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Busy tracks make McDowell inn a railfan mecca

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Tom Hindman  The dual tracks of the Norfolk Southern's Pocahontas Division bring coal to Norfolk and railfans to Landgraff.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Tom Hindman
The dual tracks of the Norfolk Southern’s Pocahontas Division bring coal to Norfolk and railfans to Landgraff.

LANDGRAFF, W.Va. — After a lengthy do-it-yourself restoration of their newly bought 1922-vintage three-story brick building following devastating floods in 2001 and 2002, Dan Clark and Elisse Jo Goldstein-Clark were able to spend their first night in what would become the Elkhorn Inn.

“After getting four feet of mud and water in the first floor, Dan had gutted and power-washed the building and stripped plaster off all the walls and pulled out all the insulation,” Goldstein-Clark recalled. “We were staying in a third-floor room with no door when the first train of the night went by. It felt like the whole train was coming through the building. I started crying, and after more trains went by, I stopped crying and started thinking, ‘We have to find people who love trains!’”

That task didn’t turn out to be as difficult as she imagined the following day.

“When I Googled ‘people who like trains,’ the whole world popped up…

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