Welch, West Virginia

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Ninety-one-year-old Ed Shepard has been running his service station in Welch, West Virginia since 1950. But the once-booming coal town of Welch, nestled deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is now almost a ghost town. (Welch is in McDowell County, the sixth poorest county in the United States.) These days, Ed has almost no customers. He stopped serving gas in 1995, and he won't service a car made before 1980. But Ed still goes to work six days a week. He bides his time as the coal trains rumble by his station hourly. A story of a rich interior life:

Some photos of Ed's service station and Welch: