Junior, WV: A Small Town with Big Appeal

Tygart River Boating, Hiking, & Fishing

Although small town Junior, WV’s year-round population is 520, our town’s presence grows throughout the year due to the appeal of our small, serene atmosphere along the Tygart River that appeals to many individuals living in bigger cities in West Virginia and the surrounding areas. Junior offers the quiet respite necessary for rejuvenation of the soul and spirit. The river offers picturesque scenery, swimming, boating, hiking, and fishing opportunities to help you relax. Warm up in town when visiting friends and family at Kathy’s Tavern.

Quaint Historical Shopping, Tavern, and Restaurant

If you’re looking for fun and intriguing activities, Junior offers a laid-back atmosphere to enjoy spending time in this quaint historical area. From shopping for unique treasures at This and That Thrift Shop to letting loose a little with a good drink, delicious food, and live music and open mic nights at Kathy’s Tavern right in town or C & J’s Restaurant down in Valley Bend, Junior has something for everyone. Perhaps the most interesting past time of area residents is discussing the intriguing history of Junior.

Junior, WV: A Mill Town Founded and Re-Built

The city of Junior (formerly known as Rowtown), was founded by the Row (German: Rau) family following their flight from a tragic and devastating flood in the Shenandoah Valley in the mid-19th century. By 1840, Benjamin (“Benny”) and Sarah Row, and their children, had settled in on the South Fork of the Shenandoah and built a mill, only to experience hardship two times over when their property was once again lost to flood waters. This time, the family moved to higher ground and re-built their mill in Junior (above the floodplain).

The Original Settlers of Junior (Rowtown), WV

Benny Row’s only son, Andrew Jackson (“A. J.”), inherited the Row family land and proceeded to open a general store and post office in what was now known as Rowtown. The general store passed on to A. J.’s son, William Row. Aside from the German Row family, Rowtown also attracted French Protestants, English, Welsh, and Scotch-Irish settlers, who attended church services together at the (no longer existent) Coffman Church, whose graveyard still contains the monuments of the original settlers.

How Rowtown, WV Became Junior, WV

By the 1890s, coal was discovered and mines began operation, bringing financial gain to the owner of the mineral rights, Senator Henry Davis (who also owned the railroad, in conjunction with his partner, Senator Stephen B. Elkins). Fortunately, Benny Row reserved much of the surface land, enabling residents to own their own homes and businesses. Curiously, Rowtown was renamed “Junior” at the request of Senator Davis following the drowning death of his son, Henry “Harry” Gassaway Davis, Jr. off the coast of Africa in 1896.

Junior, WV and the Influence of the Coal and Railroad Industry

Despite Junior never actually becoming a company town, the Davis’ family’s wealth and ownership of the railroad and the Junior Coal Company had a clear influence on the future of the Row family and the other settlers in the region. The Junior Mercantile Company soon opened, in direct competition with the seven already present independent grocery and general stores in town, as well as the bank, millinery, and clothing stores, which all faded away following WWI.

Dedicated to Seeing the Dawn of a New Era of Prosperity

Since the first floods that threatened the residents of Junior, there have been many more ongoing “trials by high water,” which the residents of Junior have ingeniously and defiantly endured. From the necessity of exploding ice jams with dynamite, to their extreme dedication of securing the town’s bridge with steel cables to prevent it from washing away in floods, to dealing with a long period of undrinkable water as a result of the original wooden pipes (that rotted away), the people of Junior have persisted through it all.

Since 1950 when Junior and West Junior incorporated, a new fire department was formed, and by 1970, a brand new water system to provide fresh, drinkable water was installed. New prosperity is dawning for Junior, WV. Visitors from neighboring states and around the country increasingly visit Junior to camp, hike, fish, and enjoy the unspoiled mountain vistas surrounding Junior. The residents of Junior, WV welcome you to visit and understand why we refuse to let any hardship uproot us.