Williamson, West Virginia

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Williamson is a city in Mingo County, West Virginia, USA, along the Tug Fork River. The population was 3,414 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Mingo County[3], and is the county's largest and most populous city. Williamson is home to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. The Tug Fork River separates Williamson from South Williamson, Kentucky.

Williamson is the site of a large rail yard built by the former Norfolk and Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern Railway), which was built to service the many coal mines of the region. The city is protected by a floodwall, completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1991[4] in response to a devastating flood along the Tug Fork River in 1977. The wall incorporates floodgates along major access points which, when locked, form a solid barrier against floodwaters. There have only been two uses of the gates thus far: the first occurring in 2002 during a major flood in the region, and the second occurring in 2003, when only two lower lying gates were closed in anticipation of rising water levels.

The local economy is largely fueled by coal mining, transportation, health care and retail.



Williamson was incorporated in 1892. Most historians believe that Williamson was named in honor of Wallace J. Williamson. He owned the land where Williamson now stands, earned a fortune in real estate investments in the area, and founded the city's first bank and its first hotel. Others claim that the city was named for Wallace's father, Benjamin F. Williamson. He owned most of the land in the region before dividing it among his sons.

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