Kanwaha County Images was originally published as two hardbacks in 1987 and 2001.
The new paperback volumes 1 and 2 make up the entirety of the original hardback volume 1.
The new paperback volumes 3 and 4 make up the entirety of the original hardback volume 2.
Fourteen years after publishing the classic Kanawha County Images: A Bicentennial History: 1788-1988, Richard Andre and Stan Cohen released their long-awaited sequel. After the original book came out, the authors were flooded with photos they—and most readers—had never seen before. As a result, just like volume 1 & 2, this follow-up is a treasure trove of never-before-seen images from Kanawha County, West Virginia.
Volumes 3 & 4 include more rare street scenes and tells the tales of factories, stores, hotels, churches, schools, familiar faces, tragedies, and celebrations, mostly from the early to mid-1900s. The authors dedicate sections to the best of these newly found photos, including the once-sprawling Dickinson salt works at Malden and Ward Engineering, a pioneering boat-building operation on Charleston’s South Side.
They also feature photos of the Victorian state capitol that burned in 1921, the Capitol Annex (fondly remembered by many as the old Charleston Public Library), and construction of the current capitol. But the scene stealer in this collection is the only known photo of West Virginia’s second state capitol, and Charleston’s first. It served only five years as the statehouse (1870-75), and, until this book came out, no photos of it were known to exist. The authors also located a rare construction photo of that building’s successor, the Victorian capitol.
Kanawha County Images: Volume 3 & 4 also traces Kanawha County’s rail and aviation histories, including the construction of Kanawha (now Yeager) Airport. There also are some great images of early cars and trucks. Through photos and newspaper clippings, you can feel what it was like to live in Charleston during World War II, including superb images of the South Charleston Ordnance Plant in action and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s trip to the Kanawha Valley to inspect it.
You won’t be able to take your eyes off some pages, such as the expansive aerial photos of Charleston from 1918 and 1952. These pre-Google Earth-like views of Charleston let you scan from building to building and, If you’ve got a good eye, you might just find the house where you grew up or the school or church you once attended.
Volume 3 & 4 are a perfect coffee table companion to Volumes 1 & 2. If you love West Virginia or Kanawha County history, this book is a must for you.