Frederick J. Kimball was one of the most forward-thinking of the early N&W presidents. He was so respected, the citizens of Big Lick voted to change its name to Kimball in his honor. He declined and suggested the location be called Roanoke, which it became in 1882. At 38, he was president of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad when he was tapped to be the N&W's first chief operating officer. He then served as the N&W's president or chairman for 20 years, from 1883 until his death in 1903. Kimball was interested in the coal fields of West Virginia and on a weekend trip in May 1881, Kimball, his wife, and others journeyed to the state. At Abb's Valley, Kimball turned to his wife and uttered the greatest understatement in N&W history: "This may be a very important day". Kimball's wife suggested the vein be called "Pocahontas".
Images of Rail: Norfolk and Western Railway by Nelson Harris
Nelson Harris; Virginia Museum of Transportation
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unknown, “HNWR188,” Virginia Room Digital Collection, accessed July 5, 2020, http://www.virginiaroom.org/digital/document/HNWR188.