha River at Deepwater and the N&W at Matoaka. After the extension provided by the 1902 amendment, the total distance involved, all within West Virginia, was about 80 miles. By planning interchange points with the two large railroads, Page could anticipate competition and negotiation of fair rates with the only two big railroads nearby.
As Col. Page developed the short-line Deepwater Railway, he ran into an unexpected brick wall when attempting to negotiate with either of the larger railroads who he realized had considered the territory to be potentially theirs for future growth. But he got nowhere with either of them.
In those days before US anti-trust laws were applied to railroads, it was still the age of the notorious and powerful robber barons of the industrial era. It was only later revealed that the both the C&O and the N&W were essentially under the common control of the even larger Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and New York Central Railroad (NYC), whose leaders, Alexander Cassatt and William Vanderbilt respectively, had secretly entered into a "community of interests pact." The C&O and the N&W had apparently agreed with each other to refuse to negotiate with Col. Page and his upstart Deepwater Railway.
Page didn't give up as must have been anticipated. Instead, he stubbornly continued building his short-line railroad through some of the most rugged terrain of the Mountain State, to the increasing puzzlement of the big railroads. They were unaware that one of Page's investors (who were silent partners in the venture) was the powerful Rogers, who wasn't about to have the investment foiled by the big railroads. Instead, he and Page set about secretly planning and securing their own route out of the mountains and across Virginia to Hampton Roads.
Tidewater Railway: from the mountains to the sea
In 1904, Page and Rogers had Staunton, Virginia attorney Thomas D. Ranson form another intrastate railroad company. The Tidewater Railway was to be used for the portion of their mountains to the sea project to be in Virginia. As intrastate railroads, the Deepwater and Tidewater were each under jurisdiction of their respective state. Thus, they were not obviously linked to each other by the various (and usually different) attorneys handling rights-of-way cases in the local courts of each state.
Planning and land acquisition for the Tidewater Railway were done largely in secret. In his book "The Virginian Railway" (Kalmbach, 1961), author H. Reid described some of the tactics. On a Sunday in February, 1905, a group of 35 surveyors from New York disguised themselves as fishermen and rode to the location aboard a N&W passenger train. While they stood in icy water apparently "fishing" with their transit poles, the surveyors mapped out a crossing of the New River at Glen Lyn, as well as the adjacent portion of the line through Narrows to a point near Radford.
After leaving the valley of the New River, the new line was surveyed to cross the U.S. Eastern Continental Divide in a tunnel to be built near Merrimac, Virginia. After descending on the eastern side of the mountain, the new line for the Tidewater Railway essentially followed the valley of the Roanoke River past Salem and Roanoke and through the water gap formed by the river in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As the terrain changed to the more gentle rolling hills of the Piedmont region, the plan was to run almost due east to Suffolk, within just a few miles of the goal: Hampton Roads.
Deals were quietly struck with the various communities all along the way. Many were small towns and villages that had been passed by when the big railroads were building 20-25 years earlier, and the new railroad was welcomed. Even the leaders of Roanoke, home to the headquarters of the N&W, were accommodating, authorizing a path through their city along the north bank of the Roanoke River.
A coup at Sewell's Point
Perhaps most notable of all of the communities which helped make the new railroad possible was the City of Norfolk, Virginia. Norfolk & Western's coal pier and huge storage yards were at Lambert's Point near downtown Norfolk. Other big railroads, C&O, Seaboard Air Line, Atlantic Coast Line, and a Pennsylvania railroad subsidiary, had established facilities nearby as well.
Access to Hampton Roads frontage and space to build a new coal pier was crucial to the whole scheme. However, it was also very important that the big railroads not learn of the plans, or surely they would attempt to interfere.
The solution was found at an unlikely location: isolated and somewhat desolate Sewell's Point in a rural area near the mouth of Hampton Roads.
To reach Sewell's Point from Suffolk, the Tidewater Railway was plotted to run about 15 miles to the east, staying well south of the downtown Portsmouth and Norfolk harbor areas (and the other railroads). After reaching South Norfolk, the new railroad would begin a wide 180' counter-clockwise loop to the north. Trains would actually heading west when reaching Hampton Roads.
To enable the necessary routing, Norfolk's civic leaders provided a 13 mile (21 km) long right-of-way around their city. Page-Rogers' interests purchased 1000 feet (300 m) of the waterfront and 500 acres (2 km²) of adjoining land. There would be plenty of space for the new pier, storage yards, tracks, and support facilities at Sewell's Point.
The common enemy with deep pockets
In West Virginia, Page went to court to secure right-of way for the Deepwater Railway to proceed east past the earlier planned terminus (with the N&W) at Matoaka. In what may have been a near-miss with a perjury charge, upon interrogation by N&W attorneys in a West Virginia legal confrontation over right-of-way, Page representing the Deepwater Railway identified the estate of the late Abram S. Hewitt (a former mayor of New York City) as one of his investors. Page never mentioned Henry Rogers, who it is now known had been an associate of Hewitt and may have been acting through the Hewitt estate. The N&W attorneys were unsuccessful in learning more at that time, or during other confrontations as they attempted to stop the progress of the Deepwater in West Virginia.
Meanwhile, over in Virginia, with the land and route secured, in 1905 the Tidewater Railway began construction. By the time the larger railroads finally realized what was happening, and that Col Page was involved in both the Deepwater and Tidewater Railways, their new competitor could not be successfully blocked in the courts.
As the construction continued throughout 1905, Col. Page continued to meet with each of the big railroads to attempt to negotiate rates and/or perhaps sell off his growing enterprise. The leaders of the C&O and the N&W exchanged correspondence sharing their mutual concern about the "common enemy." Page did not appear to be financially capable of the project and they were skeptical that the new Deepwater and Tidewater railroads could be financed and completed. After all, they reasoned, there had been no public offering of bonds or stock, which were the way such enterprises were customarily financed at the time. The big railroads saw to it that the "negotiations" were always unproductive, and Col. Page always declined to indicate the source of his "deep pockets".
Norfolk & Western President Lucius E. Johnson tried a different tactic to block (or at least slow) construction and increase costs. He filed papers with Virginia's State Corporation Commission to attempt to force costly overpasses at proposed at-grade crossings with the N&W in Roanoke and South Norfolk, citing great concern about the potential safety hazards which would allegedly result. The state authorities ruled against N&W at both locations, and construction of the new Tidewater Railway continued.
Henry Rogers steps forward
The leaders of the big railroads heard many rumors regarding possible sources of the mysterious funding. Henry Rogers' name had been mentioned, along with just about every other wealthy industrialist. The names of many companies, including Standard Oil, had also been discussed as well as those of many other large companies.
There was a lot at stake, as the C&O and the N&W through the secret "community of interests" pact were carefully controlling coal shipping rates. Such collusion was the very game that helped Rogers make his fortune at Standard Oil.
Rumors notwithstanding, there seems to be no credible evidence that the leaders of the N&W/C&O had any confirmation of the Rogers involvement until he and Page were ready for them to know.
Finally, well into 1906, at the request of Rogers, famous industrialist turned philanthropist Andrew Carnegie brought President L. Smith of the Norfolk & Western Railway to Rogers' office in the Standard Oil Building in New York. According to Norfolk & Western's corporate records, the meeting lasted less than five minutes. Some tense and less-than-pleasant words were exchanged, and Rogers' backing had finally been confirmed.
Of course, the head of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad soon also received the news, as did the leaders of the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads. There would be an old and experienced hand at rate-making as a new player in their game.
Victoria is created
Late in 1906, near the halfway point on the Tidewater Railway between Roanoke and Sewell's Point, a new town with space set aside for railroad offices and shops was created in Lunenburg County, Virginia. It was named Victoria, in honor of Queen Victoria of England, who was long-admired by Henry Rogers.
Victoria was the location of a large equipment maintenance operation, with roundhouse, turntable coaling and water facilities for servicing steam locomotives, and a large yard.
Offices for the VGN's Norfolk Division were built by adding a second floor to the passenger station building a few years later.
Virginian Railway born, Jamestown Exposition
Early in 1907, with some portions of each still under construction, the Deepwater and Tidewater Railways were combined to become "The Virginian Railway Company." On April 15, 1907, Col. Page was elected as its first president.
About the same time, a large stretch of the eastern portion had been completed and regular passenger service established between Norfolk and Victoria. This proved just in time for the new railroad to serve the Jamestown Exposition, which was held on land adjacent to the VGN coal pier site at Sewell's Point. At the exposition, Page served as Chief of International Jury of Awards, Mines and Metallurgy.
On April 26, 1907, US President Theodore Roosevelt opened the exposition. Mark Twain was another honored guest, arriving with his friend Henry Rogers on the latter's yacht Kanawha. In addition to President Roosevelt, the newly renamed Virginian Railway (VGN) transported many of the 3 million persons who attended before the Exposition closed on December 1, 1907.
Financial panic of 1907 - Rogers has stroke
Work progressed on the VGN during 1907 and 1908 using construction techniques not available when the larger railroads had been built about 25 years earlier. By paying for work with Henry Rogers' own personal fortune, the railway was built with no public debt. This feat, a key feature of the successful secrecy in securing the route, was not accomplished without some considerable burden to Rogers, however. He had suffered some setbacks in the Financial Panic of 1907 which began in March of that year. Then, a few months later, he experienced a debilitating stroke. Fortunately, Henry Rogers recovered his health, at least partially, and saw to it that construction was continued on the new railroad until it was finally completed early in 1909.
Final spike, celebrations
The final spike in the VGN was driven on January 29, 1909, at the west side of the massive New River Bridge at Glen Lyn, near where the new railroad crossed the West Virginia-Virginia state line. The former Deepwater and Tidewater Railways were now physically connected.
In April, 1909, Henry Huttleston Rogers and Mark Twain, old friends, returned to Norfolk, Virginia together once again for a huge celebration of the new "Mountains to the Sea" railroad's completion.
They were met at the shore by a huge crowd of Norfolk citizens waiting with great excitement despite rain that day. While Rogers toured the railway's new $2.5 million coal pier at Sewell's Point, Mark Twain spoke to groups of students at several local schools. That night, at a grand banquet held in downtown Norfolk, the city's civic leaders, Mark Twain, other dignitaries, and Rogers himself spoke.
Rogers left the next day on his first (and only) tour of the newly completed railroad. He died suddenly only six weeks later at the age of 69 at his home in New York. But by then, the work of the Page-Rogers partnership to build the Virginian Railway had been completed.
Accomplishments and heritage
While neither William Page or Henry Rogers ended up running their newly completed Virginian Railway, it was arguably a crowning lifetime achievement for each man. Together, they had conceived and built a modern, well-engineered rail pathway from the coal mines of West Virginia to port at Hampton Roads right under the noses of the big railroads. The Virginian Railway could operate more efficiently than its larger competitors, had all new infrastructure, and no debt. It was an accomplishment like no other in the history of US railroading, before or since.
The new railroad opened up isolated communities in both West Virginia and Virginia and soon helped develop new coalfields and other industries.
Throughout its profitable 50 year history, the VGN continued to follow the Page-Rogers policy of "paying up front for the best." It became particularly well-known for treating its employees and vendors well, another investment which paid rich dividends. The VGN operated some of the largest and most innovative steam, electric, and diesel locomotives, and could afford to, earning the nickname "Richest Little Railroad in the World."
In time, the big railroads learned to coexist with their newer competitor, and came to regret turning down opportunities to purchase it before completion. There were many failed attempts by each of them and others to acquire the VGN.
Eventually, the owners of the VGN agreed to merge with arch-rival Norfolk & Western in 1959. In 2004, much of the former Virginian Railway is still in use by N&W successor Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS). The well-engineered low gradient VGN route helps NS compete efficiently with rival CSX Transportation (successor to the VGN's old rival C&O) and non-rail transport modes in the transportation markets of the 21st century.
The seemingly remotely-located terminal Page and Rogers planned and built at Sewell's Point played an important role in 20th century U.S. naval history. Beginning in 1917, the former Jamestown Exposition grounds adjacent to the VGN coal pier became an important facility for the United States Navy. The VGN transported the high quality "smokeless" West Virginia bituminous coal favored by the US Navy for its ships and submarines, providing a reliable supply during both World Wars. Today, the former VGN property at Sewell's Point is part of the Norfolk Navy Base, the largest naval facility in the world.
After Col. Page retired in 1917, a ship was named in his honor. William N. Page was a steamship built at Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Ship Building and Dry Dock Corp. It was taken over by the US Navy for operation by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) and commissioned on December 18, 1918. After fitting out, William N. Page loaded general cargo and locomotives and departed for France. She made several transatlantic trips through the treacherous German U-boat infested waters before finally returning to Norfolk where on May 31, 1919, she was decommissioned by the Navy. After her brief naval career, the William N. Page remained in active merchant service for nearly three decades. Her successive owners and operators included the Mystic Steamship Co., the Koppers Coal Co., and Eastern Gas and Fuel Associates. The latter two companies were majority owners of the Virginian Railway after purchasing a controlling interest from Rogers' heirs in 1936.
Col. Page died at his home in Washington, DC in 1932 at the age of 78. His mansion on the hilltop in Ansted, West Virginia still stands as evidence of the once thriving coal business. Later occupied by the Vawter family, the Page-Vawter House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearby, breathtaking Hawk's Nest overlooks the New River Gorge National River.
Formed in 2002, Virginian Railway (VGN) Enthusiasts a non-profit group of preservationists, authors, photographers, historians, modelers, and rail fans, has grown to over 400 members. Members come from as far from the VGN tracks as Australia and include U.S. troops stationed in the war-torn Middle East. A group of retired railroaders calling themselves "The Virginian Brethren" meet weekly, share tales of the VGN, and answer questions posed by members of the on-line group.
The initials "H.H.R." and 'W.N.P." were recently placed in new rail laid for a caboose to be displayed at Victoria, a town they caused to be founded on the "Mountains to Sea" railroad. Their Virginian Railway has turned out to be a lasting tribute, both to Henry Huttleston Rogers, and to William Nelson Page, the "Idea Man from Ansted".
- Barger, Ralph L. (1983) Corporate History of Coal & Coke Railway Co., Charleston, Clendennin & Sutton R.R., Roaring Creek & Belington R.R. Co., as of Date of Valuation, June 30, 1918. Baltimore, MD: Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society.
- Cartlidge, Oscar (1936) Fifty Years of Coal Mining Charleston, WV: Rose City Press.
- Conley, Phil (1960) History of the Coal Industry of West Virginia Charleston, WV: Educational Foundation.
- Conley, Phil (1923) Life in a West Virginia Coal Field Charleston, WV: American Constitutional Association.
- Corbin, David Alan (1981) Life, Work and Rebellion in the Coal Fields: The Southern West Virginia Miners, 1880-1922 Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.
- Corbin, David Alan, editor (1990) The West Virginia Mine Wars: An Anthology Charleston, WV: Appalachian Editions.
- Craigo, Robert W., editor (1977) The New River Company: Mining Coal and Making History, 1906-1976 Mount Hope, WV: New River Company.
- Dix, Keith (1977) Work Relations in the Coal Industry: The Hand Loading Era, 1880-1930 Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Institute for Labor Studies.
- Dixon, Thomas W, Jr., (1994) Appalachian Coal Mines & Railroads. Lynchburg, Virginia: TLC Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-883089-08-5
- Frazier, Claude Albee (1992) Miners and Medicine: West Virginia Memories Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
- Huddleston, Eugene L, Ph.D. (2002) Appalachian Conquest, Lynchburg, Virginia: TLC Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-883089-79-4
- Lambie, Joseph T. (1954) From Mine to Market: The History of Coal Transportation on the Norfolk and Western Railway New York: New York University Press
- Lane, Winthrop David (1921) Civil War in West Virginia: A Story of the Industrial Conflict in the Coal Mines New York, NY: B. W. Huebsch, Inc.
- Lewis, Lloyd D. (1992) The Virginian Era. Lynchburg, Virgina: TLC Publishing Inc.
- Lewis, Lloyd D. (1994) Norfolk & Western and Virginian Railways in Color by H. Reid. Lynchburg, Virginia: TLC Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-883089-09-3
- MacCorkle, William (1928) The Recollections of Fifty Years New York, New York: G.P.Putnam's Sons Publishing
- Middleton, William D. (1974) When The Steam Railroads Electrified (1st ed.). Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing Co. ISBN 0-89024-028-0
- Reid, H. (1961). The Virginian Railway (1st ed.). Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing Co.
- Reisweber, Kurt (1995) Virginian Rails 1953-1993 (1st ed.) Old Line Graphics. ISBN 1-879314-11-8
- Sullivan, Ken, editor (1991) The Goldenseal Book of the West Virginia Mine Wars: Articles Reprinted from Goldenseal Magazine, 1977-1991. Charleston: Pictorial Histories Pub. Co.
- Striplin, E. F. Pat. (1981) The Norfolk & Western : a history Roanoke, Va. : Norfolk and Western Railway Co. ISBN 0963325469
- Tams, W. P. (1963) The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Library.
- Thoenen, Eugene D. (1964) History of the Oil and Gas Industry in West Virginia Charleston, WV:
- Traser, Donald R. (1998) Virginia Railway Depots. Old Dominion Chapter, National Railway Historical Society. ISBN 0-9669906-0-9
- various contributors (1968). Who Was Who in America Volume I (7th ed.). New Providence, New Jersey: Marquis Who’s Who
- Wiley, Aubrey and Wallace, Conley (1985}. The Virginian Railway Handbook. Lynchburg, Virginia: W-W Publications.
Periodical, business, and on-line publications
- Beale, Frank D. (1955) The Virginian Railway Company 45th Annual Report Year Ended December 31, 1954. published in-house
- Cuthriell, N.L. (1956) Coal On The Move Via The Virginian Railway, reprinted with permission of Norfolk Southern Corporation in 1995 by Norfolk & Western Historical Society, Inc. ISBN 0-9633254-2-6
- Dept. of the Navy - (2004) Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships - article on steamship William N. Page. Washington DC: US Naval Historical Center
- Huddleston, Eugene L, Ph.D. (1992) National Railway Bulletin Vol. 57, Number 4, article: Virginian: Henry Huttleston Rogers' Questionable Achievement
- Reid, H. (1953) "Trains & Travel Magazine" December, 1953 "Some Fine Engines" Kalmbach Publishing Co.
- Skaggs, Geoffery - (1985) Page-Vawter House Project in Ansted Ansted, WV: Fayette County Government
- Special Collection William Nelson Page Papers, Duke University NOTE: this Gift of Mary Josephine Page in 1952 may have been moved to UNC-Chapel Hill
- Special Collection William Nelson Page Papers, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- US Dept. of the Navy, Naval Historical Center
- Millicent Library, Fairhaven MA, Henry Rogers homepage
- Mark Twain and Henry Huttleston Rogers in Virginia featuring excerpts from their trips together to the 1907 Jamestown Exposition and the 1909 Dedication of the Virginian Railway
- Mark Twain's Correspondence with Henry Huttleston Rogers, 1893-1909
- New River CVB Guide to Ansted, WV
- Wm. Jordan, information on Ansted WV circa 1889-1909
- West Virginia Coal Mines site
- William Alexander MacCorkle, Governor of West Virginia 1893-1897
- Norfolk & Western Historical Society covers Virginian history
- Virginia Museum of Transportation displays 2 of only 3 extant VGN steam and electric locomotives, located in Roanoke, VA
- Virginian Railway (VGN) Enthusiasts non-profit group of preservationists, authors, photographers, historians, modelers, and railfans
- listing of Virginian Railway authors and their works
- Mullens West Virginia Caboose Museuma community project with photos
- Victoria Virginia's new home for Virginian railway Caboose 342 a community project with photos
- Lynchburg Virginia's project to save the oldest extant Virginian Railway Caboose # 64 a community project with photos
- preserving the Virginian Railway Passenger Station at Roanoke Virginia a community project with photos requiring pdf file viewer
- Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society headquarters in restored Seaboard-Virginian passenger station at Suffolk, VA
- Winding Gulf MSN GroupA group focused on one of the VGN's most productive coalfields, with information about many coal camps, family histories, maps, photos and links
- Norfolk Southern Corp website
- link to site of Railfan.net forum for Virginian Railway which has Roanoke Times Virginian Brethren story and photos