Welcome To McDowell County, WV

                      Home of the "Rocket Boys!" 

                          Where Life is "How it Used to Be!"  

Visit Our New Website: headofthedragonwv.com
"Head of the Dragon" Motorcycle Ride
September 12, 2020

Photo's by: Alisha Dawn Mullins, Alan "Cathead" Johnston, Emily Newcomb, Ryan Hicks, Brandon King, and Marcia Mullins.  Video's by Robert Hively, and Alan "Cathead" Johnston.  Website made possible by Ryan Hicks, Emily Newcomb, Randal Johnson and Shirley Heath,  all McDowell County residents at heart.

Website created and managed by:

Council of the Southern Mountains

a nonprofit social service agency.

148 McDowell Street

 Welch, West Virginia 24801

(304) 436-6800


 Appalachia Is My Name by: Alan "Cathead" Johnston

         Come Visit McDowell County, West Virginia and See How Life Use To Be

     Our     Community 

Posts Coming Soon
Explore other categories in this blog or check back later.

                                                                 McDowell County Poet's  Corner

                                        "A Taste of McDowell"

                                          By:  Garnet Edwards

                       McDowell County resident and member of the

                                        WVU Sports Hall of Fame

Some folk like us a little and some folk like us a lot, 

when you come to McDowell County, you'll get love that will never stop

We'll tell you our stories, the best you'll ever hear, fill your bellies with corn bread and beans, and parade you around while you're here

Coal has been our back bone, niming has been our life putting food on the table, to take care of kids and wife

Yes we are a humbled people, our ancestors taught us care, we love our neighbors, because love is everywhere

McDowell County is the place, we know you want to be here, with our hills and our mountains, our wild life, cabins and streams

Beautiful sceneries, as far as the eyes can see, and riding on those mountain trails, will have your blood running free

Our people are amazing, God's love is in the air, come on down to McDowell County, and you'll see how much we care

Coalwood, West Virginia

"Home of the Rocket Boys"

Homer Hickam, a native of Coalwood, West Virginia, grew up in McDowell County and went on to become a writer of the famous book that resulted in the movie, "October Sky."   He was an engineering graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, (Virginia Tech) Blacksburg, Virginia.  Hickam served in Vietnam and went on to the NASA Space Program to become one of its most prestigious rocket scientists. As a young high school student, Hickam and four of his friends loved building and launching rockets.  This love of rocketry was Hickam's inspiration to go on to become one of NASA's most prominent space rocket engineers and one of the most popular authors of our time.


Several years ago, the Smithsonian Air and Space magazine, asked Mr. Hickam to write an article for the magazine.  The article was called "Big Creek Agency."  The article was a description of Homer and his friends' experiences building rockets starting in 1957, in the coalfields of Coalwood, McDowell County, West Virginia.  The product of this article was the book "Rocket Boys: A Memoir," the book was published by Delacorte in September, 1998.  The paperback book was renamed "October Sky" to correspond with the February, 1999 movie release of "October Sky."  "October Sky" has been translated into eight different languages as it is loved worldwide.  Mr. Hickam went on to write a series of books called the Coalwood Book Series: Rocket Boys; The Coalwood Way; Sky of Stone; We Are Not  Afraid and From Rocket Boys to October Sky in addition to "Torpedo Junction."  The community of Coalwood, West Virginia became known for the "Rocket Boys Festival."  The last year the festival was held in Coalwood, West Virginia it brought 25,000 visitors to the small community that was Homer Hickam's home.   

Space Shuttle replica donated by:

Homer Hickam and is located in  Coalwood, McDowell County, West Virginia

Garnet Edwards
Havaco, West Virginia native who was a four-year letterman for the Mountaineer Track Team from 1977 -80.  Garnet was considered one of the fastest men in America during this time. He became an All America with a second-place finish in  the 60-meter indoor high hurdles at 7:05 seconds at the 1979 NCAA Championships in Detroit, Michigan.  Garnet held seven school records upon his graduation.  His time of 10:05 seconds in the 100-meter dash is still the second fastest in school history...selected to the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame 2001.