CITY NAMED FOR WILLIAM KEYSER
historical accounts, writers implied that the city of Keyser was so
named to curry favor with officials of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad. Keyser was named for William Keyser, first vice president
of the B&O.
The B&O had pushed as far east as Cumberland by Nov. 5, 1842. The State of PA denied th B&O the right to build within its borders, so the directors in 1843 ordered a reconnaissance of the areas of MD and (West) VA in order that the best non-PA route to the Ohio River be determined.
Surveys were started in 1846, and work resumed in 1849. In June 1851, the railroad from Cumberland was completed through Keyser to Piedmont, a distance of 28 miles.
Keyser was first settled in 1736, but remained remote. The first commercial enterprise was established in the 1820's.
The town's first name was Paddytown, more or less honoring Patrick McCarty, who, with his associates operated an iron furnace and foundry near the mouth of Wild Cat Run (in the Armstrong Street ext. section). However, with the coming of the railroad, the town's name was changed to New Creek.
After the Civil War, Mineral County was formed from the northeast section of Hampshire in 1866, and New Creek became the county seat. The B&O has reached the Ohio River and the railroad shops were located in Piedmont at the bottom of
17-mile-hill. In 1874, the shops were moved to Keyser and that same year the town incorporated and changed the name from New Creek to Keyser.
These shops were described in the B&O Annual Report issued Sept. 30, 1875. "In order to increase facilities and conveniences in the vicinity of the great coal regions, the company acquired at Keyser, five and one-quarter miles east of Piedmont, 75 acres of land, on which it has constructed excellent an valuable improvements.
"An engine house has been built of brick and iron, with stone foundation, of the best character, 305 feet in diameter, with 44 stalls for engines, and with a 60 foot turntable. It contains seven tracks, with pits for engines, and is lighted by a ridge skylight 16 feet wide, covered with hammered plate glass, and provided with side ventilators. A machine shop, dimensions 103 feet by 164 feet, is rapidly approaching completion. A substantial station building, with accommodations for passengers, the requisite offices, etc. has been erected. A freight warehouse, built of brick and covered with slat, 46 feet by 102 feet has been finished.
New and extensive stockyards have been completed. These accommodations embrace one hay and sheep house, 80 feet by 130 feet, 6 hog houses, capacity 1,800 hogs and yards and sheds for 2,000 cattle. Forty-eight coal shutes, holding six tons each, with a storage capacity of 888 tons, have been completed at this point.
Between Piedmont and Keyser, two tracks have been added, making four tracks, thus increasing greatly the facilities and economies of making up and dispatching trains."
From the Keyser
Souvenir Centennial Program 1874-1974
Permission to place on the Mineral County Site by
H. Edward Miller, Keyser Centennial Executive Committee