An unusual fishing camp built on a large rock in the river at Gauley Bridge is featured in the current issue of Goldenseal magazine, now on sale. The article, titled “Bus on a Rock: Bruiser Cole’s Camp at Gauley Bridge,” is written by Anna Sale of Charleston, a reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Sale produced her report for Public Broadcasting’s weekly “Outlook” television program last June and recently adapted it for Goldenseal.
Walter “Bruiser” Cole, 81, of nearby Scrabble Creek, started his unique camp when he pulled an old Greyhound bus onto the rock at the confluence of the New and Gauley rivers in 1954, laying claim to an ideal fishing spot. Cole has steadily added to the camp since that time, building onto the structure and adding electrical and water service.
According to the article, Cole is able to maintain his privacy despite the curiosity of tourists and travelers on U.S. Route 60, mainly by virtue of the camp’s inaccessibility. He even managed to preserve his unusual fishing camp when the Bus on a Rock compound was targeted during a statewide clean-up campaign in the mid-1970s.
In the same issue of Goldenseal is an article about the Cole family’s tradition of hand-built jon boats, titled “Cole Boats” by Gerald Milnes of Elkins. Also included in an account of holiday seasons past in Winona, titled “Fayette County Christmas,” by Karen R. Shepherd, originally of Fayette County, now living in Ohio.
Also featured in this issue of Goldenseal are an article on the Weirton Steel Choral Society in Weirton; the story of the historic railroad town of Rosbys Rock, Marshall County; and several stories related to the centennial of the West Virginia State Archives.
Goldenseal is West Virginia’s magazine of traditional life and is published quarterly by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston. The magazine sells for $4.95 and is available from Hawks Nest State Park Gift Shop at Ansted and Trillium Crafts and Books in Fayetteville, or by calling 304-558-0220, ext. 153.