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Historic Charleston: The First 225 Years

An illustrated history of Charleston, West Virginia, paired with the histories of local companies and organizations that made the city great.

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HISTORIC CHARLESTON<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>First</strong> <strong>225</strong> <strong>Years</strong><br />

by Billy Joe Peyton<br />

A publication of the City of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

HPNbooks<br />

A division of Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas


CONTENTS<br />

✧<br />

This c. 1850 single-span stone arch<br />

bridge carried the Point Pleasant Road<br />

over Kanawha Two Mile Creek at the<br />

Littlepage Farm. It still stands but was<br />

bypassed long ago.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE HISTORIC<br />

GLENWOOD FOUNDATION.<br />

3 WELCOME FROM MAYOR DANNY JONES<br />

4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS<br />

5 CHAPTER 1 Prehistory and Early Settlement: to 1820<br />

17 CHAPTER 2 Town at the Mouth of Elk: 1820-1860<br />

31 CHAPTER 3 Civil War and Aftermath: 1860-1870<br />

49 CHAPTER 4 An Emerging Capital City: 1870-1900<br />

61 CHAPTER 5 Industrial Expansion and Growth: 1900-1970<br />

89 CHAPTER 6 Epilogue—A City in Transition: 1970-present<br />

102 BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />

103 SHARING THE HERITAGE<br />

151 SPONSORS<br />

152 ABOUT THE AUTHOR<br />

<strong>First</strong> Edition<br />

Copyright © 2013 HPNbooks<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing<br />

from the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790, www.hpnbooks.com.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-939300-19-5<br />

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 2013952553<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Charleston</strong>: <strong>The</strong> <strong>First</strong> <strong>225</strong> <strong>Years</strong><br />

author: Billy Joe Peyton<br />

contributing writer for “Sharing the Heritage”: Joe Goodpasture<br />

HPNbooks<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Bob Sadoski<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata, Melissa G. Quinn<br />

book sales: Dee Steidle<br />

production: Colin Hart, Evelyn Hart, Glenda Tarazon Krouse, Tony Quinn<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

2


WELCOME FROM MAYOR DANNY JONES<br />

WELCOME FROM MAYOR DANNY JONES<br />

I am blessed to be the mayor of my home town, the city where I grew up and learned so much<br />

about life, and I am pleased to greet you as you begin exploring the history of <strong>Charleston</strong> in the<br />

pages of this book. As you can see, <strong>Charleston</strong> has a very rich history over <strong>225</strong> years and counting.<br />

While neither you nor I can change anything that is part of our past, we can—and should—learn<br />

from it as we prepare for the future. As a student of history, I am fascinated to be able to look<br />

back and learn how situations developed, how people made decisions that shaped events and<br />

how people and events created the path to where we are now as a world, nation and city.<br />

We need to know where we have been to understand fully the direction in which we are heading.<br />

Our recent history has produced some exciting developments in <strong>Charleston</strong> that make me<br />

very hopeful about our future. Over the past decade, we have witnessed many new events<br />

and investments in <strong>Charleston</strong> that make our capital city a much more attractive place for people<br />

to live, visit and invest:<br />

• <strong>The</strong> opening of the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences as a world class performance hall<br />

and activity center for people of all ages and interests;<br />

• Creation of FestivALL <strong>Charleston</strong>, which has become a ten-day celebration of art and culture<br />

and has led to the empowerment of our city’s artistic community throughout the year;<br />

• Development of Appalachian Power Park, which preserved professional baseball in our city<br />

as the home of the West Virginia Power and dozens of other community events every year;<br />

• Renovation of Haddad Riverfront Park with the new retractable canopy that makes events there<br />

more inviting and the addition of the Schoenbaum Stage that pays tribute to our sternwheeling<br />

history while hosting weekly free concerts Live on the Levee during the summer months;<br />

• Growth and expansion of the University of <strong>Charleston</strong> with seven new buildings on campus<br />

(including a new School of Pharmacy) and new investment both downtown (Graduate School<br />

of Business) and at Laidley Field (University of <strong>Charleston</strong> stadium);<br />

• Transformation of affordable housing in the city of <strong>Charleston</strong> from the former Spring Hill<br />

complex and Washington Manor to Orchard Manor, Littlepage Terrace and beyond, so that<br />

people in need have cleaner, safer and better places to call home;<br />

• Expansion of neighborhood organizations in four different parts of the city, including<br />

new Main Street organizations on both the East End and West Side, that have mobilized<br />

personal and financial investment in places throughout the city and encouraged people to<br />

follow their passions for projects that make for more business-friendly and neighbor-friendly<br />

neighborhoods; and<br />

• A plan for renovating the <strong>Charleston</strong> Civic Center to make it more inviting and user-friendly<br />

for the groups, events and visitors that hold the greatest promise for infusing new money into<br />

the local economy.<br />

Honestly, I could fill pages with other projects, special events and investments that people and<br />

businesses have made in our city in recent years. But for now, I invite you to explore <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

history through this book as we look both back to the past and ahead to bright future.<br />

✧<br />

Mayor Danny Jones.<br />

W E L C O M E F R O M M A Y O R D A N N Y J O N E S<br />

3


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS<br />

This work was carried out in cooperation with the <strong>Charleston</strong> <strong>Historic</strong> Landmarks<br />

Commission, to commemorate the founding of Fort Lee <strong>225</strong> years ago and the “town at mouth<br />

of Elk” six years later, as well as the West Virginia sesquicentennial. Many people have provided<br />

generous support and assistance on the project, especially the cheerful staff at the West Virginia<br />

State Archives; special recognition goes to Jerry Waters, who maintains a popular website<br />

brimming with rare and historic images of <strong>Charleston</strong> at www.mywvhome.com. Heartfelt thanks<br />

to the City of <strong>Charleston</strong> for showing confidence in me throughout the process, to <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

City Manager David Molgaard for his editorial assistance, and to Ron Lammert and the fine<br />

folks at <strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network for sticking with me as I completed the long-awaited<br />

manuscript. Your support is greatly appreciated.<br />

Finally, I dedicate this project to my amazingly talented wife, CJ, and our two children whom<br />

I love dearly. Cindie and Kendy, it is my sincere hope that you both grow to appreciate the rich<br />

history of <strong>Charleston</strong> as much as I do.<br />

Billy Joe Peyton<br />

June 2013<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

4


C H A P T E R 1<br />

PREHISTORY AND<br />

EARLY SETTLEMENT: TO 1820<br />

Long before Europeans arrived, Native Americans knew about the area at the mouth of<br />

Elk River, a stream the Shawnee termed Tis-kel-wah, meaning “river of fat elk,” while the<br />

Delawares are said to have called it Pe-quo-ni, meaning “the walnut river.” It is unclear how the<br />

Kanawha River got its name. Some sources attribute it to the white explorers who named it after<br />

the Indians who lived along the river. Another possibility is that it was named after the island<br />

where the Piscataway Indians lived, “Conoy,” which may be a shortened form of “Kanawha,”<br />

pronounced as “Kanaw.” <strong>The</strong>re are also stories that the river was given its name by Native<br />

Americans as “Kanawah,” which meant “place of the white stones.” Apparently, the Shawnee<br />

people called the river ”Keninskeha,” which meant “river of evil spirits.” <strong>The</strong>re is some<br />

uncertainty about this story, as both names describe the New River more than the Kanawha.<br />

In fact, during colonial times, the New and Kanawha Rivers were considered to be the same<br />

waterway, and even sometimes called “Woods” River for Abraham Wood, who was responsible<br />

for early seventeenth century explorations of West Virginia. In 1671, Wood, along with a group<br />

that included Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam, discovered the river now called the New.<br />

✧<br />

Used to define the boundaries of the<br />

newly independent United States,<br />

the 1755 John Mitchell map is the most<br />

comprehensive map of eastern North<br />

America during the colonial era.<br />

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS, FROM LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.<br />

HTTP://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/WIKI/FILE:MITCHELL_<br />

MAP-06FULL2_COMPRESSED.JPG<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

5


✧<br />

In 1755, Shawnee captive Mary Ingles<br />

became the first documented non-Native<br />

American to make salt in the<br />

Kanawha Valley.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

6<br />

Whatever name aboriginal people gave to<br />

the local waterway, they called the Kanawha<br />

Valley home for centuries before the first<br />

Europeans arrived. <strong>The</strong> area’s recorded history<br />

is less than two-and-a-half centuries old,<br />

but archaeological evidence reveals human<br />

habitation for 12,000 years before that. Native<br />

American occupation evolved through three<br />

progressive stages, from the Paleo-Indian to<br />

Archaic and Woodland cultures. Physical<br />

evidence of each culture has been discovered<br />

in the valley, but the most visible reminders<br />

are the burial mounds left by the Woodland<br />

peoples. In 1881 the Smithsonian Institution<br />

conducted archeological excavations relating<br />

to these prehistoric mound builders. By 1890<br />

about 100 mounds and earthworks had<br />

been identified in the Kanawha Valley, and<br />

among them was the Criel Mound in South<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, the second-largest burial mound<br />

in West Virginia.<br />

By the time European settlers crossed the<br />

Appalachian Mountains, virtually all Native<br />

American villages had been abandoned and<br />

the Kanawha and Elk valleys were used<br />

primarily as a hunting ground by the<br />

Shawnee, Cherokee, and Iroquois tribes. At<br />

the mouth of Campbell’s Creek, about five<br />

miles above Elk River, were salt springs that<br />

became known as the Great Buffalo Lick, or<br />

Kanawha Licks, that attracted buffalo, deer,<br />

and other game. Parties of Indians often came<br />

to hunt the abundant game and boil the brine<br />

to make salt, which was used for seasoning<br />

and food preservation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first Europeans known to have viewed<br />

the future site of <strong>Charleston</strong> were Shawnee<br />

captives taken from their home at Draper’s<br />

Meadows (near present-day Blacksburg,<br />

Virginia) in July of 1755. Among them was<br />

twenty-four-year-old Mary Draper Ingles and<br />

her two young sons, aged four and two. <strong>The</strong><br />

group traveled on foot to Paint Creek, which<br />

they followed to its mouth on Kanawha River<br />

about twenty-two miles above <strong>Charleston</strong>. At<br />

the Kanawha Licks the party paused to make<br />

salt, which they took back to their Shawnee<br />

village near Chillicothe, Ohio. Mary Ingles’<br />

remarkable story ended with her daring escape<br />

and an epic 40-day, 400-mile trek in which


she followed the Ohio, Kanawha and New<br />

rivers back home. Although her trials ended<br />

in a joyous family reunion, Mary and William<br />

Ingles lost one son who probably died in<br />

captivity, while another son was adopted into<br />

a Shawnee family and did not see his<br />

biological parents for many years.<br />

Efforts to settle the trans-montane region of<br />

Virginia met with little success prior to the<br />

French and Indian War. Although optimism<br />

reigned after the British victory over France in<br />

1763, it did not immediately open the Kanawha<br />

Valley to permanent settlement. Shawnee Chief<br />

Cornstalk led bloody raids on the Greenbrier<br />

settlements shortly thereafter, which adversely<br />

impacted attempts to populate the region. In<br />

an effort to placate Native American claims<br />

and dissuade frontier violence, King George III<br />

issued a royal proclamation that prohibited<br />

settlement beyond the crest of the Alleghenies<br />

by declaring the area as an Indian Reserve.<br />

Persistent Cherokee and Iroquois claims in<br />

present-day West Virginia were permanently<br />

extinguished with the treaties of Hard Labor<br />

and Fort Stanwix in 1768, followed by<br />

the Treaty of Lochaber in 1770, but strong<br />

Shawnee claims remained unresolved and<br />

contributed to persistent attacks originating<br />

from Ohio.<br />

In 1770 speculators began claiming<br />

Kanawha lands. Among them was George<br />

Washington, who personally selected 23,000<br />

acres bordering Kanawha River and extending<br />

more than forty miles above its mouth. <strong>The</strong><br />

first residents ventured into the area in 1771,<br />

when Simon Kenton, George Strader and<br />

John Yeager built a cabin along Elk River<br />

about two miles above <strong>Charleston</strong> which they<br />

used as a base camp for hunting and trapping.<br />

Considered the first Europeans to actually live<br />

in the Kanawha Valley, the trio remained until<br />

March of 1773 when an Indian raiding party<br />

attacked them at camp. Yeager died in the<br />

ambush, while Kenton and Strader escaped<br />

on foot to Point Pleasant and did not return.<br />

Also in 1773, Walter Kelly established a<br />

settlement along Kelly’s Creek at present-day<br />

Cedar Grove, about twenty miles above<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>. Settlers in his group assumed<br />

considerable risk because they had ventured<br />

far beyond the protection of volunteer militia<br />

units that guarded the Greenbrier settlements<br />

eighty miles to the east. In the spring and<br />

summer of that year, Shawnees launched raids<br />

from Ohio into West Virginia, prompting<br />

Kelly to send his family back to the safety of<br />

the Greenbrier settlements before being killed<br />

himself. In 1774, William Morris assumed<br />

Kelly’s claim. One of Morris’s sons settled on<br />

Lens Creek (Marmet), and another moved<br />

down the south side of Kanawha River<br />

opposite Campbell’s Creek. Within a short<br />

time, additional settlements had sprung up<br />

at Pratt, Hugheston, and Shrewsbury, while<br />

separate expeditions surveyed downriver<br />

lands at Nitro and St. Albans.<br />

Meanwhile, a veteran Virginia militiaman,<br />

Colonel Thomas W. Bullitt from Prince<br />

William County, appeared in the Kanawha<br />

Valley in the spring of 1773 while on<br />

an expedition bound for the Kentucky<br />

wilderness, where he made surveys of<br />

Frankfort and Louisville. Upon his return,<br />

Bullitt was granted acreage in the western<br />

territory as a reward for military and civil<br />

service to Virginia. He chose a favorable<br />

1,030-acre site at the mouth of Elk River that<br />

he believed best for future development. His<br />

claim began at a large sycamore tree at the<br />

junction of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers and<br />

ran nearly a mile up the Kanawha to the head<br />

of the bottom; it continued 330 feet to a<br />

“Spanish Oak at the base of the hills,” then<br />

followed a direct line just over two miles to<br />

Elk River before returning back to the starting<br />

point. Bullitt also claimed a second parcel<br />

consisting of 1,240 acres directly below the<br />

west bank of Elk River and extending down<br />

to a point beyond Kanawha Two-Mile Creek.<br />

Bullitt possibly made a “tomahawk claim” to<br />

the lands in 1774, but his actual survey dates<br />

to May 25, 1775. When Thomas Bullitt died<br />

in Fauquier County in 1778, his younger<br />

brother, Cuthbert Bullitt (1740-1791), a<br />

planter, lawyer and judge from Prince William<br />

County, inherited the Kanawha lands. On<br />

November 20, 1779, Cuthbert Bullitt received<br />

a formal patent signed by Virginia Governor<br />

Thomas Jefferson that granted him ownership<br />

“in consideration of military services performed<br />

by Thomas Bullitt in the late war between<br />

Great Britain and France.”<br />

✧<br />

Colonel Thomas Bullitt’s two surveys<br />

covered 2,270 acres of prime bottomland<br />

along the east and west banks of the<br />

Elk River.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION<br />

(FROM LAIDLEY, HISTORY OF CHARLESTON AND<br />

KANAWHA COUNTY).<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

7


✧<br />

Andrew Lewis led Virginia troops at the<br />

Battle of Point Pleasant. Lewis never lived<br />

in West Virginia, but he played a prominent<br />

role in its early history and development.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

8<br />

Upset by the frequency and severity of<br />

persistent Indian raids, and spurred on by<br />

speculators who hoped to gain from settling<br />

the western lands, Virginia’s royal governor,<br />

John Murray, launched an offensive against<br />

the Shawnee villages in Ohio in the autumn<br />

of 1774. Murray, who held title as the fourth<br />

Earl of Dunmore, assembled an army of<br />

around 1,200 men at Fort Dunmore (present<br />

Pittsburgh) and moved down the Ohio River.<br />

He intended to join forces with a second<br />

army of around 1,100 Virginians under<br />

Colonel Andrew Lewis, a Virginia militiaman<br />

and surveyor who had surveyed much of<br />

Greenbrier County and was a respected<br />

veteran of the French and Indian War. As<br />

Dunmore’s army moved down from the<br />

north, Lewis’s troops gathered at Fort Union<br />

(present-day Lewisburg) and on September 6<br />

began marching westward in successive<br />

waves over the trackless forest to a<br />

rendezvous point on Elk River.<br />

<strong>First</strong> to depart Fort Union<br />

was Colonel Charles Lewis<br />

(younger brother of Andrew<br />

Lewis) and 600 men of<br />

the Augusta Regiment, whose<br />

mission was “to proceed as far<br />

as the mouth of Elk, then to<br />

make canoes to take down the<br />

flour. He took with him 108<br />

beeves and 500 pack-horses<br />

carrying 54,000 pounds of<br />

flour.” Six days later, Colonel<br />

William Fleming and the<br />

Botetourt Regiment moved<br />

out with 18,000 pounds of<br />

flour. Fleming’s Botetourt force<br />

joined the Augusta troops<br />

at the mouth of Elk on<br />

September 22, “where both<br />

regiments engaged in making<br />

a store-house and building<br />

canoes for transporting supplies<br />

down the Great Kanawha.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> parole—a watchword or<br />

password issued by the<br />

commanding officer to the<br />

officers of the guard—for this<br />

day was “Charlestown,” a full<br />

fourteen years before the<br />

town at the mouth of the Elk was established.<br />

<strong>The</strong> word probably was in reference to<br />

Colonel Charles Lewis, but it would be<br />

interesting to know if it had any impact on<br />

the subsequent naming of the town that<br />

would develop later.<br />

Crews eventually constructed twentyseven<br />

canoes in about a week’s time at the<br />

mouth of Elk. At daybreak on September 30,<br />

the canoes were sent up Elk River about<br />

one-and-a half miles, where the river was<br />

“100 yards wide and there was a fording.”<br />

This would put the crossing near the<br />

mouth of Magazine Branch, about where<br />

Pennsylvania and Bigley Avenues converge<br />

today. In conditions described as “still dead<br />

running water,” cattle and packhorses were<br />

driven over first, followed by the army which<br />

crossed to a camp on the “level plain below<br />

the mouth of the Elk” on <strong>Charleston</strong>’s West<br />

Side. Incessant rains forced the men to remain<br />

in camp until October 2, when they resumed<br />

their march to the Ohio. It was during this<br />

extended encampment that Virginia soldiers<br />

first became acquainted with the fertile<br />

bottom land at the confluence of the Elk and<br />

Kanawha Rivers.<br />

Lewis’s army reached Point Pleasant on<br />

October 6, 1774. <strong>The</strong>re, on October 10, they<br />

were attacked by an equal force of Shawnees<br />

and their allies led by famed warrior, Chief<br />

Cornstalk. In a fierce day-long fight that<br />

descended into a hand-to-hand struggle, the<br />

Virginia militia prevailed after Cornstalk’s<br />

forces retreated across the Ohio River. Under<br />

terms of the Treaty of Camp Charlotte that<br />

ended Dunmore’s War, the Ohio River was<br />

recognized as the boundary between the<br />

Shawnee nation and British settlers, the<br />

Shawnee agreed to stop attacking travelers<br />

on the Ohio River, and Kentucky was closed<br />

to British settlement. Construction of Fort<br />

Randolph at Point Pleasant bolstered the<br />

sense of security for area residents. <strong>The</strong> treaty<br />

secured a temporary peace, and settlers<br />

streamed into the Kanawha Valley. Violence<br />

returned to the frontier following the brutal<br />

murder of Cornstalk at Fort Randolph in<br />

November 1777.<br />

Among the soldiers who camped at<br />

Elk River and fought at the 1774 Battle of


Point Pleasant were several sons of Charles<br />

Clendenin. Among them was George, who<br />

was born in Augusta County in 1746. <strong>The</strong><br />

Clendenin family had originally migrated to<br />

the Shenandoah Valley from Ulster, Northern<br />

Ireland, and Charles had moved his family<br />

to the Greenbrier Valley (present Pocahontas<br />

County) in 1771. Following his service in<br />

Dunmore’s War, George Clendenin represented<br />

Greenbrier County in the Virginia House of<br />

Delegates from 1781 to 1789. He helped<br />

establish the Old State Road from Lewisburg<br />

to <strong>The</strong> Boatyards (Cedar Grove) in 1786, and<br />

its extension to the mouth of the Elk River<br />

two years later. George Clendenin became a<br />

major landowner in Greenbrier County, with<br />

holdings individually and jointly in excess of<br />

30,000 acres. On December 28, 1787, while<br />

attending a legislative session in Richmond,<br />

George Clendenin purchased from Cuthbert<br />

Bullitt the 1,030-acre tract located along the<br />

Kanawha River that was part of the Thomas<br />

Bullitt survey. Clendenin later sold 507 acres<br />

to his brothers, William and Alexander.<br />

Eager to relocate to his new lands at the<br />

mouth of the Elk, Clendenin urged Virginia<br />

lawmakers to focus their attention on frontier<br />

defense. At the time, four forts existed in<br />

the entire Kanawha Valley—at Point Pleasant,<br />

the mouth of Coal River, opposite Campbell’s<br />

Creek, and on Kelly’s Creek. Each fort<br />

accommodated only about ten families, which<br />

was inadequate for reliable defense according<br />

to Clendenin—who asserted that all settlers<br />

would vacate their lands if they did not<br />

receive more protection. On January 30,<br />

1788, Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph<br />

directed George Clendenin to organize a<br />

company of rangers and to station them at<br />

a location he deemed to be most acceptable<br />

for the protection of Kanawha settlers. Not<br />

surprisingly, and with an eye to future<br />

settlement opportunities, Clendenin placed<br />

the company on his own lands near the<br />

mouth of Elk. He named his brother, William,<br />

also a veteran of the Battle of Point Pleasant,<br />

as captain, while another brother, Alexander,<br />

served as a private. At the outset, twentyseven<br />

rangers formed the militia company:<br />

George Clendenin led the first group of<br />

intrepid settlers into the Kanawha Valley in<br />

K A N A W H A M I L I T I A O R I G I N A L M U S T E R R O L L<br />

George Clendenin, colonel<br />

George Shaw, lieutenant<br />

Shadrach Harriman, sergeant<br />

John Tollypurt, private<br />

John Burns, private<br />

William Miller, private<br />

James Edgar, private<br />

Michael Newhouse, private<br />

Thomas Shirkey, private<br />

William Boggs, private<br />

Benjamin Morris, private<br />

William Morris, private<br />

William Turrell, private<br />

Alexander Clendenin, private<br />

April 1788. It is unclear whether he had<br />

recently laid eyes on his new land, but it<br />

probably changed little since 1774. Upon<br />

arrival at the Elk River, the forty-two-year-old<br />

Clendenin immediately set the Kanawha<br />

Rangers to work building a fortification which<br />

they completed in May. For the fort site, he<br />

chose a high bank overlooking Kanawha River<br />

about 125 feet above the present intersection<br />

of Brooks Street and Kanawha Boulevard.<br />

Informally called Clendenin’s Station, it<br />

offered a commanding view of the river in<br />

both directions, had a supply of fresh water<br />

nearby, and a natural ravine offered a good<br />

spot for a canoe landing. By 1792, the station<br />

had officially become Fort Lee, named in<br />

honor of Revolutionary War hero and former<br />

Virginia governor, Richard Henry Lee, father<br />

of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.<br />

<strong>The</strong> fortification itself consisted of a log<br />

stockade about 250 feet long and 175 feet<br />

wide, with two entry gates—one that opened<br />

on the river side and another on the hill<br />

side. Within the enclosure stood a two-story<br />

hand-hewn log structure that measured<br />

36 feet long, 18 feet wide and 18 feet high,<br />

with clapboard roof, whipsawed rafters<br />

and framing, puncheon (dirt) floor, and a<br />

fieldstone chimney on both ends. Built on a<br />

typical plan, it had two rooms and a hallway<br />

on the first floor and two rooms on the second<br />

floor. Known as the “Mansion House,” it<br />

William Clendenin, captain<br />

Francis Watkins, ensign<br />

Reuben Slaughter, sergeant<br />

Samuel Dunbar, private<br />

Isaac Snedicer, private<br />

John Buckle, private<br />

Robert Aaron, private<br />

William Carroll, private<br />

Nicholas Null, private<br />

Archer Price, private<br />

Levi Morris, private<br />

Joseph Burrell, private<br />

John Moore, private<br />

✧<br />

While serving in the Virginia state<br />

legislature, George Clendenin purchased<br />

the 1,030-acre Bullitt tract on<br />

December 28, 1787.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SOCIETY OF THE COLONIAL<br />

DAMES OF AMERICA IN THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

9


✧<br />

Below: Artist’s rendering of Clendenin’s<br />

Station, later renamed Fort Lee. <strong>The</strong> fort<br />

stood near present Kanawha Boulevard,<br />

between present Brooks and Morris Streets.<br />

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION<br />

(FROM COOK, THE ANNALS OF FORT LEE).<br />

Opposite, top: Postcard of Daniel Boone<br />

originally issued by Daniel Boone Hotel<br />

in <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Opposite, bottom: In 1928, the Daughters<br />

of the American Revolution erected a stone<br />

marker to Daniel Boone at the base of a<br />

cave near the mouth of Campbell’s Creek.<br />

<strong>The</strong> cave was obliterated in the 1970s,<br />

and the marker now stands in<br />

Daniel Boone Park.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

served as the main residence for George<br />

Clendenin and his family. In addition, the<br />

rangers built a blockhouse about one mile<br />

upstream (in the vicinity of the Executive<br />

Mansion at the Capitol Complex) where<br />

William Clendenin and his family resided.<br />

Other scattered cabins stood on land cleared<br />

from the nearby forest.<br />

Today, near the corner of Brooks Street and<br />

Kanawha Boulevard stands a native stone<br />

marker placed in 1915 by the Kanawha Valley<br />

Chapter of the Daughters of the American<br />

Revolution to mark the site of the original<br />

Fort Lee building and stockade. Historian Roy<br />

Bird Cook surmised that the boulder stands a<br />

little in front of the actual building site.<br />

Charles Clendenin’s gravesite was somewhere<br />

in the 1200 block of Kanawha Boulevard.<br />

In 1917, the National Society of the Colonial<br />

Dames of America (NSCDA) in the State of<br />

West Virginia erected a marble-based sundial<br />

in the memory of Charles Clendenin, the<br />

father of George who died at Fort Lee in<br />

1790 and was buried within its stockade. <strong>The</strong><br />

sundial was moved to its present location<br />

opposite 1254 Kanawha Boulevard in 1988,<br />

and in 2012 underwent restoration under<br />

a joint effort of NSCDA-West Virginia, the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Beautification Commission, and<br />

the <strong>Charleston</strong> Public Works Department.<br />

Danger took many forms in the exposed<br />

and vulnerable frontier settlements, but the<br />

most imminent and potentially lethal threat<br />

came from marauding bands of native<br />

warriors who hoped to roll back the tide of<br />

settlement. <strong>The</strong>y hoped to accomplish their<br />

goals by launching raids deep into the<br />

Kanawha Valley, where they stole horses,<br />

destroyed cabins and crops, took prisoners,<br />

and sometimes brutally murdered settlers.<br />

When the call went out to “fort up,” residents<br />

sought protection and the Kanawha Rangers<br />

sprang into action until danger had passed.<br />

Once, during construction of Fort Lee, a<br />

raiding party of twenty-two Indians appeared<br />

but quickly dispersed after the militia force<br />

showed itself in strength.Unfortunately, other<br />

clashes did not end so well.<br />

Local victims included James Hale, who<br />

was killed at Hale’s Branch on the south side<br />

of Kanawha River (near present South Side<br />

Bridge) in 1789 and buried in a small plot in<br />

the fort near the later grave of Charles<br />

Clendenin. In 1790 a deadly attack on Fort<br />

Tackett on Coal River (St. Albans) about<br />

twelve miles downstream sent survivors<br />

scurrying for refuge at Fort Lee. Shadrach<br />

Harriman, an original <strong>Charleston</strong> settler and<br />

member of the Kanawha Rangers, was killed<br />

near Venable Branch (now Mission Hollow)<br />

in 1791. Such persistent violence led George<br />

Clendenin to declare the Kanawha Valley<br />

as “one continual scene of depradation [sic]”<br />

by 1792.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

10


Following the erection of Fort Lee, the<br />

politically astute George Clendenin turned<br />

his attention to creating the framework for<br />

a permanent settlement at the mouth of Elk<br />

River. Largely through Clendenin’s efforts, on<br />

November 14, 1788, the legislature authorized<br />

the formation of Kanawha County from<br />

Greenbrier and Montgomery counties, with the<br />

actual formation set for October 1, 1789. <strong>The</strong><br />

new county encompassed most of the present<br />

southwestern portion of the state, including all<br />

or parts of nineteen modern counties and the<br />

entire Kanawha River. On October 5, 1789, the<br />

Kanawha County Court held its first session at<br />

George Clendenin’s residence inside Fort Lee.<br />

<strong>The</strong> justices recommended veteran frontiersman<br />

Daniel Boone to serve as lieutenant colonel of<br />

the county militia. This designation made<br />

Boone the third-ranking officer in the county,<br />

following Sheriff Thomas Lewis and militia<br />

commander, Colonel George Clendenin. By<br />

then, Daniel Boone had already made his<br />

reputation as a scout who blazed the Wilderness<br />

Road and led settlers into Kentucky.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

1 1


Boone, his wife Rebecca, and their three<br />

youngest children, Daniel (b. 1769), Jesse<br />

(b. 1773), and Nathan (b. 1780), moved to<br />

Point Pleasant sometime in 1788, where<br />

the elder Daniel reputedly operated a small<br />

trading post, engaged in occasional surveying<br />

work, and hunted and trapped along<br />

Kanawha River. In years of living on the<br />

frontier, Boone had more than one narrow<br />

escape from Indians. In December 1789,<br />

a report circulated among the Kanawha<br />

settlements that Indians “have killed young<br />

Daniel Boone and took his father old<br />

Col. Boone prisoner.” With no evidence to<br />

the contrary, George Clendenin feared the<br />

news was true. In the end, the report proved<br />

false. <strong>The</strong> Boones had tarried to hunt and<br />

trap on a return trip from Philadelphia, and<br />

they eventually arrived safely home in early<br />

1790. On another occasion, when Boone<br />

failed to return as scheduled from his annual<br />

winter hunt in 1793, even his stalwart wife,<br />

Rebecca, began to worry. Local concern gave<br />

rise to a report in the United States Gazette<br />

from April 1793 that Boone had been “killed<br />

or taken.” Once again, the account of his<br />

demise proved premature when he returned<br />

unscathed to <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

Daniel Boone’s reputation as an intrepid<br />

frontiersman had already grown to mythical<br />

proportions when he decided to try his<br />

hand at political office. In the first elections<br />

in 1790, George Clendenin and Andrew<br />

Donnally represented Kanawha County in the<br />

Virginia Assembly. In April 1791, Daniel<br />

Boone traveled from his home at Point<br />

Pleasant to the polling place at Fort Lee,<br />

where he participated in an “open and fair<br />

election” to decide who would represent<br />

Kanawha County at the next legislative term<br />

in Richmond. By day’s end, George Clendenin<br />

and Daniel Boone had been chosen to<br />

represent the county. As the legislative session<br />

approached, Boone dutifully walked to<br />

Richmond and took his seat.<br />

While in Richmond, Boone negotiated a<br />

contract to provide ammunition and rations<br />

for militia units at Moorefield, Morgantown,<br />

Wheeling and elsewhere. After fulfilling those<br />

contracts he returned to Point Pleasant in<br />

April 1792 with insufficient supplies, which<br />

infuriated Hugh Caperton who commanded<br />

the rangers there. A heated argument ensued,<br />

in which Caperton accused Boone of incompetence<br />

for failing to bring the needed<br />

provisions to the fort. In a written report to<br />

the governor, George Clendenin blamed<br />

Boone for “total non-compliance” with respect<br />

to his contractual obligations, which resulted<br />

in Boone losing his supply contract and<br />

ultimately closing his store at Point Pleasant.<br />

In search of a simpler life free from legal<br />

and financial entanglements, Daniel and<br />

Rebecca Boone, their sons Nathan and Jesse,<br />

and Jesse’s wife, Chloe Van Bibber Boone,<br />

relocated sixty miles upriver to the mouth<br />

of Elk in 1791 or 1792. Boone knew the<br />

favorable natural attributes of the Upper<br />

Kanawha Valley, which appealed to him.<br />

He was personal friends with Simon Kenton,<br />

who had hunted and trapped along the<br />

Kanawha and Elk Rivers and had saved<br />

Boone’s life in Kentucky. Boone hunted and<br />

trapped in the area, and he well knew the<br />

famed salt marshes at Campbell’s Creek. In<br />

addition, he had rescued from captivity a local<br />

girl named Chloe Flinn, who had been taken<br />

when her parents were killed by Indians at<br />

their home near Cabin Creek (about twelve<br />

miles above <strong>Charleston</strong>) in 1786. Following<br />

her liberation, Daniel and Rebecca Boone<br />

raised the orphaned Chloe in their home.<br />

When they settled near Elk River, the<br />

Boone family took up residence in a cabin that<br />

stood on land owned by Andrew Donnally,<br />

Sr., on the south side of Kanawha River<br />

about four-and-a-half miles above Fort Lee.<br />

According to historian Roy Bird Cook in<br />

<strong>The</strong> Annals of Fort Lee (1935), “<strong>The</strong> Boone<br />

home was a double log house which stood in<br />

or near the upper end of Kanawha Avenue,<br />

in Kanawha City…and in sight of the capitol<br />

building of West Virginia.” Cook describes<br />

it “as a favorable place of residence,<br />

commanding a good view of a slight bend<br />

in the Kanawha River, and the mouth of<br />

Campbell’s Creek, where were located the<br />

celebrated salt licks later developed by the<br />

Dickinsons and others.” Although the cabin’s<br />

exact location is unknown, Cook surmises<br />

that it stood near the old Donnally family<br />

cemetery on the south side of Kanawha<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

12


Avenue at Fifty-seventh Street. <strong>The</strong> old burial<br />

ground no longer exists, and the remains of<br />

those interred there were moved to the<br />

Old Circle section of Spring Hill Cemetery<br />

many years ago.<br />

Peace finally came to the Kanawha frontier<br />

when U.S. troops under General “Mad”<br />

Anthony Wayne defeated a Native American<br />

force in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Ohio, on<br />

August 20, 1794, and the Treaty of Greenville<br />

was signed about a year later. Settlers<br />

welcomed the fact that defense was no longer<br />

their top priority, but it meant that Daniel<br />

Boone’s days as a border defender and<br />

member of the Virginia militia had ended. In<br />

1795, the sixty-year-old Boone, his wife<br />

Rebecca and their son Nathan packed their<br />

meager possessions and departed Fort Lee<br />

on a flatboat bound for Kentucky. Son Jesse<br />

and wife, Chloe, remained in the area until<br />

1797, when they joined the others. Later,<br />

Daniel Boone moved to Missouri, where the<br />

venerable patriarch died in 1820 at the age<br />

of eighty-five.<br />

After working out organizational details<br />

for Kanawha County, local officials turned<br />

their attention to erecting public buildings.<br />

A crude jail was built in 1792, followed by<br />

a courthouse in 1796 on a lot near the center<br />

of town purchased from George Alderson.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first county clerk’s office stood near the<br />

corner of present Hale Street and Kanawha<br />

Boulevard. When frontier hostilities ended,<br />

George Clendenin and other county officials<br />

urged the state to establish a permanent<br />

settlement. On December 19, 1794, the<br />

legislature complied by designating a fortyacre<br />

tract of George Clendenin’s land as the<br />

site of a town which Clendenin officially<br />

named Charlestown (or Charles Town) in<br />

honor of his father, Charles, who had died at<br />

Fort Lee in 1790 and was buried inside<br />

the stockade.<br />

Alexander Welch, surveyor for Greenbrier<br />

County, prepared the first plat with thirtysix<br />

lots for the “town at the mouth of Elk”<br />

before 1794. Reuben Slaughter, Kanawha<br />

County surveyor, later extended the Welch<br />

survey eastward to present Dunbar Street.<br />

<strong>The</strong> original town boundary started at the<br />

east bank of Elk River and extended to<br />

present Capitol Street. Two east-west running<br />

thoroughfares, Front Street (later Kanawha<br />

Street then Kanawha Boulevard) and Main<br />

Street (Virginia Street) ran the length of the<br />

town, bisected by five unnamed north-south<br />

streets. Purchasers of the first six town lots<br />

were Josiah Harrison, Francis Watkins,<br />

Charles McClung, Alexander Welch, John<br />

Edwards, and Shadrach Harriman, and<br />

the first trustees were Reuben Slaughter,<br />

Andrew Donnally, Sr., William Clendenin,<br />

John Morris, Abraham Baker, John Young,<br />

and William Morris.<br />

✧<br />

Engraving of an elderly Daniel Boone<br />

hunting in Missouri. He moved with his<br />

family to Missouri in 1799, and lived there<br />

until his death in 1820.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

1 3


<strong>Charleston</strong> grew slowly in the early years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> estimated population stood at about<br />

35 residents in 1795, and expanded to twelve<br />

houses and 65 residents by 1800. By that<br />

time, George Clendenin had become disillusioned<br />

with the slow pace of development,<br />

and in 1796 he sold his acreage on Elk River<br />

to Joseph Ruffner. Clendenin and his wife<br />

then relocated to the east side of Ohio River<br />

near Point Pleasant, and George died the<br />

following spring while visiting his daughter<br />

in Marietta, Ohio.<br />

Samuel Williams, a resident of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

from 1803-1810, penned a pleasant description<br />

of the little settlement which later<br />

appeared in serial form in the Ladies Repository<br />

under the title, “Leaves from a Portfolio”<br />

(1851-54):<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> was at this time—1803—an<br />

inconsiderable village, with a population of<br />

about one hundred and fifty souls. <strong>The</strong><br />

houses were mostly constructed of hewn<br />

logs, with a few frame buildings, and, in the<br />

background, some small round-log cabins.<br />

<strong>The</strong> principal, or Front street, some sixty feet<br />

in width, was laid out on the beautiful bluff<br />

bank of the Kanawha River, which has an<br />

elevation of thirty or forty feet above low<br />

water. On the sloping bank between this<br />

street and the river, there were then no<br />

houses nor structures of any kind, as it was<br />

considered the common property of the town.<br />

On this street, of half a mile in length, stood<br />

about two-thirds of the houses composing the<br />

village. On another street, running parallel to<br />

this, and at a distance of some four hundred<br />

feet from it, and only opened in part, there<br />

were a few houses. <strong>The</strong> remainder lay upon<br />

cross streets, flanking the public square.<br />

<strong>The</strong> houses were constructed in plain,<br />

back-woods style; and to the best of my<br />

recollection, the painter’s brush had not<br />

passed upon any of them. <strong>The</strong> streets<br />

remained in their primitive state of nature,<br />

except that the timber had been cut off by<br />

the proprietor, who had originally cultivated<br />

the ground as a corn-field. But the sloping<br />

bank of the river, in front of the village, was<br />

still covered with large sycamore trees and<br />

paw-paw bushes. Immediately in the rear of<br />

the village lay an unbroken and dense forest of<br />

large and lofty beech, sugar, ash, and poplar<br />

timber, with thickets of paw-paw. Above, and<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

14


adjoining it, lay the beautiful farms of the<br />

Ruffner family, extending in succession, three<br />

or four miles up the river, and covering the<br />

rich alluvial bottom. About a mile in the rear<br />

of the village, and near the base of the hills<br />

bounding the Valley, lay the farm and pleasant<br />

mansion of Colonel John Reynolds…. Below,<br />

at a distance of a quarter of a mile, the<br />

Elk River, flowing in at right angles, united<br />

its placid waters with those of the Kanawha.<br />

<strong>The</strong> space between the Elk River and the<br />

village was covered with a heavy growth of<br />

sycamore trees, and with paw-paw thickets.<br />

Williams described the public square,<br />

present site of the courthouse, as near the<br />

center of the village, without any enclosure<br />

and extending from Front to Second (now<br />

Virginia) Street. <strong>The</strong> courthouse was an<br />

unpainted log building that stood about<br />

30 feet back from Front Street and featuring<br />

a plain, unadorned courtroom. A few feet<br />

south of the courthouse, and about 30 feet<br />

farther back, stood the log jail with two<br />

cells—one for debtors and the other for<br />

criminals. Williams mockingly described<br />

“those ornaments of a refined and enlightened<br />

age—the whipping-post, pillory and stocks”<br />

which stood in front of the jail near the south<br />

end of the courthouse. Law officers utilized<br />

these remnants of a bygone era to mete out<br />

punishment ranging from public lashing to<br />

tossing rotten eggs at guilty perpetrators.<br />

Among the responsibilities of the county<br />

court in the early days was to set prices that<br />

innkeepers could charge for food and drink,<br />

and to authorize a bounty for wolf scalps.<br />

<strong>The</strong> court also heard a variety of legal cases,<br />

including one in 1796 for an individual<br />

found guilty of contempt for “profane<br />

swearing,” and an individual fined in 1797<br />

for “having hunted on the Sabbath and<br />

boasted about it.” Another 1797 case ordered<br />

protection for a slave named Ned, alias<br />

Dennis Canaday, who had apparently<br />

suffered physical abuse at the hands of his<br />

owner, Samuel Fuqua.<br />

Annual state elections were held each<br />

April with three days of voting at the<br />

courthouse. On those occasions, large crowds<br />

descended on the town to cast ballots and<br />

socialize. Only freeholders could legally vote<br />

under Virginia law, but there were so<br />

few property owners in Kanawha County that<br />

the requirement was waived by common<br />

consent, according to Williams. Although not<br />

strictly legal, he claimed that all white males<br />

could vote, along with minors and travelers<br />

who happened to pass through the area<br />

during elections.<br />

✧<br />

Opposite: Original plat as drawn by<br />

Alexander Welch before 1794.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION<br />

(FROM LAIDLEY, HISTORY OF CHARLESTON AND<br />

KANAWHA COUNTY).<br />

Above: A later published version titled<br />

Plan of Town at the Mouth of Elk.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION<br />

(FROM ATKINSON, HISTORY OF KANAWHA COUNTY).<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

1 5


✧<br />

Kanawha Courthouse remained the official<br />

postal designation until 1879, when the<br />

Post Office Department adopted <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,<br />

PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION,<br />

HTTP://WWW.LOC.GOV/PICTURES/ITEM/2011660250/<br />

<strong>The</strong> Post Office Department officially designated<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> as Kanawha Courthouse<br />

when the first post office opened in 1801.<br />

Mail arrived once every two weeks, delivered<br />

on horseback from Lewisburg about 100<br />

miles distant. Families were often supplied<br />

with parcels of coffee, tea, spices, and other<br />

desirable household commodities delivered<br />

with the mail.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s early settlers were primarily<br />

yeoman farmers who pursued modest<br />

agricultural production. Corn and hogs<br />

made up the bulk of farm production, while<br />

hunting, trapping and fishing supplied food<br />

for the home table, as well as potential<br />

economic gain through sale or barter of any<br />

surplus. Modest growth raised <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

population to about 100 residents and twenty<br />

houses in 1810. <strong>The</strong> town had the added<br />

advantage of being the seat of Kanawha<br />

County, which had suffered large territorial<br />

losses but increased overall population to<br />

3,866 white residents, 352 enslaved African<br />

Americans, and 46 “free persons, excluding<br />

Indians” by 1810, a net increase of about<br />

sixteen percent in a decade. Many landowners<br />

had begun to acquire sizable acreage and<br />

erect substantial dwellings, but overt class<br />

differences among whites were not obvious in<br />

the first decades of the 1800s.<br />

When the War of 1812 began, residents<br />

rallied to the patriotic cause. Troops led by<br />

local officers like Colonel David Ruffner,<br />

Major John Stark, Major Claudius Buster,<br />

Captain Silas Reynolds, and Captain John<br />

Wilson faithfully served in the conflict<br />

which lasted until early 1815. <strong>The</strong> war also<br />

launched a new industrial economy based<br />

on salt production. “Kanawha salt” gained<br />

a substantial share of the domestic market<br />

after the United States banned imports from<br />

British possessions in the Caribbean, which<br />

made it possible for local producers to<br />

take control of western markets that had<br />

previously been monopolized by West Indian<br />

salt. As a result of the booming salt industry,<br />

Malden emerged as the first center of<br />

industrial production in the Kanawha Valley,<br />

and, <strong>Charleston</strong> remained a relatively small<br />

county seat.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

16


C H A P T E R 2<br />

TOWN AT THE MOUTH OF ELK<br />

1820-1860<br />

<strong>The</strong> Kanawha salt industry traces its commercial origins to 1797, less than a decade after<br />

construction of Fort Lee. Colonel John Dickinson, a veteran of the Battle of Point Pleasant and<br />

resident of Bath County, Virginia, owned two tracts of land along the Kanawha River that he had<br />

surveyed in November 1784. One was 704 acres in the area of present Belle, and the other a 502-<br />

acre parcel at the mouth of Campbell’s Creek that included the famous brine springs where Mary<br />

Ingles’ Shawnee captors had stopped to make salt three decades earlier. In 1796, Dickinson sold<br />

the salt lands to Joseph Ruffner, Sr., from Massanutten, near Luray, in the Shenandoah Valley of<br />

Virginia. Elisha Brooks leased the salt spring from Ruffner in 1797, where he built a small furnace<br />

consisting of about two dozen kettles set in rows with a flue beneath them. Brooks<br />

sank hollow logs (or gums) into shallow wells and drew out enough brine with a “swape” (sweep)<br />

to make 150 pounds of salt a day, which he sold at the furnace for eight to ten cents a pound.<br />

When Joseph Ruffner, Sr., died in 1802, sons David and Joseph inherited his salt lands. <strong>The</strong><br />

pair made numerous advances in drilling technology, and in 1808 they sank deeper wells<br />

to hit stronger brine that yielded a bushel of salt for every 200 gallons of liquid, which raised<br />

capacity to 1,250 pounds per day and reduced the cost to four cents a pound. <strong>The</strong> Ruffner brothers<br />

continued to innovate, and on January 18, 1817, David and Joseph received a patent<br />

for a “mode of obtaining salt water.” Unfortunately, details were lost in a fire at the U.S. Patent<br />

Office in 1836. Later, David and Joseph Ruffner’s younger brother, Tobias, successfully used<br />

horsepower to sink a well to a depth of 410 feet, which tapped brine so strong that 45 gallons<br />

produced a bushel of salt. Technological improvements pioneered by the Ruffners, combined with<br />

increasing demand for salt in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, led to a drilling frenzy along<br />

both sides of Kanawha River for ten miles between <strong>Charleston</strong> and Brownstown (present Marmet).<br />

✧<br />

Ashton Woodman Renier’s 1926 rendering<br />

of the Kanawha & James River Turnpike,<br />

which became known as the Midland Trail<br />

during the automobile era.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION,<br />

(FROM RENIERS, THE MIDLAND TRAIL TOUR).<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

1 7


✧<br />

This comprehensive map of Kanawha salt<br />

furnaces operating prior to the Civil War<br />

includes fifty-seven identified and<br />

eight unknown locations.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

(FROM THE SALT INDUSTRY IN THE KANAWHA VALLEY).<br />

By 1815, some 52 furnaces lined both riverbanks<br />

and produced up to 3,000 bushels of<br />

salt daily, and three times that by the late<br />

1840s. With its center at Malden (or Kanawha<br />

Salines), Kanawha Valley salt became the<br />

major export commodity in all of trans-<br />

Allegheny Virginia.<br />

Production grew steadily until 1846,<br />

when area operations led the nation with a<br />

total yield of 3.2 million bushels. Salt making<br />

had a profound ripple effect on the local<br />

economy by spurring a number of ancillary<br />

industries and creating hundreds of jobs for<br />

coopers, boat builders, sawmill operators,<br />

and more. With tremendous industrial<br />

growth, practically all viable trees in close<br />

proximity to the furnaces had been cut and<br />

burned within a fairly short time, prompting<br />

operators to turn to coal as fuel. David Ruffner<br />

became the first operator to use coal, and<br />

virtually all operators converted to it by<br />

1822. As a result coal mines opened along<br />

Kanawha River to create the area’s first<br />

industrial mining jobs. Inventiveness led<br />

the way for other improvements in drilling<br />

and pumping technology. Local innovators<br />

included driller William “Uncle Billy” Morris<br />

who invented the “slips” or “jars,” a doubleacting<br />

bit that made deeper rock drilling<br />

possible. Jars became an industry standard<br />

and are still in use today. Edwin Drake<br />

employed well-diggers from Kanawha to<br />

make the first successful oil strike at<br />

Titusville, Pennsylvania.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

18


Another significant contribution of the<br />

Kanawha salt producers was a business innovation<br />

that is commonplace today but was<br />

unknown in the early 1800s. In an attempt to<br />

control output and markets, local producers<br />

created legal combinations that included<br />

output pools, lease contracts, joint stock<br />

companies, and a proposed trust that were<br />

the first of their type in the nation. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

efforts originated with over-expansion of<br />

the Kanawha Valley salt industry during the<br />

boom years surrounding the War of 1812. As<br />

a result, prices fell below manufacturing and<br />

distribution costs, causing salt companies<br />

to fail. At war’s end, vast amounts of imports<br />

from the West Indies flooded local markets<br />

and forced Kanawha producers to sell their<br />

salt at steeply reduced prices. To meet the<br />

revived competition, and help curtail overproduction,<br />

producers in 1817 formed the<br />

Kanawha Salt Company, an output pool and<br />

central sales agency for member producers<br />

that attempted to limit production and assign<br />

quotas to each member. Considered to be the<br />

earliest known output pool in the U.S., it met<br />

with varying levels of success and operated<br />

in some form or other for about fifteen years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> promise of economic gain enticed<br />

many individuals to enter the local salt<br />

business. By 1815 one source observed that<br />

area producers had “almost unbounded<br />

wealth.” Included among them were members<br />

of the Ruffner, Dickinson, Shrewsbury,<br />

Lewis, Brooks, Donnally, Quarrier, Noyes, and<br />

Tompkins families—not coincidentally, these<br />

would be the same names which dominated<br />

the region’s antebellum public and political<br />

life. It should come as no surprise that many<br />

of these pioneer families were among the first<br />

generation of entrepreneurs to also develop<br />

the region’s timber, coal, and natural gas<br />

resources, and remain local scions of industry<br />

(and philanthropy) to the present day.<br />

Antebellum salt-making enterprises obviously<br />

created opportunity and wealth for some<br />

residents, but prosperity came at a high price<br />

because the industry firmly established slavery<br />

as a primary source of labor in the antebellum<br />

period. To be sure, slavery had existed in<br />

Kanawha County since its founding, but the<br />

number of enslaved African Americans and<br />

white owners were both low, as indicated by<br />

the 1792 personal property list for the county<br />

which records 25 slaves above 16 years of age<br />

and only 17 slave owners. In that year, the<br />

estate of William Morris (who died in 1792)<br />

held four slaves, the highest number owned by<br />

one individual. By 1801, the total number of<br />

slaves over the age of 16 grew to 121 and those<br />

over 12 years of age increased to 27 individuals<br />

(148 total), while 70 whites owned slaves.<br />

In that year, seven different whites held more<br />

than five slaves, with Joseph Childers owning<br />

seven individuals.<br />

Prior to the War of 1812, salt producers<br />

had viewed “the hardy sons of yeomanry as<br />

best adapted to the toils and privations of the<br />

business.” However, a persistent labor shortage<br />

in the burgeoning industry made it possible<br />

for area salt makers to turn overwhelmingly<br />

to slavery. As a result, slave labor evolved<br />

into a dominant corporate enterprise by the<br />

mid-1800s; the largest and most influential<br />

salt operators had become big-time slave<br />

owners or lessees by 1850, when Kanawha<br />

County’s enslaved population reached an alltime<br />

high of 3,140 individuals. <strong>The</strong>y included<br />

the firm of Dickinson & Shrewsbury with 232<br />

slaves, John N. Clarkson with 153, Andrew<br />

Donnally & Company with 120, Joseph<br />

Friend and John D. Lewis with 109, and<br />

Samuel H. Early with 73 slaves. At least half of<br />

the county’s slaves worked in the salt industry.<br />

In addition to the stain of industrial slavery,<br />

the never-ending smoke emanating from<br />

the salt works led to environmental degradation<br />

in and around Malden. To escape the<br />

foul air and water, as well as the so-called<br />

“rough elements” around the furnaces, some<br />

salt makers began to relocate a few miles<br />

downriver (and upwind) to <strong>Charleston</strong> by the<br />

1820s, where they built large and stately<br />

homes along the waterfront. <strong>The</strong>se residents<br />

helped <strong>Charleston</strong> transition from a sleepy<br />

Southern village into a bustling river town<br />

with a growing number of churches, schools,<br />

businesses, and other amenities.<br />

One early observer of the salt operations<br />

was Anne Newport Royall, considered by<br />

some to be the first professional woman<br />

journalist in the United States. Anne relocated<br />

from Monroe County to <strong>Charleston</strong> after<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

1 9


✧<br />

Top, left: After the War of 1812, the<br />

Kanawha salt industry increasingly relied<br />

on slave labor to perform essential tasks,<br />

including working the furnaces, coopering,<br />

or packing and loading salt.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

(FROM KING, THE GREAT SOUTH).<br />

Top, right: At one time, John P. Hale owned<br />

the Betty Lovell, Snow Hill, White Hawk,<br />

and McMullins salt furnaces, which yielded<br />

1,500 bushels per day, making him the<br />

area’s leading producer.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

(FROM KING, THE GREAT SOUTH).<br />

Right: This courthouse was erected in 1817<br />

to replace the original 1796 log building.<br />

It stood until the present courthouse was<br />

constructed on the site in 1892.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

her husband, William Royall, died in 1812.<br />

She lived uneventfully in <strong>Charleston</strong> until<br />

about 1817, when she sold her house and<br />

two lots to fund a life-changing trip to<br />

Alabama, stating that “hitherto, I have only<br />

learned mankind in theory—but I am now<br />

studying him in practice.” She traveled<br />

extensively from Louisiana to Maine in the<br />

early 1820s and published her observations<br />

as Sketches of History, Life and Manners in the<br />

United States (1826), a work that firmly<br />

established her reputation. Anne settled in<br />

Washington and in 1831 published Paul Pry,<br />

a newspaper that exposed political corruption<br />

and fraud, followed by <strong>The</strong> Huntress in<br />

1836. For thirty years she struggled to keep<br />

the nation informed. A passionate patriot, her<br />

spirit and tenacity survive in her writings.<br />

Anne Royall died in 1854 and is buried in<br />

the Congressional Cemetery in Washington.<br />

In her travels through the Kanawha Valley in<br />

1823, she described the industrial scene at<br />

Kanawha Salines:<br />

In contrast, Royall described an altogether<br />

different landscape but a few miles downriver:<br />

Elks are often seen at the head of Elk river,<br />

which empties into Kenhawa [sic] river at a<br />

little town of <strong>Charleston</strong>, the seat of justice<br />

for this county…. In this town are four stores,<br />

two taverns, a court-house, a jail and an<br />

academy; the three last are of brick; and a<br />

post-office, a printing press and some very<br />

handsome buildings.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

20<br />

<strong>The</strong>se salt-works are dismal looking<br />

places; the sameness of the long low sheds;<br />

smoking boilers; men, the roughest that can<br />

be seen, half naked; hundreds of boat-men;<br />

horses and oxen, ill-used and beat by their<br />

drivers; the mournful screaking of the<br />

machinery, day and night; the bare, rugged,<br />

inhospitable looking mountain, from which<br />

all the timber has been cut, give to it a<br />

gloomy appearance.


At the time, <strong>Charleston</strong>’s population stood<br />

at around 500 residents. (Not before 1830<br />

would the town be designated separately<br />

from Kanawha County in the federal census.)<br />

Its transformation from a frontier village to a<br />

small, but modern, seat of government had<br />

begun in 1817, when the old log courthouse<br />

was replaced with a new and modern brick<br />

structure. With its population on the rise,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> gained legislative approval to<br />

extend its boundaries on February 4, 1825,<br />

and in 1833 to raise $10,000 by lottery for<br />

paving its streets. In 1829, a sturdy new jail<br />

was added to the courthouse complex.<br />

According to resident Joel Ruffner, “No one<br />

ever escaped from that jail except by means<br />

of the doorway.”<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s transition from a struggling<br />

frontier outpost to a promising little village<br />

would not have been possible without internal<br />

improvements. As early as 1784, George<br />

Washington urged Governor Benjamin<br />

Harrison to link the eastern and western<br />

regions of Virginia with suitable transportation.<br />

At Harrison’s urging, the legislature<br />

chartered the James River and Kanawha<br />

Canal Company in 1785. Also, in that year, it<br />

authorized a state road to be constructed from<br />

Lewisburg to Kanawha Falls along the general<br />

path of the trail used by Andrew Lewis’ army<br />

on their march to Point Pleasant in 1774.<br />

<strong>The</strong> route had originated as a meandering<br />

game trail used by Native Americans to reach<br />

the Kanawha Licks on Campbell’s Creek. In<br />

1791, the road was improved to the head of<br />

navigation on Kanawha River at Kelly’s Creek,<br />

where westward travelers secured bateaux or<br />

flatboats to travel further downriver.<br />

Opened to the Ohio River by 1800, the<br />

Old State Road became a toll route in 1809.<br />

However, the growing importance of Kanawha<br />

salt soon required a more reliable all-weather<br />

passage, so Virginia in 1820 authorized the<br />

James River Company to construct a new<br />

overland route to Kanawha Falls as part of the<br />

James River and Kanawha Canal project. By<br />

1824, the James River and Kanawha Turnpike<br />

(or, Kanawha turnpike for short) ran from<br />

Lewisburg to the north bank of Kanawha<br />

River at Montgomery’s Ferry, twenty-five<br />

miles above <strong>Charleston</strong>. In 1829, the Virginia<br />

legislature authorized extending the route to the<br />

mouth of the Big Sandy River on the Ohio.<br />

Completed in 1832, it crossed the Kanawha<br />

River at <strong>Charleston</strong>, passed through Coalsmouth<br />

(St. Albans) and followed Teays Valley to the<br />

Mud River. It then bridged the Guyandotte<br />

River at Barboursville and terminated at<br />

Kenova on the Ohio, with a branch extending<br />

to nearby Guyandotte. A weekly stage line<br />

began operating between Lewisburg and<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> in 1827, and service soon continued<br />

to Kentucky. Eventually, stages operated on<br />

a daily basis to Guyandotte on the Ohio River.<br />

In 1831, the stages began carrying the<br />

mail. Well-to-do travelers in finely adorned<br />

carriages shared the route with peddlers,<br />

beggars and immigrants on foot, but they<br />

all yielded to the great livestock drives that<br />

took place in the fall. Drovers moved an<br />

estimated 60,000 hogs annually over the<br />

road. Following the so-called ‘‘central line,’’<br />

the Kanawha Turnpike remained an important<br />

passage until completion of the Chesapeake<br />

and Ohio Railroad after the Civil War.<br />

✧<br />

Travelers commonly encountered large<br />

hog drives in the fall along the Kanawha<br />

Turnpike, which created traffic jams on<br />

the road.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION, (FROM<br />

HARPER’S NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 1857).<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

2 1


✧<br />

Above: Four-horsepower stagecoaches were<br />

a common site on the Kanawha Turnpike,<br />

but faster six-team “cannonball” stages<br />

caught the attention of bystanders when<br />

they thundered by.<br />

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY<br />

OF CONGRESS, AMERICAN MEMORY COLLECTION,<br />

HTTP://MEMORY.LOC.GOV/AMMEM/NDLPCOOP/MOAHTML/<br />

TITLE/SCMO_VOLS.HTML<br />

Right: April 2, 1828 edition of Western<br />

Virginian announcing new packet service<br />

between <strong>Charleston</strong> and Cincinnati.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Samuel Shrewbury house still<br />

stands at Belle.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

In addition to a growing network of overland<br />

routes, <strong>Charleston</strong> really came into its<br />

own as a river town. For many years flatboats<br />

moved downriver, and keelboats later traveled<br />

to and from <strong>Charleston</strong> with limited<br />

cargo and passengers. However, impediments<br />

on Kanawha River in the form of ten separate<br />

rapids or shoals between <strong>Charleston</strong> and<br />

Point Pleasant caused numerous wrecks,<br />

sometimes with loss of life and cargo.<br />

Johnson Shoals at Scary Creek and Red<br />

House Shoals between present Red House<br />

and Winfield were the most treacherous.<br />

<strong>The</strong> advent of steamboat technology led to<br />

calls for river improvements, and in 1819<br />

the legislature authorized a sluice navigation<br />

project to clear channels, dredge bars, and<br />

excavate “dug chutes” at dangerous locations.<br />

In December 1820, nine years after the<br />

advent of steamboat travel on the Ohio<br />

River, the 230-ton Andrew Donnally successfully<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

22


navigated the Kanawha hazards and became<br />

the first steamboat to reach <strong>Charleston</strong>. Three<br />

years later, the sidewheeler Eliza duplicated<br />

the feat. Built for the salt trade, she took on a<br />

load of salt at Kanawha Salines and shipped<br />

it to Cincinnati. Although it would prove<br />

to be Eliza’s sole voyage up the Kanawha,<br />

steamboats regularly operated to the salt<br />

furnaces and packet boat service connected<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> with Point Pleasant, Cincinnati,<br />

Parkersburg and Pittsburgh by 1825. River<br />

traffic increased steadily through the years,<br />

and in 1842 a total of 156 steamboats<br />

docked at the wharf. By then, <strong>Charleston</strong> had<br />

cemented its standing as a river destination.<br />

As with other towns and villages across<br />

Virginia, efforts to establish formal educational<br />

institutions in <strong>Charleston</strong> faced obstacles<br />

in the early 1800s. Persistent illiteracy<br />

stemmed in part from the harsh realities<br />

of life in a wilderness setting, as pioneer<br />

settlers came to place more value on knowledge<br />

and skills learned in the home, on<br />

the farm and in the forest, and less on<br />

formal education. In time, public apathy<br />

became commonplace.<br />

<strong>The</strong> historical record is vague on early<br />

education, but a school apparently existed at<br />

William Morris’s settlement on Kelly’s Creek<br />

by 1798. It was possibly the first school in<br />

the Kanawha Valley, and somewhat of an<br />

exception. Generally, students attended<br />

private subscription schools where parents or<br />

other subscribers had to pay tuition. School<br />

terms lasted about two months, and the quality<br />

of learning varied greatly. Educational<br />

opportunities for less economically advantaged<br />

children opened up in 1810, when<br />

Virginia established the Literary Fund which<br />

made money available for each county to<br />

educate the children of indigent families.<br />

Commissioners determined the number of<br />

eligible children typically between age seven<br />

to fifteen, and then made money available for<br />

them to attend existing subscription schools.<br />

In 1831, Kanawha County counted 350<br />

children eligible for literary funds, but only<br />

204 students attended the twenty existing<br />

schools an average of fifty-five days. School<br />

attendance remained low because parents<br />

either did not see the importance of formal<br />

education or would not accept what they<br />

viewed as charity.<br />

In 1829 the Virginia General Assembly<br />

introduced a new formula for free education<br />

when it established district free schools.<br />

Under the plan, counties were divided into<br />

school districts and a free school was created<br />

in each district. Unfortunately, Kanawha<br />

County opted not to participate in the<br />

program. Rather, Presbyterian minister and<br />

educator, Henry Ruffner, led the local fight for<br />

a free statewide school system. He proposed<br />

that schools be supported by a general property<br />

tax, with a state superintendent and<br />

teachers trained at state-supported normal<br />

schools. After much political debate, the legislature<br />

enacted a measure in 1846 to permit<br />

counties to vote on the question of free public<br />

schools. Kanawha County acted quickly to<br />

endorse the plan, and on April 23, 1847,<br />

voters overwhelmingly approved it. However,<br />

salt makers balked at the proposed plan due<br />

to added taxes they would be forced to pay. In<br />

1853 the salt making firm of Dickinson and<br />

Shrewsbury refused to pay the school tax,<br />

which lowered the funds available to<br />

Kanawha County. According to Charles<br />

Ambler in A History of Education in West<br />

Virginia from Colonial Times to 1949, these<br />

influential men still held the conservative<br />

belief that free schools saddled “the liberal<br />

and just” with the responsibility of educating<br />

“the parsimonious and niggardly.” As a result,<br />

free education remained unobtainable for<br />

many whites.<br />

White students who had the means and the<br />

motivation could continue their studies at one<br />

of several private academies located throughout<br />

the region. Founded in 1819, Mercer<br />

Academy was the first such institution of<br />

learning to offer more than a basic education<br />

in <strong>Charleston</strong>. In 1822, David Ruffner offered<br />

academy officials a lot on which to erect a new<br />

building near the corner of Hale and Quarrier<br />

Streets. Judge Lewis Summers recommended<br />

the highly qualified Henry Ruffner as the first<br />

teacher. Eager to see the school opened,<br />

Ruffner personally paid carpenters to finish<br />

the floors and build bench seats. Mercer<br />

Academy offered male students a curriculum<br />

of Greek, Latin, French, English grammar<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

2 3


✧<br />

Many <strong>Charleston</strong> families sent their sons<br />

to Buffalo Academy, established in 1849 at<br />

Buffalo in Putnam County. Like Mercer<br />

Academy, it offered a liberal education in<br />

the classics, languages, science, literature,<br />

and religion.<br />

COURTESY OF WEST VIRGINIA CYCLOPEDIA,<br />

HTTP://WWW.WVEXP.COM/INDEX.PHP/FILE:BUFFALO_<br />

ACADEMY.JPG<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

24<br />

and composition, logic and rhetoric, general<br />

science, surveying, algebra, chemistry, astronomy,<br />

moral philosophy, political economy,<br />

and law. It prospered in the antebellum years<br />

and educated many of the valley’s leading<br />

male citizens until 1862, when Union forces<br />

burned it during the Battle of <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

Meanwhile, education of black children<br />

was prohibited under Virginia state law after<br />

the Nat Turner slave rebellion in Southampton<br />

County, in 1831. Fear of slave insurrections<br />

and the spread of abolitionist ideology and<br />

materials led to radical restrictions on gatherings,<br />

travel, and literacy. Slave ignorance was<br />

considered necessary to the security of their<br />

owners, therefore reading, writing and reflection<br />

were to be prevented at any cost, lest<br />

slaves begin to question their condition. In<br />

addition to slave proscriptions, the legislature<br />

passed laws restricting the rights of free people<br />

of color, who were excluded from bearing<br />

arms, serving in the militia, gaining an education,<br />

and assembling in groups. As a result,<br />

enslaved blacks often turned to religion to<br />

deliver them from their earthly troubles.<br />

Because simple survival required so much<br />

time and effort, worldly pursuits sometimes<br />

took precedence over spiritual organization. In<br />

many cases, residents remained steadfastly<br />

connected to the churches they or their families<br />

had known before arriving in the area,<br />

which provided a solid spiritual foundation<br />

during difficult times. By 1850, Kanawha<br />

County had 28 churches—12 Methodist, 11<br />

Baptist, three Episcopal and two Presbyterian.<br />

Baptist and Methodist faiths were the most<br />

popular, with the Baptists apparently organizing<br />

the first churches. <strong>The</strong> Morris family and<br />

other early settlers in the upper Kanawha<br />

Valley had originally come from Culpeper<br />

County, Virginia, a center of Baptist influence<br />

after 1765. <strong>The</strong>y took the lead in organizing<br />

the local church by encouraging John Alderson<br />

and James Johnston to establish a Baptist congregation<br />

at Crown Hill, near present Pratt, in<br />

1793. Although the Baptists had firmly established<br />

themselves throughout central West<br />

Virginia by the 1830s, <strong>Charleston</strong> did not get<br />

an official church until after the Civil War.<br />

In contrast to the slow growth of the Baptist<br />

faith, Methodism rapidly took hold in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>. One reason for success was that its<br />

organization allowed a small number of people<br />

to create a class led by a local lay leader and<br />

linked by ordained clergymen who regularly<br />

visited to lead worship services and administer<br />

the sacraments. Owing in large measure to the<br />

efforts of these dedicated itinerant circuit<br />

riders, the Methodists successfully took their<br />

spiritual message to the people. On January 1,<br />

1804, Reverend William Steele preached the<br />

first Methodist sermon on record at a private<br />

home in <strong>Charleston</strong>. Later that year, Marion<br />

County native Asa Shinn commenced riding<br />

the newly formed Guyandotte Circuit, a large<br />

and rugged route embracing settlements<br />

stretching from the Ohio River to the<br />

Guyandotte and Kanawha Valleys. In the<br />

1820s, Shinn joined with voices calling for<br />

reform in the Methodist Episcopal Church,<br />

and in 1829 he withdrew to become a leader<br />

in forming the Methodist Protestant Church.<br />

In 1814, Henry B. Bascom received an<br />

appointment to ride the Guyandotte Circuit.<br />

<strong>The</strong> eighteen-year-old circuit rider traveled an<br />

amazing 3,000 miles, preached 400 sermons,<br />

and organized the first Methodist society in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> that year. Services often included<br />

popular camp meetings that attracted hundreds<br />

of worshipers. Although Daniel Ruffner<br />

practiced the Presbyterian faith, he reportedly<br />

erected a large tent to accommodate 100<br />

persons and allowed pasturage of horses<br />

for Methodist camp meetings held in a field


on his farm up Ruffner Hollow<br />

(present Greenbrier Street)<br />

along Elk Two-Mile Creek.<br />

In 1821 the Methodists built<br />

their first house of worship, a<br />

log structure at the corner of<br />

Quarrier and Hale Streets.<br />

In 1834, the church constructed<br />

Asbury Chapel, where the<br />

congregation met until 1872.<br />

During that time the church<br />

split over issues of slavery and<br />

governance, creating a Southern<br />

branch which left and formed<br />

the <strong>First</strong> Methodist Episcopal<br />

Church, South. In 1872, the<br />

church built a new and larger<br />

house of worship at the corner of State (now<br />

Lee) and Court Streets (the site of Laidley<br />

Tower). Kanawha Presbyterian Church later<br />

purchased Asbury Chapel.<br />

In contrast to the Baptist and Methodist<br />

churches, which were less centrally organized<br />

and had great success in spreading their<br />

message in sparsely settled rural areas, the<br />

Presbyterians and Episcopalians focused their<br />

efforts in towns and cities with larger populations.<br />

As a result, <strong>Charleston</strong> did not get a<br />

Presbyterian minister until November 1815,<br />

when young Henry Ruffner delivered his<br />

first sermon. Henry was born in Luray,<br />

Virginia, in 1790 to Ann and David Ruffner,<br />

who later relocated to Malden, where David<br />

became a successful salt maker. Henry Ruffner<br />

studied at Lewisburg Academy under John<br />

McElhenney, pastor of the Old Stone Church<br />

in Lewisburg, and obtained his theology degree<br />

at Washington College (now Washington and<br />

Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia. After<br />

gaining his Presbyterian licensure in 1815,<br />

Ruffner became pastor-at-large who organized<br />

the Presbyterian denomination in the Kanawha<br />

Valley. His ordination came three years later,<br />

and on March 14, 1819, he organized the<br />

Kanawha Presbyterian Church with congregations<br />

at <strong>Charleston</strong> and Malden.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> congregants established what<br />

would become <strong>First</strong> Presbyterian Church.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y met at the Mercer Academy until 1830,<br />

when they completed their first building. In<br />

1872 the Kanawha church amiably split into<br />

two bodies, with members who had sided<br />

with the southern presbytery taking the name<br />

<strong>First</strong> Presbyterian Church and those who<br />

followed the northern assembly becoming<br />

Kanawha Presbyterian Church. In the ensuing<br />

property division, the southern church<br />

retained the original building lot, while the<br />

northern worshipers took possession of the<br />

manse and the lot on which it stood about<br />

two blocks to the west. Both congregations<br />

went on to construct iconic houses of worship<br />

on Virginia Street. Opened in 1885, Kanawha<br />

Presbyterian Church stands at 1009 Virginia<br />

Street East. <strong>First</strong> Presbyterian Church is at<br />

1101 Virginia Street East. Built in 1915, <strong>First</strong><br />

Presbyterian has been connected with the<br />

creation of at least two dozen churches<br />

throughout the Kanawha Valley.<br />

Episcopalian worship in the Kanawha<br />

Valley traces its origins to St. Mark’s Episcopal<br />

Church, founded in 1814 at Coalsmouth<br />

(St. Albans) by Joseph Willard, a missionary<br />

from Marietta, Ohio. Later, St. John’s in<br />

the Valley became a mission of the church.<br />

On January 13, 1823, members of the two<br />

Episcopal congregations met at Mercer<br />

Academy and established St. John’s vestry in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>. In 1839 members consecrated<br />

their first building, a brick structure that<br />

stood on the northwest corner of Virginia<br />

and McFarland Streets. After its use by<br />

the Union Army during the Civil War,<br />

the building was repaired and refurbished.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, in 1888, the congregation moved<br />

✧<br />

Top: Engraving of a typical Methodist camp<br />

meeting in 1819.<br />

ENGRAVING COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF<br />

CONGRESS, PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION,<br />

HTTP://WWW.LOC.GOV/PICTURES/ITEM/98508274/<br />

Above: Henry Ruffner (1790-1861)<br />

served as president of Washington College<br />

from 1836 to 1848, then participated in<br />

the emancipation movement in<br />

Louisville, Kentucky<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE LEYBURN LIBRARY,<br />

WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY.<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

2 5


✧<br />

Originally the Methodist Asbury Chapel<br />

(610 Virginia Street), this building housed<br />

Kanawha Presbyterian Church from 1873<br />

until the current church was completed<br />

in 1885.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE KANAWHA COUNTY<br />

PUBLIC LIBRARY.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

26<br />

into the beautiful Gothic Revival edifice that it<br />

still occupies on the corner of Quarrier Street<br />

and Leon Sullivan Way. St. John’s Church has<br />

a distinguished history which includes many<br />

prominent names in <strong>Charleston</strong>’s past. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

include: Reverend James Craik, whose father<br />

was George Washington’s secretary during<br />

the president’s second term and whose grandfather<br />

was Washington’s personal physician;<br />

Colonel George S. Patton, a Confederate<br />

soldier and grandfather of World War II<br />

general George S. Patton; Dr. Spicer Patrick,<br />

a noted <strong>Charleston</strong> businessman; and Judge<br />

George W. Summers, a prominent politician<br />

and statesman.<br />

In addition to embracing religious diversity,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>ians have always valued the<br />

importance of a free press. Interest in political<br />

issues and current events led to a rapid expansion<br />

of newspapers during the late colonial<br />

and early national period. Shepherdstown<br />

established the first broadsheet in present-day<br />

West Virginia in 1790, followed by ones in<br />

Morgantown, Clarksburg, and Wheeling.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s first newspaper debuted on<br />

October 21, 1820, when Herbert P. Gaines<br />

published the Kenhawa [sic] Spectator. After<br />

Gaines became principal of Mercer Academy,<br />

Mason Campbell took charge in 1822 and continued<br />

publishing the Western Virginian and the<br />

Western Virginian and Kanawha County Gazette.<br />

Brothers James M. and Alexander T.<br />

Laidley bought the paper and<br />

published it as the Western Register<br />

until 1829, then as the Kanawha<br />

Register. Lewisburg published the<br />

only other newspaper in southern<br />

West Virginia before 1830. In that<br />

year, Mason Campbell and Ezra<br />

Walker bought the printing plant<br />

from the Laidleys and founded<br />

the Kanawha Banner, which they<br />

published for five years. A proliferation<br />

of regional newspapers after<br />

1830 echoed growing political<br />

sectionalism in Virginia and the<br />

United States. By 1860, at least<br />

thirty-nine West Virginia towns<br />

had at least one newspaper and ten<br />

of them were in southern counties.<br />

As sectional tensions escalated,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> newspapers became more politically<br />

active. Whig publications included the<br />

Kanawha Patriot and the Kanawha Republican,<br />

founded by Enos W. Newton in 1841.<br />

Newton ran the Republican until his death in<br />

1865 (it operated until 1871), and set a high<br />

standard which made it the finest antebellum<br />

newspaper in <strong>Charleston</strong>. Several publications,<br />

including the Kanawha Jeffersonian and<br />

the Western Virginian, offered political opposition<br />

to the Kanawha Republican but they<br />

never gained a high readership. Another, the<br />

Kanawha Valley Star, met with some success<br />

after its founding in Buffalo in 1855 and<br />

move to <strong>Charleston</strong> in 1857 as the Star of the<br />

Kanawha Valley. <strong>The</strong> Star espoused a staunchly<br />

Democratic, pro-Southern and states’<br />

rights viewpoint that made it popular with<br />

conservative readers. Its fiery publisher, John<br />

Rundle, joined the Confederate service and<br />

Union troops confiscated his press during the<br />

Civil War. Meanwhile, Kanawha County’s<br />

first official Republican newspaper was the<br />

West Virginia Journal, published from 1864<br />

until after the Civil War.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> gained a reputation for being<br />

an attractive village prior to the Civil War.<br />

In 1845 author and historian Henry Howe<br />

teamed with engraver John Warner Barber<br />

to publish <strong>Historic</strong>al Collections of Virginia.<br />

In it, Howe describes the picturesque town:


<strong>Charleston</strong>, the seat of justice for the<br />

county, is 308 miles W. of Richmond, and<br />

46 miles E. of the Ohio River. It is a neat<br />

and flourishing village on the north bank<br />

of the Kanawha…. <strong>The</strong>re are in the place,<br />

11 dry-goods and 6 grocery stores, 2 saw<br />

and grist mills, a newspaper printing-office,<br />

a branch of the Bank of Virginia, and a<br />

population of about 1,500. <strong>The</strong> district court<br />

of the United States is held at this place twice<br />

a year. Within the present century <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

has arisen from the wilderness. Where, within<br />

the memory of man, a few scattered log-huts<br />

once arrested the traveller’s [sic] eye, he now<br />

sees commodious and, in some instances,<br />

elegant buildings, the abodes of comfort and<br />

refinement. <strong>The</strong> Kanawha is here a beautiful<br />

sheet of water, more than 300 yards wide,<br />

and is navigated by steamboats. <strong>The</strong> state<br />

turnpike, the principal thoroughfare from<br />

Richmond to Guyandotte on the Ohio, passes<br />

through the town. Fine sandstone and bituminous<br />

coal abound in the vicinity. It is nearly<br />

20 miles below the falls before the Kanawha<br />

valley widens into something like a plain, and<br />

opens its beautiful vista to the eye. <strong>The</strong> mountains<br />

which enclose it on either side become<br />

gradually depressed into hills; and, for the first<br />

time, the dense, dark volumes of smoke which<br />

ascend from the salt-furnaces, announce the<br />

busy and bustling scene which enlivens the<br />

highway to the village of <strong>Charleston</strong>. What a<br />

scene of animation, indeed, contrasted with<br />

the deep solitudes from which the traveller<br />

[sic] has but just emerged. Here he is feasted<br />

with a continued succession of green meadows<br />

and cultivated fields, teeming with flocks and<br />

herds, and adorned by commodious and even<br />

elegant mansions.<br />

proposed a new state called “Appalachia” to<br />

be carved from the western counties.<br />

In 1851 state lawmakers adopted a new<br />

constitution that introduced major reforms,<br />

including universal white male suffrage<br />

without property qualifications. However,<br />

the “slavery defense” remained a significant<br />

obstacle to statewide unity in the decade<br />

before the Civil War. <strong>The</strong> general absence<br />

of slaves in northwestern counties caused<br />

residents there to align more closely with<br />

surrounding northern states. Believing that<br />

slavery was a deterrent to economic growth,<br />

many trans-Allegheny leaders supported a<br />

free labor economy. Westerners did not generally<br />

espouse radical abolitionist views, but<br />

many did favor gradual emancipation and<br />

supported the view that natural resources and<br />

✧<br />

St. John’s Episcopal Church at<br />

1105 Quarrier Street was consecrated in<br />

1888, and the parish house was completed<br />

in 1928. Both are listed on the National<br />

Register of <strong>Historic</strong> Places.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA COMMONS.<br />

Howe’s pleasant description of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

does not betray a hint of ongoing sectional<br />

strife in Virginia. However, western residents<br />

had long been clamoring for change from<br />

Richmond on a number of issues, including<br />

internal improvements, state-sponsored free<br />

schools, banks to provide much-needed capital,<br />

universal white male suffrage without<br />

property qualifications, and more equal representation<br />

in the legislature. Enos W. Newton,<br />

editor of the Kanawha Republican, actually<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

2 7


✧<br />

Top, left: Henry Ruffner’s 1847<br />

Address to the People of West Virginia<br />

by a Slaveholder of West Virginia was<br />

roundly criticized in Southern circles and<br />

hailed by Northern abolitionists.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

free workers would attract capital, industry,<br />

and settlers, whereas continued dependence<br />

on slavery actually hampered economic<br />

development. In 1847, Reverend Henry Ruffner<br />

spoke out in favor of gradual emancipation<br />

at an address before the Franklin Society of<br />

Lexington, in which he blamed slavery for<br />

the economic problems plaguing Western<br />

Virginia. Ruffner also printed his remarks in a<br />

controversial anti-slavery treatise, An Address<br />

to the People of West Virginia by a Slaveholder<br />

of West Virginia (1847), commonly called the<br />

‘‘Ruffner Pamphlet.’’ His address made a<br />

reasoned and insightful argument for gradual<br />

emancipation for economic and social<br />

reasons, a bold pronouncement from a<br />

prominent member of an important Virginia<br />

slave-owning family.<br />

Amidst growing sectional strife in Virginia<br />

and nationwide, <strong>Charleston</strong> grappled with<br />

its own internal issues related to self-governance.<br />

Despite its growing status as a minimetropolis<br />

for the Kanawha Valley, the town<br />

suffered from a weak and unresponsive government<br />

legally bound to yield power to the<br />

county. An editorial in the February 3, 1857,<br />

issue of the Kanawha Valley Star revealed the<br />

perceived problem:<br />

We have a town, but it looks rather<br />

shabby…. We have a charter, but it has<br />

been forgotten—bylaws, but they have been<br />

lost…. <strong>The</strong> town seems actually to have<br />

become a waif, and has been taken up by<br />

the county court, and put under the county<br />

justices as derelict property.<br />

Top, right: This is an 1845 view of<br />

Kanawha Street at the intersection of<br />

Cox’s Lane (Capitol Street). Large buildings<br />

at right are the 1832 Bank of Virginia<br />

(at corner) and Kanawha Hotel. <strong>The</strong> Union<br />

Building now stands on the site of the<br />

Horse Boat Ferry.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION, (FROM<br />

HOWE, HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF VIRGINIA, 1845).<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

28


✧<br />

Of the many fine antebellum homes that<br />

once graced <strong>Charleston</strong>’s riverfront,<br />

four survive.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Cedar Grove at<br />

1506 Kanawha Boulevard, built in 1834<br />

by Augustus Ruffner.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

Top: Holly Grove at 1710 Kanawha<br />

Boulevard, built in 1815 by Daniel Ruffner<br />

and extensively remodeled in 1902.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

Middle: <strong>The</strong> Henry H. Wood House at<br />

6560 Roosevelt Avenue Southeast, built in<br />

1831 by Henry Hewitt Wood.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

Bottom: <strong>The</strong> McFarland-Hubbard House<br />

at 1310 Kanawha Boulevard, built in 1836<br />

by Norris Whitteker for Isaac Noyes.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

All are listed on the National Register of<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> Places.<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

2 9


✧<br />

This 1850 map contains the earliest detailed<br />

information about <strong>Charleston</strong>’s buildings<br />

and landmarks. It was part of a extensive<br />

survey to determine the future route of the<br />

C & O Railway.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE CHESAPEAKE AND<br />

OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

30<br />

Although the newspaper called for a<br />

committee to address important issues, the<br />

immediate outcome is unknown. However, a<br />

municipal election on March 1, 1858, brought<br />

seven new council members into office, to<br />

which the Kanawha Star remonstrated that<br />

“there is much to be done, and now is a<br />

good time to begin.” By 1860, <strong>Charleston</strong> was<br />

ambiguously described as possessing the characteristics<br />

of both an “old southern town and<br />

a new western town.” Indeed, significant political<br />

changes loomed on the horizon, beginning<br />

with a Virginia law that gave <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

officials broader powers and extended town<br />

borders. This new governmental structure<br />

meant that <strong>Charleston</strong> would no longer be<br />

subject to decisions made by the county court.<br />

<strong>The</strong> act of the Virginia General Assembly,<br />

which took effect on March 21, 1861, created<br />

the office of mayor as the town’s chief executive,<br />

established a justice of the peace and chief<br />

of police. Legislation specified that the mayor,<br />

a recorder, and five members of the town<br />

council would serve as elected officials; it also<br />

created the offices of town sergeant, treasurer,<br />

commissioner of revenue, and overseer of the<br />

poor. Other important provisions gave town<br />

council the power to provide places of burial<br />

for the dead, issue licenses to owners of<br />

wagons, drays, carts, hacks and other wheeled<br />

carriages for public hire, and censorship power<br />

over performances, shows, or exhibitions<br />

“injurious to the morals or good order of the<br />

town.” In addition, the law provided for a major<br />

expansion of the corporate limit eastward to<br />

a point “opposite the line between Wilson’s<br />

graveyard and James B. Noyes,” present-day<br />

Bradford Street. On the eve of the Civil War<br />

officials had laid a solid foundation on which<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> would be transformed into a small,<br />

but dynamic, town with responsible government.<br />

But, any positive action would be<br />

delayed, as a rapidly unfolding national political<br />

crisis soon overshadowed local events.


C H A P T E R 3<br />

CIVIL WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH:<br />

1860-1870<br />

Spurred on by westward expansion and the prospect of perpetuating the “peculiar institution”<br />

of slavery in the territories, sectionalism threatened to split the nation asunder. As the political<br />

rhetoric heated up, residents of Kanawha County and <strong>Charleston</strong> expressed divided loyalties.<br />

John Rundle, publisher of the pro-Southern Kanawha Valley Star, printed editorials in support of<br />

secession after John Brown’s failed raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in October 1859.<br />

Although not a slaveholder himself, Rundle continued to call for Southern separation until it<br />

actually occurred. Meanwhile, other area residents reacted swiftly and vocally in support of<br />

“state’s rights.”<br />

On December 19, 1859, a rally took place in <strong>Charleston</strong> to address “encroachments upon<br />

the violations of the Constitutional Rights of Slaveholding States” by the North. As the Kanawha<br />

Valley Star reported, “the oldest, most eminent, and conservative men of the County” were in<br />

attendance. Some delivered speeches in support of Southern rights, and the group elected<br />

moderate slave-owning unionist George W. Summers as chair of the proceedings. A nine-member<br />

committee drafted resolutions for the group to express “the willingness of Kanawha to perform<br />

her part in effecting any measures that Virginia and her sister Southern States may deem proper<br />

and expedient to adopt for the purpose of protecting and defending the Rights, Persons, Property<br />

and Honor of Slave-holding States.” Committee members included Benjamin H. Smith, Spicer<br />

Patrick, James Madison Laidley, James H. Fry, Nicholas Fitzhugh, John D. Lewis, John S. Swann,<br />

Thomas L. Broun and Jacob Goshorn—seven of them owned slaves (only Broun and Goshorn did<br />

not). <strong>The</strong> committee pledged that Kanawha County would “sanction and approve all retaliatory<br />

measures against the non-slaveholding States which the wisdom of the General Assembly may<br />

see fit to enact.” Although the defense of state’s rights has been used to explain the secession<br />

movement, this resolution clearly indicates that the argument hinged on the dubious protection<br />

of one’s right to own another human being.<br />

✧<br />

View of <strong>Charleston</strong> from an 1854 Edward<br />

Beyer painting. At center is the city levee<br />

(Haddad Riverfront Park). At extreme left<br />

is the mouth of Elk River, and farm fields<br />

cover outlying areas.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

3 1


✧<br />

Kanawha County had 2,184 slaves in 1860<br />

(13.7 percent of total population), second<br />

only in number and percentage to Jefferson<br />

for the counties that became<br />

West Virginia in 1863.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,<br />

GEOGRAPHY AND MAP DIVISION,<br />

HTTP://WWW.LOC.GOV/ITEM/OCM25033787<br />

Much has been made of the strong<br />

southern sentiment that existed on the eve of<br />

the Civil War, but how strong was it locally?<br />

Virginia had the nation’s highest population<br />

of enslaved African Americans in 1860,<br />

nearly 500,000. By comparison, <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

population numbered 1,630—1,208 whites,<br />

34 free blacks, and 388 slaves (Kanawha<br />

County counted 2,184 slaves). Of 230 white<br />

households in <strong>Charleston</strong>, 72 of them held<br />

slaves. Although slave holders represented<br />

about one-third of all white households,<br />

they controlled 52 percent of real property<br />

and 68 percent of personal property in 1860.<br />

<strong>The</strong> nascent secession movement took a<br />

dramatic turn with the 1860 presidential<br />

“election for disunion.” By a narrow margin,<br />

Virginia cast its lot with John Bell of the<br />

Constitutional Union Party. Not surprisingly,<br />

voters in Kanawha County, traditionally a<br />

Whig stronghold, supported Bell with 68<br />

percent of the vote. A former Whig, Bell ran<br />

on a platform that advocated compromise<br />

to save the Union. However, in an election<br />

where sectional interests prevailed, Abraham<br />

Lincoln gained the required electoral votes to<br />

become president without winning a single<br />

Southern state. His victory set the dominoes<br />

tumbling, and seven Southern states seceded<br />

by February 1861. Virginia would remain in<br />

the Union, at least temporarily.<br />

Following the 1860 election, <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

found itself at the center of the growing<br />

sectional crisis as residents divided along<br />

unionist and secessionist lines. Both sides<br />

held rallies for citizens to express their<br />

sentiments. One meeting in January 1861<br />

resulted in a resolution favoring perpetuation<br />

of the Union, while another in February<br />

discussed the option of secession.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

32


County voters traditionally supported the<br />

Whig Party and its successors, which promoted<br />

a platform of encouraging internal improvements<br />

and high protective tariffs. Although most<br />

residents responded to the growing political<br />

crisis with restraint and moderation, tensions<br />

ran predictably high when George W. Summers<br />

and Spicer Patrick, political moderates who<br />

owned large slave plantations west of Elk<br />

River, traveled to Richmond to represent<br />

Kanawha County at the Virginia Constitutional<br />

Convention (Secession Convention) in February<br />

1861. Patrick spoke infrequently at the<br />

proceedings, while the unabashedly vocal<br />

Summers openly clashed with proponents of<br />

secession with his vigorous and elegant defense<br />

of the Union. Delegates refused to support<br />

secession for several weeks, but the situation<br />

drastically changed after the fall of Fort Sumter<br />

and President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 federal<br />

volunteers to quell the rebellion. Blaming<br />

Lincoln for starting the war, extremist delegates<br />

took control of the Richmond convention<br />

and on April 17 the body voted in favor of<br />

a statewide secession ordinance. However,<br />

Western Virginia delegates voted against<br />

secession by a nearly two to one margin, and<br />

Summers and Patrick were among those who<br />

voted against it. Nevertheless, a statewide<br />

referendum on May 23 confirmed the outcome—Virginia<br />

would join the Confederacy.<br />

In the May secession referendum, most<br />

Kanawhans supported preserving the Union.<br />

Despite the disproportionately large number<br />

of slaves and their importance to the local<br />

economy, 1,695 voters in the county opposed<br />

secession and 531 supported it. Casting their<br />

ballots at the courthouse, <strong>Charleston</strong> residents<br />

echoed the county trend toward moderation by<br />

solidly rejecting secession on a 430 to 132 vote.<br />

✧<br />

Top, left: Glenwood Estate on Glenwood<br />

Orchard Street was built in 1852 by James<br />

Madison Laidley, and obtained by George<br />

and Amacetta Summers in 1857. It is on<br />

the National Register of <strong>Historic</strong> Places.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE HISTORIC<br />

GLENWOOD FOUNDATION.<br />

Top, right: George W. Summers and<br />

Spicer Patrick (bottom) were unionists<br />

who lived on large slave plantations in<br />

the West Side hills; each lost a son in<br />

Confederate service during the Civil War.<br />

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE HISTORIC<br />

GLENWOOD FOUNDATION.<br />

Left: Kanawha County overwhelmingly<br />

rejected secession in the May 24, 1861, vote<br />

for ratification of the Virginia Ordinance<br />

of Secession.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

3 3


✧<br />

Top: Elm Grove or Craik-Patton House was<br />

built in 1834 by James Craik and obtained<br />

by George and Susan Patton in 1858.<br />

It has been moved twice, and now stands<br />

in Daniel Boone Park.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Above: George Smith Patton was born<br />

in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1833.<br />

After graduating from VMI, he studied law<br />

and moved to <strong>Charleston</strong> in 1856.<br />

Patton was killed in 1864.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE VIRGINIA MILITARY<br />

INSTITUTE ARCHIVES.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

34<br />

As tensions escalated throughout the<br />

spring of 1861, both sides began to<br />

recruit troops for the impending fight.<br />

One local Confederate militia unit, the<br />

Kanawha Riflemen, had originally been<br />

organized by Captain George S. Patton<br />

as the Kanawha Minutemen in 1856.<br />

Patton, the grandfather of General<br />

George S. Patton of World War II fame,<br />

was a Richmond native and an 1852<br />

graduate of Virginia Military Institute.<br />

He moved to <strong>Charleston</strong> with his<br />

wife, Susan, in 1856, and entered into<br />

law practice with Thomas Broun. <strong>The</strong><br />

Pattons purchased a lovely 1834<br />

Federal-style residence near downtown<br />

known as Elm Grove. George became a<br />

popular citizen nicknamed “Frenchy”<br />

for the small moustache which he sported.<br />

Following Virginia’s secession, Captain Patton<br />

led the Kanawha Riflemen into active service<br />

as Company H of the 22nd Virginia Infantry<br />

Regiment, Confederates States of America.<br />

At the onset of hostilities, neither side<br />

would permit the other to raise a flag over<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, but Southern sympathizers<br />

organized quicker and more effectively than<br />

their opposition. <strong>The</strong>y sometimes harassed<br />

and arrested Unionists, forcing them to swear<br />

allegiance to Virginia. Meanwhile, Union<br />

supporters appealed to federal authorities for<br />

relief. Neutrality would be difficult to maintain,<br />

given <strong>Charleston</strong>’s location within a border<br />

state only fifty miles from northern soil.<br />

A neutralist faction did exist, however, led by<br />

Judge George W. Summers who had<br />

retired to his 366-acre Glenwood<br />

Estate in the West Side hills at the<br />

outbreak of war.<br />

As the federal government prepared<br />

to send volunteers from Ohio<br />

to protect Kanawha citizenry from<br />

the Rebels, loyal Virginians made<br />

plans to repel the Yankee aggressors<br />

and save the region for the<br />

Confederacy. Virginia Governor<br />

John Letcher called for loyal volunteers<br />

to protect the home state<br />

against the “insolent invaders” from<br />

the North. On May 3, 1861, Robert<br />

E. Lee placed Colonel Christopher<br />

Q. Tompkins in charge of military operations<br />

in the Kanawha Valley. Tompkins, a West<br />

Point graduate and instructor at the Virginia<br />

Military Institute, lived on an estate in the<br />

upper end of the valley above Gauley Bridge.<br />

Aiding him in the effort to muster local<br />

forces was Lt. John McCausland, a resident of<br />

Mason County. By late May, a sizable force<br />

consisting of seven infantry companies, three<br />

cavalry companies, and an artillery unit had<br />

assembled near St. Albans. Among the troops<br />

were the Kanawha Riflemen under the command<br />

of Captain George S. Patton, and the<br />

Kanawha Sharpshooters organized under<br />

Captain John S. Swann.<br />

George Summers had previously warned<br />

federal authorities that an influx of U.S.<br />

troops would be viewed as an invasion of a<br />

sovereign state and that residents of the<br />

Kanawha Valley would unite in repelling it.<br />

However, Colonel Tompkins voiced doubts<br />

about the commitment of area residents, stating<br />

that “except for a few loyal companies<br />

now mustered into service of the State, there<br />

are a few people who sympathize with the<br />

secession policy.” In a message to Virginia<br />

Governor Letcher, he expressed concern over<br />

“the disaffection of this population and the<br />

difficulty of obtaining reliable troops for the<br />

emergency.” His fears proved well founded, as<br />

Rebel leaders struggled to recruit a sizable<br />

force to meet the much-anticipated Yankee<br />

assault. As Tompkins attempted to rally local<br />

troops, former Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise<br />

gained a commission as brigadier general


in the provisional Confederate Army and<br />

received orders to go to Western Virginia and<br />

recruit a brigade for defense of the home<br />

state. An irascible, tactless, and untested<br />

military leader, Wise arrived in <strong>Charleston</strong> on<br />

June 26, 1861, escorted by the Richmond<br />

Light Infantry Blues, a well-known and highly<br />

regarded Virginia unit. He also recruited a<br />

brigade of his own troops, dubbed Wise’s<br />

Legion, between Richmond and the Kanawha<br />

Valley. Wise initially established barracks at<br />

the courthouse in <strong>Charleston</strong>, but moved a<br />

few days later to Camp Lee, also called Camp<br />

Two-Mile, in the fields of Adam Littlepage’s<br />

plantation on the west side of Elk River along<br />

Kanawha Two Mile Creek.<br />

General Wise came to the area with broad<br />

authority from Governor Letcher to recruit<br />

soldiers, confiscate military stores, seize<br />

weapons, and imprison disloyal citizens—<br />

powers that alienated him to many <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

residents who either did not openly support<br />

secession or desired to remain neutral. In<br />

a dispatch to General Lee, Wise wrote with<br />

disdain about the local situation:<br />

We are treading on snakes while aiming<br />

at the enemy. <strong>The</strong> grass of the soil we are<br />

defending is full of copperhead traitors.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y invite the enemy, feed him, and he arms<br />

and drills them.... A spy is on every hill top,<br />

at every cabin, and from <strong>Charleston</strong> to Point<br />

Pleasant they swarm.<br />

By early July 1861, Wise’s force numbered<br />

2,705 troops, many of whom were raw,<br />

untested and ill-equipped recruits who<br />

shouldered every type of firearm from flintlocks<br />

to squirrel guns. Nevertheless, patriotic<br />

Virginians prepared to defend <strong>Charleston</strong> and<br />

the Kanawha Valley.<br />

✧<br />

Above: This c. 1850 single-span stone arch<br />

bridge carried the Point Pleasant Road over<br />

Kanawha Two Mile Creek at the Littlepage<br />

Farm. It still stands near the entrance to<br />

Orchard Manor housing development,<br />

but was bypassed long ago.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE HISTORIC<br />

GLENWOOD FOUNDATION.<br />

Left: <strong>The</strong> Littlepage Mansion,<br />

1809 Washington Street West, was built<br />

in 1845 and purchased by Adam Littlepage<br />

three years later. Rebecca Littlepage<br />

famously denied General Henry Wise’s use<br />

of the house in 1861, and he threatened to<br />

blow it down. Littlepage Mansion is on the<br />

National Register of <strong>Historic</strong> Places.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

3 5


✧<br />

Former Virginia governors whose longstanding<br />

political rivalry contributed to a<br />

southern defeat in the Kanawha Valley:<br />

Left: Brigadier General John B. Floyd, CSA<br />

(1806-1863).<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,<br />

PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION,<br />

HTTP://WWW.LOC.GOV/PICTURES/RESOURCE/CWPBH.01731/<br />

Right: Brigadier General Henry A. Wise,<br />

CSA (1806-1876).<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA COMMONS,<br />

HTTP://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/FILE:<br />

HENRY_A_WISE_CDV.JPG<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

36<br />

Meanwhile, the ever-cautious Union commander,<br />

Major General George B. McClellan,<br />

desired more information on enemy strength<br />

and movements before he would commit to<br />

an invasion. After recruiting Allan Pinkerton,<br />

head of the famed Pinkerton Detective<br />

Agency, to gather intelligence, a federal invasion<br />

force made its way to the Kanawha<br />

Valley in early July 1861, Three Ohio regiments<br />

and two from Kentucky launched the<br />

Union advance up the Kanawha River. Led<br />

by Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox, the force<br />

occupied Point Pleasant on July 10 and<br />

proceeded up the Kanawha aboard four<br />

steamers. Preliminary skirmishes took place<br />

at Barboursville and at the mouth of<br />

Pocatalico River. <strong>The</strong>n, on July 17, 1861,<br />

green troops on both sides experienced their<br />

baptism of fire when General Cox dispatched<br />

about 1,300 federals under the command of<br />

Colonel John W. Lowe of the 12th Ohio<br />

Infantry to engage approximately 900<br />

Confederates at Scary Creek, about fifteen<br />

miles below <strong>Charleston</strong>. A five-hour battle<br />

ensued, including several unsuccessful federal<br />

charges across the Scary Creek Bridge.<br />

George Patton led the local Virginia forces.<br />

During one Union advance the Confederates<br />

panicked and gave ground, but Patton rallied<br />

his Virginians before he fell<br />

wounded. Captain Albert Gallatin<br />

Jenkins assumed command and<br />

rallied his troops to claim one<br />

of the first Confederate victories<br />

of the war. Henry Wise<br />

declared the action a “glorious<br />

repulse of the enemy, if not a<br />

decided victory,” while George<br />

McClellan only admitted that<br />

Cox’s army had “fought something<br />

between a victory and<br />

a defeat.”<br />

Despite their victory at Scary<br />

Creek, Confederates were in<br />

danger of being cut off by<br />

superior Union forces and Wise<br />

ordered a “retrograde movement”<br />

out of the Kanawha<br />

Valley. His forces pulled out of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> on July 24, and<br />

reached Gauley Bridge two days<br />

later. On July 31, the retreating Virginians<br />

halted a few miles west of Lewisburg.<br />

Meanwhile, Cox’s army entered <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

on July 25, at which point the town’s first<br />

mayor, Jacob Goshorn, surrendered the town<br />

and quickly departed for Confederate territory.<br />

As reported in the Wheeling Intelligencer,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> residents heartily welcomed<br />

Union troops “with colors flying, and all<br />

stepping to martial music. Great cheering and<br />

excitement was manifested by the citizens<br />

while the column was passing.” Residents<br />

loyal to the Confederate cause feared the<br />

worst from their northern occupiers. In<br />

reality, Cox demanded a high level of discipline<br />

from his troops, and they apparently<br />

met his expectations. Still, loyal Virginians<br />

bristled at the thought of their lovely little<br />

town being occupied by a Yankee force.<br />

<strong>The</strong> immediate fate of <strong>Charleston</strong> and the<br />

Kanawha Valley was decided over the next<br />

few weeks, as Confederate General John B.<br />

Floyd proceeded west from Lewisburg with<br />

plans to occupy the heights above Gauley<br />

River and cut communications between Cox’s<br />

force in the Kanawha Valley and a second<br />

army under General William S. Rosecrans to<br />

the north. While Federal forces moved<br />

through the mountains, a personal drama


S O L D I E R S P U T T O D E A T H<br />

Many cruel and tragic incidents played out over the course of the Civil War. At least two occurred in <strong>Charleston</strong> during the<br />

early fighting. One took place in September 1861, when men of the <strong>First</strong> Kentucky Infantry Regiment went to a <strong>Charleston</strong> store<br />

and demanded beer from a storekeeper. When he refused to sell, some of the soldiers assaulted him. <strong>The</strong> man’s son, in an attempt<br />

to defend his father, made a grievous error by shooting a soldier in the leg. In a case of swift military justice, the son was tried<br />

and hanged. An officer noted that his men turned away in disgust, but the deed was done. A second incident happened on<br />

December 29, 1861, when Private Richard Gatewood of Company C, <strong>First</strong> Kentucky Regiment, U.S.A., was executed by a firing<br />

squad on the West Side. General Jacob Cox ordered his execution following a court martial in which Gatewood was found guilty<br />

of “desertion, mutiny, and a murderous assault upon another soldier.” A native of Louisville, Gatewood allegedly had wealth and<br />

respectable connections there. In his Military Reminiscences of the Civil War, General Jacob Cox described his somber duty:<br />

It is the military custom, in executions by shooting, to select the firing party from the regiment to which the condemned man belongs. To have<br />

changed the rule would have looked like timidity, and I determined that it must not be done, but resolved upon an order of procedure which<br />

would provide, as far as possible, against the chances of interference. On such occasions the troops are usually paraded upon three sides of a<br />

hollow square, without arms, the place of execution being in the middle of the open side, where the prisoner kneels upon his coffin. <strong>The</strong> place<br />

chosen was in the meadows on the lower side of the Elk River, opposite <strong>Charleston</strong>, a short distance from the regimental camp…. When the<br />

parade was formed, I took my place with my staff at the right of the line, and, as upon a review, rode slowly down the whole line, on the inside<br />

of the square. In going along the front of the <strong>First</strong> Kentucky, I took especial pains to meet the eyes of the men as they were turned to me in passing,<br />

desirous of impressing them with my own feeling that it was a solemn but inevitable duty. Immediately after we returned to our places, the music<br />

of the dead-march was heard, and an ambulance was seen approaching from the camp, escorted by the provost-marshal and the execution party<br />

with the music. <strong>The</strong> solemn strains, the slow funereal step of the soldiers, the closed ambulance, the statue-like stillness of the paraded troops<br />

made an impression deeper and more awful than a battle scene, because the excitement was hushed and repressed. <strong>The</strong> ambulance stopped,<br />

the man was helped out at the back, and led by the provost-marshal to his place upon the coffin, where he was blindfolded. <strong>The</strong> firing party<br />

silently took its place. <strong>The</strong> muskets were cocked and aimed, while the noise of the retiring ambulance covered the sound. <strong>The</strong> provost-marshal,<br />

with a merciful deception, told the prisoner he must wait a moment and he would return to him before the final order, but stepping quickly<br />

out of the range of the muskets, he gave the signal with his handkerchief, and the man fell dead at the volley, which sounded like a single<br />

discharge.... I confess it was a relief to have the painful task ended, and especially to have it ended in the most perfect order and discipline.<br />

General Jacob Dolson Cox<br />

Military Reminiscences of the Civil War<br />

was played out between Confederate General<br />

Wise, who resented being subordinate to<br />

Floyd, and General Floyd, who blamed Wise<br />

for losing the Kanawha Valley. <strong>The</strong> ongoing<br />

personal feud between these two ex-governors<br />

hindered Confederate efforts in the area.<br />

However, the Confederates did attempt to<br />

regain the Kanawha Valley. <strong>First</strong>, Floyd’s<br />

army crossed the Gauley River and defeated a<br />

small Union force at Kessler’s Cross Lanes in<br />

Nicholas County in late August; then,<br />

on September 10, Federals under General<br />

Rosecrans attacked Floyd’s defenses at<br />

Carnifex Ferry. Despite suffering more<br />

casualties than their foe, Union troops forced<br />

a Confederate retreat and <strong>Charleston</strong> and the<br />

Kanawha Valley remained firmly in Northern<br />

hands by the end of 1861.<br />

✧<br />

Private Richard Gatewood of the <strong>First</strong> Kentucky Regiment, U.S.A., was put to death by firing squad in a<br />

meadow on the West Side of Elk River shortly before Christmas in 1861.<br />

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF HARPER’S WEEKLY, DECEMBER 28, 1861.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

3 7


In addition to feeling the ugly reality of<br />

war, <strong>Charleston</strong> was hit with record flooding<br />

on September 29, 1861, when the Kanawha<br />

River crested at a depth of 46.9 feet, or 16.9<br />

feet above flood stage. General Cox reported<br />

that water stood “four or five feet deep in<br />

the first story of dwelling houses built in<br />

what was considered a neighborhood safe<br />

from floods.” High water inundated salt<br />

furnaces up and down Kanawha River,<br />

putting many operations permanently out of<br />

business and severely damaging others.<br />

Flooding negatively impacted the already<br />

weakened industry, which went into steady<br />

decline after the war.<br />

Meanwhile, an uneasy peace settled over<br />

the Kanawha Valley by early 1862. Residents<br />

enjoyed relative quiet through the first half of<br />

the year, and the Union occupiers kept strict<br />

discipline. By late summer, the Confederacy<br />

had renewed optimism that they might recover<br />

the Kanawha Valley. <strong>The</strong>ir high expectations<br />

resulted from Thomas “Stonewall”<br />

Jackson’s successful Shenandoah Valley campaign<br />

and Union General Cox’s failed spring<br />

offensives against the Virginia and Tennessee<br />

Railroad. Activity picked up in late summer<br />

of 1862, when General Robert E. Lee threatened<br />

to invade Maryland in the now-famous<br />

Antietam Campaign. Cox was ordered to take<br />

half his troops out of the Kanawha Valley to<br />

defend the nation’s capital against Lee’s<br />

advances, which left an undersized Federal<br />

force of around 5,000 troops commanded by<br />

Colonel Joseph A. J. Lightburn. Confederate<br />

leaders seized the opportunity to retake<br />

the area and possibly recover the precious<br />

salt source needed for meat preservation.<br />

Brigadier General William W. Loring seized<br />

the momentum when he dispatched<br />

Brigadier General Albert G. Jenkins on a<br />

daring raid in August 1862 to the Tygart<br />

Valley, across north central West Virginia<br />

to the Ohio River, then across the Kanawha<br />

into southern West Virginia. <strong>The</strong> Jenkins<br />

raid proved that Union defenses in the<br />

Kanawha Valley were inadequate. When<br />

Jenkins reached Ravenswood, Lightburn<br />

moved his headquarters from Gauley Bridge<br />

to <strong>Charleston</strong> to avoid being cut off from<br />

a possible line of retreat to the Ohio.<br />

Meanwhile, on September 6, 1862, Loring led<br />

10,000 Confederates north from Pearisburg,<br />

Virginia, in hopes of confronting the weakened<br />

Federals and conquering the Kanawha<br />

Valley. <strong>The</strong> advancing army encountered the<br />

Union force near Fayetteville on September<br />

10 and drove them back toward <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

Action continued on September 11, as withdrawing<br />

Federals met the enemy along the<br />

James River and Kanawha Turnpike at Camp<br />

Piatt (present-day Belle). <strong>The</strong>se moves set the<br />

stage for a fight on the streets of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

when Loring’s advance units arrived on the<br />

south side of Kanawha River just east of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, near the present University of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> campus.<br />

Early in the morning on Saturday,<br />

September 13, 1862, townspeople in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> were aroused by the sound of<br />

Confederate artillery as it opened up on<br />

Union forces. Later, the guns were moved to<br />

the top of Fort Hill where they began<br />

a heavier bombardment. Federal forces<br />

countered with a weak bombardment from a<br />

six-pound gun stationed near a barn on the<br />

Ruffner estate east of town along the north<br />

side of Kanawha River. Lightburn deployed a<br />

force to Cox’s Hill (Spring Hill), and firing<br />

commenced from there as well. In the<br />

morning, a spirited ground engagement took<br />

place about a mile east of <strong>Charleston</strong> near<br />

the present State Capitol Complex. About<br />

11:30 a.m. Union troops withdrew to the<br />

center of town. Lightburn had notified<br />

civilians to evacuate the town, and personally<br />

warned the Ruffner family to leave their<br />

homes on the East End. Confederate forces<br />

reached downtown around 3:00 p.m. and<br />

captured the Union garrison flag.<br />

In anticipation of his withdrawal,<br />

Lightburn ordered a number of downtown<br />

buildings torched rather than have them<br />

fall into Rebel hands. Specifically, his men<br />

burned Asbury Chapel, which had served<br />

as a quartermaster’s store, the Kanawha<br />

House, Bank of Virginia, Mercer Academy,<br />

two stores, several warehouses and cavalry<br />

barns. Meanwhile, Federals retreated across<br />

the Elk River suspension bridge and cut the<br />

cables to slow the pursuing Confederates.<br />

Dueling artillery batteries kept up a fierce<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

38


ombardment until 5:00 p.m., and<br />

infantry skirmishes continued until<br />

dark. <strong>The</strong> torched buildings lit<br />

up the night sky as darkness ended<br />

the Battle of <strong>Charleston</strong> and Southern<br />

forces occupied the town.<br />

In the ten-day Kanawha Valley<br />

Campaign that ended when “Lightburn’s<br />

Retreat” reached Point Pleasant,<br />

Confederate losses numbered 18 killed<br />

and 89 wounded while Union forces<br />

reported 25 killed, 95 wounded, and<br />

190 missing. Despite suffering a military<br />

defeat against superior odds, Lightburn<br />

is credited with maintaining a continual<br />

skirmish line for fifty miles while keeping<br />

his 700-wagon supply train worth<br />

an estimated one million dollars from<br />

falling into enemy hands. His actions<br />

are considered to be among the most<br />

significant Civil War events in the<br />

Kanawha Valley.<br />

As Lightburn’s force retreated<br />

toward Ravenswood, Union supporters<br />

joined them in fleeing the advancing<br />

Southern army. Victoria Hansford described<br />

the scene from her home in Coalsmouth<br />

(St. Albans):<br />

Such a sight, the river as far as the eye<br />

could see was covered with boats of all kinds.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re were flat boats, jerry boats, jolly boats,<br />

skiffs and canoes. In the boats were all kinds<br />

of people and all kinds of things…. A person<br />

could almost cross the river by jumping from<br />

one boat to another. <strong>The</strong>y were not soldiers<br />

but citizens who favored the North and<br />

thought it was wise to retreat from <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

with the Union army.<br />

An unknown number of liberated slaves<br />

also attached themselves to the Union army<br />

as it retreated to the Ohio. <strong>The</strong> auspicious<br />

event was noted by Nan Stewart, a former<br />

slave who was owned at the time by Holly<br />

Hunt, proprietor of a large agricultural<br />

plantation located between the estates of<br />

George Summers and Spicer Patrick. In 1937,<br />

the eighty-seven-year-old Ohio resident<br />

recounted the events in an interview from<br />

her Meigs County home:<br />

I was born <strong>Charleston</strong>, West Virginia, in<br />

February 1850. My mammy’s name…was<br />

Catherine Payne, and she was born down<br />

Jackson County, Virginia. My pappy was<br />

John James, a cooper and he was born at<br />

Rock Creek, Virginia. He came over here<br />

[to Ohio] with Lightburn’s Retreat. <strong>The</strong>y all<br />

crossed the river at Buffington’s Island<br />

[on the Ohio River above Ravenswood]….<br />

I remember very well the days the Yankees<br />

come. <strong>The</strong> slaves all come a runnin’ and<br />

yellin’: ‘Yankees is comin’, Yankee soldiers is<br />

comin’, hurrah.’ About two or three o’clock<br />

we heard bugles blowing and guns on<br />

Taylor Ridge. Kids was playin’ and all excited.<br />

Someone said, ‘Katherine somethin’ awful<br />

gonna happen;’ and someone else says:<br />

‘<strong>The</strong>y is the Yankees.’ <strong>The</strong> Yankee mens [sic]<br />

camp on our farm and buyed our butter,<br />

milk and eggs. Master Hunt, what you all call<br />

abolitionist and he was scared of southern<br />

soldiers and went out to the woods and laid<br />

behind a log for seven weeks and seven days,<br />

then he decided to go back home…. We took<br />

food and papers to Master Hunt while he<br />

was a’hidin’.<br />

✧<br />

Colonel Joseph A. J. Lightburn (1824-1901)<br />

was a Lewis County resident who<br />

commanded Union forces in the Kanawha<br />

Valley in 1862. He later became a<br />

Baptist preacher.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

3 9


✧<br />

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes commanded<br />

the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment<br />

in <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE RUTHERFORD B. HAYES<br />

PRESIDENTIAL CENTER, HTTP://WWW.RBHAYES.ORG/HAYES/<br />

After the battle, General Loring opted not<br />

to pursue the retreating Northern army, stating<br />

that his forces had come to the Kanawha<br />

Valley as liberators not invaders. While in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, Southern troops set up a military<br />

government, took over the printing press of<br />

the Kanawha Star and published a pro-<br />

Southern newspaper called <strong>The</strong> Guerilla [sic]<br />

“Devoted to Southern Rights and Institutions.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>y also removed salt supplies and destroyed<br />

the salt works at Kanawha Salines.<br />

While many distressed unionists left town<br />

in fear of reprisals, the occupation was a<br />

happy homecoming for local troops with the<br />

22nd and 36th Virginia Infantry regiments<br />

who had not seen their families for more than<br />

a year. St. Albans resident Victoria Hansford<br />

wrote about her brother’s joyous return:<br />

Oh, how thankful we were to see him; it<br />

was the only time he got home during the war.<br />

We gave up to the enjoyment of the present,<br />

entertaining our soldier boys in our homes.<br />

We also made them clothes so they might be<br />

warm in the winter as we all knew they could<br />

not stay in the valley. <strong>The</strong>re was not enough to<br />

feed them and there was danger the Yankees<br />

would return and cut them off from the rest of<br />

the army.<br />

Sadly, the case of Private Sampson Deatherage<br />

did not end so happily. He was born in 1839 and<br />

lived with his family in Patrick County, Virginia,<br />

prior to enlisting in Co. K of the 50th Virginia<br />

Infantry Regiment, CSA, on April 1, 1862.<br />

Dear Friends!<br />

It becomes my painful duty to announce the<br />

death of Sampson Deatherage, who died on the<br />

13th inst. from a wound received at the battle<br />

of <strong>Charleston</strong>. I was with him from the time he<br />

was brought from the field and did all I could<br />

for his comfort and recovery. He however did<br />

not survive long. <strong>The</strong> wound was a mortal one<br />

entering his side under the arm and penetrating<br />

down through the stomach. After death I had<br />

him well shrouded and put in a coffin and burial<br />

services at the grave which is near the town<br />

of <strong>Charleston</strong>. <strong>The</strong> comfort which I would<br />

administer in his sad dispensation of an all wise<br />

providence is that you are prepared for a summons<br />

which sooner or later must come to us<br />

all. Go to Jesus. And give yourselves to his service.<br />

I got from the pocket of Mr. Deatherage<br />

$38.00 which you can obtain when asked for<br />

it. It will be delivered in your hands.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

40<br />

Affectionately, G. H. Denny<br />

Chaplain 50th Regt.


In recent years, Deatherage’s descendants<br />

traveled to <strong>Charleston</strong> in search of his final<br />

resting place without success. He may be<br />

among unknown Civil War soldiers who lie in<br />

Section 19 of the “Old Circle” at Spring Hill<br />

Cemetery, but no one knows for sure. Private<br />

Deatherage’s grave is unknown, but his name<br />

is listed on a bronze plaque honoring the<br />

Civil War dead of Patrick County, which<br />

is mounted in the county administration<br />

building at Stuart, Virginia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 1862 Confederate occupation of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> lasted scarcely six weeks. In early<br />

October, General Lee ordered Loring to turn<br />

over his command to Brigadier General<br />

John Echols. Meanwhile, Union General Cox<br />

ordered two divisions to move up the<br />

Kanawha, while Brigadier General George<br />

Crook advanced from Weston to Gauley<br />

Bridge. Facing overwhelming opposition,<br />

Echols withdrew his infantry and wagon<br />

trains from <strong>Charleston</strong> and left Albert<br />

Gallatin Jenkins’ cavalry to defend the valley.<br />

After a brief skirmish at Tyler Mountain on<br />

October 29, Jenkins followed Echols’ force<br />

in retreat to Princeton, well beyond the<br />

reach of the advancing enemy. Southern<br />

forces never again seriously threatened the<br />

town. <strong>Charleston</strong> resident J. C. McFarland<br />

commented wryly on the impact of events<br />

of the previous six weeks: “by the coming<br />

in of the Confederates two things were<br />

accomplished, viz the getting of several<br />

thousand barrels of salt and the marriage of<br />

two young girls in town.”<br />

No major Confederate force remained in<br />

trans-Allegheny Virginia after 1862, and the<br />

absence of a concerted threat allowed the<br />

statehood movement to continue uninterrupted<br />

in Wheeling. Ultimately, on December<br />

31, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed<br />

the West Virginia statehood bill approving<br />

the creation of a loyal Union state without<br />

abolishing slavery. A formula for gradual<br />

emancipation was eventually added to the<br />

state constitution, and West Virginia became<br />

the thirty-fifth U.S. state on June 20, 1863.<br />

Its creation was the only permanent boundary<br />

change brought about by the Civil War.<br />

When the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry<br />

Regiment marched into <strong>Charleston</strong> on<br />

March 15, 1863, they witnessed a desolate<br />

scene. According to J. C. McFarland, not a<br />

fence was left standing, sidewalks were<br />

ruined, teams grazed in the streets, and<br />

an entire block of downtown buildings lay<br />

in shambles. By his account, “our village<br />

presents a most forlorn and desolate appearance.”<br />

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes commanded<br />

the 23rd Ohio, which established<br />

Camp White on the south side of Kanawha<br />

River near Ferry Branch. A lawyer by profession,<br />

after the war Hayes won election to the<br />

U.S. House of Representatives, followed by a<br />

stint as governor of Ohio, before running for<br />

president on the Republican ticket against<br />

Democrat Samuel Tilden in the contested<br />

election of 1876. Hayes became president in<br />

the controversial Compromise of 1877 that<br />

ended Reconstruction.<br />

Another future president, Second Lieutenant<br />

William McKinley, also served with the 23rd<br />

Ohio. McKinley’s career echoed Hayes’s in<br />

many ways; a lawyer in civilian life, the Niles,<br />

Ohio, native spent fourteen years in the<br />

U.S. House of Representatives before serving<br />

as two-term governor of Ohio. McKinley was<br />

elected president in 1896, and assassinated at<br />

the start of his second term in 1901.<br />

✧<br />

Second Lieutenant William McKinley<br />

served in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry<br />

Regiment which occupied <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

in 1863.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

4 1


✧<br />

Map of Fort Scammon.<br />

COURTESY OF PAUL D. MARSHALL.<br />

In May of 1863, Hayes ordered his 23rd<br />

Ohio volunteers in <strong>Charleston</strong> to build<br />

an earthen fortification on the crest of a<br />

1,000-foot hill on the south side of Kanawha<br />

River, near where Confederate artillery<br />

had shelled Federal troops in 1862. Named<br />

for Brigadier General Eliakim P. Scammon,<br />

who commanded the 7,000 Union troops<br />

operating in the Kanawha Valley, Fort<br />

Scammon commanded the heights above<br />

Ferry Branch directly across from the<br />

confluence of the Kanawha and Elk Rivers.<br />

Fort Scammon provided a solid defense,<br />

and Hayes boldly claimed he could hold<br />

it against a strong assault. In fact, the fort<br />

was never attacked, due in part to the steep<br />

slopes surrounding it on three sides. <strong>The</strong> only<br />

documented firing of the fort’s guns occurred<br />

to jointly celebrate the Fourth of July and<br />

the Union victory at Vicksburg in 1863.<br />

Except for the threat of occasional<br />

Confederate raids and guerrilla activity, the<br />

Kanawha Valley proved a relatively safe theater<br />

of operations for Union forces in 1863. As<br />

a result, Rutherford Hayes’ wife Lucy, her<br />

mother, and the Hayes’ four sons (Birchard,<br />

Webb, Rutherford and Joseph) boarded a<br />

steamboat at Cincinnati and traveled upriver to<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> in June of 1863. <strong>The</strong> group had just<br />

settled in for what was supposed to be an<br />

extended visit when eighteen-month-old “little<br />

Joseph” fell gravely ill from dysentery. Colonel<br />

Hayes recorded the sad events in his diary:<br />

Camp White (opposite <strong>Charleston</strong>), West<br />

Virginia, June 25, 1863—Last Monday, the<br />

15th, Lucy, Mother Webb, and “all the boys”<br />

came here from Cincinnati on the Market<br />

Boy. A few happy days, when little Joseph<br />

sickened and died yesterday at noon (12:40).<br />

Poor little darling! A sweet, bright boy,<br />

“looked like his father,” but with large,<br />

handsome blue eyes much like Webb’s….<br />

He died without suffering; lay on the table in<br />

our room in the Quarrier cottage, surrounded<br />

by white roses and buds all the afternoon,<br />

and was sent to Cincinnati…this morning.<br />

Within a week of young Joseph’s death,<br />

Lucy packed up her grieving family and<br />

returned to Cincinnati. Another entry in<br />

Hayes’ diary notes her painful departure:<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

42


July 1, 1863—Lucy and the family left on<br />

the Marwood today. <strong>The</strong> visit has been a<br />

happy one, saddened though it is by the<br />

death of our beautiful little Joseph. Lucy has<br />

been cheerful since—remarkably so—but on<br />

leaving today without him she burst into<br />

tears on seeing a little child on the boat.<br />

In later years, Lucy Hayes stated that the<br />

“bitterest hour of her life” was when she<br />

stood by the door of her cottage at Camp<br />

White and saw “the boat bear the lonely<br />

little body away.” Lucy and her boys visited<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> three more times during the Civil<br />

War. <strong>The</strong>ir final six-week stay began on<br />

March 11 and ended on April 29, 1864, the<br />

same day that Hayes’ command departed the<br />

Kanawha Valley in the army of General<br />

Crook. As usual, the family stayed in the<br />

Quarrier cottage on the South Side.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se early experiences in West Virginia<br />

profoundly influenced the Hayes boys, especially<br />

Webb, who was seven years old when<br />

he first visited his father and fondly recalled<br />

his time in <strong>Charleston</strong> as a glorious vacation.<br />

His pleasant memories helped account for his<br />

later years of service in the military, where he<br />

earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in<br />

the Philippines during the Spanish American<br />

War. Webb Hayes later co-founded National<br />

Carbon Company, a forerunner of Union<br />

Carbide Corporation, and served as its vice<br />

president for many years. He claimed that the<br />

Hayes family’s most vivid memories of the<br />

Civil War were the weeks they spent together<br />

along Kanawha River. While at Camp White,<br />

he became very close with Union commander<br />

George Crook, who was his godfather.<br />

Crook used the Kanawha Valley as a classroom<br />

to teach young Webb to hunt, fish, and<br />

survive in the wild. George Crook Hayes,<br />

the fifth child of Rutherford and Lucy Hayes,<br />

was named for the general.<br />

✧<br />

Left: Rutherford and Lucy Webb Hayes on<br />

their wedding day, December 30, 1852.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS<br />

DIVISION, HTTP://HDL.LOC.GOV/LOC.PNP/CPH.3A02665<br />

Below: It is reasonable to assume that<br />

the Hayes family stayed at the “Widow<br />

Quarrier” residence located opposite<br />

Goshorn Ferry while in <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE CHESAPEAKE AND OHIO<br />

HISTORICAL SOCIETY.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

4 3


✧<br />

Right: George Crook. Webb Cook Hayes<br />

and George Crook became lifelong friends<br />

in <strong>Charleston</strong>. Later, the pair made annual<br />

trips to the Rocky Mountains for a big<br />

game hunt.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS<br />

DIVISION, HTTP://HDL.LOC.GOV/LOC.PNP/CWPBH.04032<br />

Below: Webb Cook Hayes.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CORNELL<br />

UNIVERSITY LIBRARY.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

44<br />

When General Crook’s army left the<br />

Kanawha Valley in April 1864, they set out to<br />

destroy the salt works at Saltville, Virginia, and<br />

strike the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. On<br />

May 9, 1864, his troops defeated a Confederate<br />

force at Cloyd’s Mountain. Union General David<br />

Hunter used <strong>Charleston</strong> as an advance supply<br />

post for a raid that he launched into the<br />

Shenandoah Valley in early June 1864. His<br />

troops burned Lexington and engaged enemy<br />

forces from West Virginia at Lynchburg before<br />

pulling back on June 18. Hunter’s men ran out<br />

of food during the exhausting march back to<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, and averted disaster when muchneeded<br />

rations reached them on June 27.<br />

<strong>The</strong> haggard, but revived, Federal force<br />

pressed on until the grueling two-week expedition<br />

ended on July 1 after Hunter’s exhausted<br />

command reached Camp Crook “one mile<br />

below the mouth of Elk River on Judge<br />

[George] Summer’s farm” on the West Side.<br />

During the expedition, Union forces traveled<br />

over 650 miles on foot and by boat. After a<br />

brief rest at <strong>Charleston</strong>, Hunter arranged for<br />

boats to carry his weary men to Parkersburg<br />

where they boarded trains for transport back<br />

into the Shenandoah Valley. Although Hunter<br />

considered his raid a success, he has been<br />

strongly criticized for the great suffering<br />

endured by his men and the ruthless campaign<br />

of destruction he waged against civilian targets.<br />

After Hunter’s bedraggled army departed<br />

the area, military activity in the Kanawha Valley<br />

slowed down considerably. Although the war<br />

raged elsewhere, life in <strong>Charleston</strong> took on a<br />

more normal rhythm by early 1865. Union<br />

patrols dealt with bushwhackers and occasional<br />

guerrilla bands until news flashed by<br />

telegraph that Robert E. Lee’s army had<br />

surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox<br />

Courthouse on April 9, 1865. After Lee’s<br />

surrender, a parade took place on the streets of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> featuring an old hearse with<br />

“secession” painted in large letters on both<br />

sides, as well as a wagon featuring a sour<br />

apple tree from which hung an effigy of<br />

Jefferson Davis. Colonel John H. Ohley, commander<br />

of the 7th West Virginia Cavalry, led<br />

the procession to Cox’s Hill, where Battery A<br />

of the 1st West Virginia Artillery fired its guns<br />

to mark the fall of the Confederate capital.<br />

A northern victory in the Civil War broke<br />

the political and economic power of King<br />

Cotton, freed from bondage four million<br />

African Americans, abolished the cruel institution<br />

of slavery, and ultimately preserved<br />

the Union. It imbued citizens of the new state<br />

of West Virginia with renewed hope for the<br />

future, and a lofty expectation of long-sought<br />

economic progress. But, the conflict also<br />

resulted in over one million casualties in a<br />

nation of 31 million people. Total dead from<br />

all causes is estimated at 750,000—about twoand-a-half<br />

percent of the nation’s population.<br />

When peace came, <strong>Charleston</strong>’s citizens had<br />

endured four long years of war and weary<br />

veterans returned to heal their emotional and<br />

physical wounds. Whether they wore the<br />

blue or gray, West Virginians put aside their<br />

differences and worked to make a better life<br />

for themselves and their family in the new<br />

state. Some who lived through it talked or<br />

wrote about their experiences, while others<br />

took their memories to the grave.<br />

One persistent tale that has circulated for a<br />

century is the story of two female spies who<br />

were executed and buried up a hollow opposite<br />

downtown <strong>Charleston</strong>. In 1905, during<br />

construction of the carriage trail to Sunrise<br />

Mansion, ex-Governor William A. MacCorkle’s


home in South Hills, workers supposedly<br />

uncovered remains of two females, one<br />

blonde and one brunette. MacCorkle reinterred<br />

the bodies nearby and continued with<br />

construction. Meanwhile, he consulted longtime<br />

resident John Slack who had a detailed<br />

memory of area history. A Union veteran,<br />

Slack claimed that the women had been<br />

Union operatives accused of spying by the<br />

Confederate army, tried by a drumhead jury,<br />

and executed. Since their camp was nearby<br />

they were taken up the hollow and buried.<br />

Later, another of MacCorkle’s friends,<br />

Confederate veteran James Pauline, substantiated<br />

the execution story except he claimed<br />

the women were Union camp followers and<br />

Confederate spies. Finally, MacCorkle said<br />

that an unidentified Union veteran from<br />

Lincoln County had stated in a deathbed<br />

confession that he was on the firing squad<br />

which executed the women and it had<br />

haunted him his entire life. Today, a stone<br />

monument erected by MacCorkle stands<br />

near the bottom of Sunrise Carriage Trail as<br />

a memorial to these women whose identities<br />

remain a mystery.<br />

✧<br />

In 1905, workers discovered the remains of<br />

two women rumored to be executed Civil<br />

War spies. William A. MacCorkle erected a<br />

memorial to them on the Sunrise Carriage<br />

Trail. <strong>The</strong> true story of these unidentified<br />

women remains an unsolved mystery.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

4 5


✧<br />

Above: John Whittier Messer Appleton was<br />

a white Massachusetts abolitionist and<br />

the first man commissioned in the<br />

54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment,<br />

U.S. Colored Troops.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

STATE ARCHIVES OF FLORIDA, FLORIDA MEMORY,<br />

HTTP://FLORIDAMEMORY.COM/ITEMS/SHOW/1600<br />

Below: Recruiting poster for the famed<br />

54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry<br />

Regiment, c. 1863.<br />

POSTER COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION<br />

(FROM THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY).<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

46<br />

One well-known veteran who relocated to<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> in the post-bellum period was<br />

Major John W. M. Appleton, a Massachusetts<br />

native born in 1832. During the war,<br />

Appleton had served as recruiting officer<br />

for Major Henry Gould Shaw’s famed<br />

54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment,<br />

one of the first U.S. Colored Troops (USCT)<br />

mustered into the Union army and made<br />

famous in the 1989 film, Glory. <strong>The</strong> unit’s<br />

bravery proved that African American<br />

solders could and would fight with honor<br />

and distinction. Appleton was one of a few<br />

officers to survive the assault on Fort Wagner,<br />

South Carolina, where nearly half of the<br />

regiment were killed, wounded or captured.<br />

He came to <strong>Charleston</strong> in 1865 and lived on<br />

Virginia Street, where he engaged in numerous<br />

business ventures. Appleton rose to<br />

colonel in the West Virginia Militia and<br />

National Guard, and in 1897 was appointed<br />

state adjutant general. He served as Kanawha<br />

County school commissioner before moving<br />

to Monroe County in 1882, were he owned<br />

and operated Salt Sulphur Springs resort<br />

and served as postmaster. General Appleton<br />

died on his Monroe County farm in 1913<br />

after being gored by a bull and is buried in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s Spring Hill Cemetery.<br />

In March 1865, President Abraham<br />

Lincoln had pledged to win the postwar<br />

peace “With malice toward none, with charity<br />

for all.” Unfortunately, his assassination on<br />

April 14 derailed plans to “Reconstruct”<br />

the South. In West Virginia, Reconstruction<br />

policies required all voters to swear a loyalty<br />

oath proclaiming they had never taken up<br />

arms against the United States, Reorganized<br />

Government of Virginia, or West Virginia. An<br />

1866 law required potential voters to<br />

register, but denied registration to those who<br />

could not take the loyalty oaths. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

measures had the intended effect of<br />

disenfranchising ex-Confederates, most of<br />

whom were members of the Democratic<br />

Party, and keeping Republicans in power.<br />

Within a relatively short time, opposition<br />

to voting restrictions rose among both<br />

Democrats and Liberal Republicans. In his<br />

January 1870 address to the legislature,<br />

West Virginia Governor William E. Stevenson<br />

called for a more even-handed approach in<br />

order to advance the true interests of the<br />

state. At the Republican State Convention<br />

in 1870, former Confederate soldier and<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> resident Thomas B. Swann called<br />

for fairness toward ex-Rebels in hopes of<br />

drawing them into the party.


In West Virginia, growing support for lifting<br />

voting restrictions on ex-Confederates, as well<br />

as the question of voting rights for African<br />

Americans, were significant political issues of<br />

the day. In 1869, the Fifteenth Amendment<br />

granted the right to vote to “all citizens regardless<br />

of race, creed, or condition of previous<br />

servitude.” However, many state politicians<br />

from both parties strongly opposed giving<br />

blacks the vote without guaranteeing it to<br />

white men denied the right because of their<br />

Confederate service. So, delegate William H. H.<br />

Flick, a liberal Republican from Pendleton<br />

County, proposed an amendment to the West<br />

Virginia constitution granting the vote to all<br />

males above twenty-one years of age, regardless<br />

of race or other factors. <strong>The</strong> so-called Flick<br />

Amendment met with stiff opposition and<br />

became a central issue in the 1870 election<br />

campaign. <strong>Charleston</strong> hosted the Democratic<br />

convention in June of that year, and the editor<br />

of the <strong>Charleston</strong> Courier did not mince words<br />

on the issue: “it was the duty of Democrats to<br />

maintain the honor and duty of the Caucasian<br />

race, and, as this is a white man’s country so<br />

it ought to be a white man’s government.”<br />

Meanwhile, at the Republic convention in<br />

Clarksburg, temporary chairman Lewis<br />

✧<br />

John P. Hale and other investors in the<br />

State House Company put up private funds<br />

to build <strong>Charleston</strong>’s landmark<br />

1870 capitol.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

4 7


Ruffner, a former Democrat, openly invited<br />

black representation. In the end, U.S. District<br />

Court Judge John J. Jackson settled the issue<br />

before a vote could be taken when he ruled<br />

that the Fifteenth Amendment conferred voting<br />

rights on all black and white males—a<br />

move that allowed large numbers of ex-<br />

Confederates to cast ballots in the 1870 state<br />

election. As a result, Democratic gubernatorial<br />

candidate John J. Jacob narrowly bested<br />

Republican incumbent William E. Stevenson<br />

and Democrats gained majorities in both<br />

the Senate and House of Delegates. <strong>The</strong> 1870<br />

Democratic sweep also changed the political<br />

composition of Kanawha County, which had<br />

been primarily Republican up to that point.<br />

Democrat Spicer Patrick won a Senate seat,<br />

and Benjamin H. Smith and Dr. Albert E.<br />

Summers both replaced Republicans in the<br />

House of Delegates.<br />

Political fortunes shifted dramatically in<br />

West Virginia after legislative power began to<br />

favor the Democratic Party. One of the most<br />

obvious impacts came when the legislature<br />

moved to relocate the state capital from the<br />

Republican-dominated northern panhandle<br />

city of Wheeling to a more openly southern<br />

and Democrat-friendly <strong>Charleston</strong>, “where it<br />

will develop the natural resources of the State<br />

the most, and accommodate the largest number<br />

of inhabitants.” As a result, politicians and<br />

residents alike rallied to bring the capital to<br />

the Kanawha Valley. At a mass meeting on<br />

January 29, 1869, <strong>Charleston</strong>ians urged city<br />

council to offer the state $50,000 to construct<br />

public buildings, if their city should become<br />

the capital. City council approved a resolution<br />

tendering the offer, and lobbyists traveled to<br />

Wheeling to garner support for relocating<br />

the seat of government. <strong>The</strong> plan worked, as<br />

the House of Delegates approved moving the<br />

capital to <strong>Charleston</strong> on a vote of 29 to 23,<br />

while the Senate passed it on a 19 to 4 vote.<br />

Legislation to move the capital passed on<br />

February 26, 1869, with the transfer scheduled<br />

to take place April 1, 1870. <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

hurriedly made preparations to erect a suitable<br />

seat of government. Residents pledged $17,000<br />

for the project, and the privately-organized<br />

State House Company received a charter to<br />

issue $100,000 in capital stock. Officers of<br />

the company included: Benjamin H. Smith,<br />

president, Alexander T. Laidley, secretary, and<br />

John Slack, Sr., treasurer. Laidley and John D.<br />

Lewis made a large parcel of land available<br />

in the undeveloped north end of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

(in the block bounded today by Capitol,<br />

Washington, Dickinson and Lee Streets) four<br />

blocks from downtown, at a cost of $5,000.<br />

Dr. John P. Hale was awarded the construction<br />

contract and ended up bearing most<br />

of its $80,000 cost by himself. Workers laid<br />

the cornerstone for the towering Italianate<br />

structure with Romanesque details on<br />

November 3, 1869. Stone for the new statehouse<br />

came from a quarry on the bluff at the<br />

north end of Cox’s Lane, a path used to drive<br />

livestock across the Cox farm to the river.<br />

<strong>The</strong> lane was renamed Capitol Street in 1870.<br />

Transfer of state government got underway<br />

at midnight on March 28, 1870, when<br />

Governor Stevenson and other officials boarded<br />

the steamboat, Mountain Boy, in Wheeling<br />

for the voyage to <strong>Charleston</strong>. A second steamer,<br />

Kanawha Belle, met the boat at Dunbar with<br />

a welcoming committee and brass band.<br />

At about noon on March 30, Mountain Boy<br />

docked at the levee (present Haddad Riverfront<br />

Park) to a rousing salute by an artillery unit.<br />

A large crowd gathered in front of Laidley’s<br />

Drug Store on Kanawha Street, where Mayor<br />

John W. Wingfield greeted the governor, who<br />

delivered a short address. Construction of the<br />

new capitol would not be complete for several<br />

months, so local banks offered space for<br />

executive offices while St. John’s Episcopal<br />

Church housed the state library in the interim.<br />

Finally, on December 6, 1870, John P. Hale<br />

hosted an elaborate reception at the new capitol<br />

for legislators and prominent area citizens.<br />

While <strong>Charleston</strong> residents reveled in the<br />

fact that their small town had become the seat<br />

of government for the new state, citizens of<br />

Wheeling expressed their displeasure. George<br />

W. Atkinson, editor of the West Virginia Journal<br />

published in <strong>Charleston</strong> and a future Republican<br />

governor, responded to the criticism with sardonic<br />

humor: “We have no doubt that even the<br />

members from Ohio County will find as good<br />

beef, whiskey, and wine, with as much genuine<br />

hospitality and refinement in <strong>Charleston</strong>, as<br />

they have been accustomed to in Wheeling.”<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

48


C H A P T E R 4<br />

AN EMERGING CAPITAL CITY<br />

1870-1900<br />

Political winds shifted dramatically when the capital moved from the industrialized Upper Ohio<br />

Valley to the more rural and isolated Kanawha Valley in 1870. With a population 19,280, Wheeling<br />

boasted an impressive mix of commerce and industry, as well as a sophisticated transportation nexus<br />

that included the Ohio River, National Road, and Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. <strong>Charleston</strong>, on the<br />

other hand, had a navigable waterway but no railroad—prompting many around the state to<br />

negatively view the community of 3,200 as nothing more than a sleepy river town. <strong>The</strong> Kanawha<br />

Daily began publication as the first daily paper in Kanawha County in 1871, but it folded after only<br />

a few months because “the business of the town was not sufficient to support a daily paper.” Perhaps<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s detractors had a point at the time, but it would soon become a bona fide capital city.<br />

✧<br />

About 3,000 people lived in <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

when this map came out. <strong>The</strong> newly built<br />

statehouse fronted Cox’s Lane, renamed<br />

Capitol Street in 1870, about four blocks<br />

north of Kanawha Street.<br />

COURTESY OF DAVID RUMSEY HISTORICAL MAP<br />

COLLECTION, HTTP://WWW.DAVIDRUMSEY.COM/<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

4 9


✧<br />

<strong>The</strong> Hale House, a thoroughly modern<br />

four-story hotel, opened in 1872.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

50<br />

In local politics, <strong>Charleston</strong> voters elected<br />

moderate mayors John A. Truslow, George<br />

Ritter, and John W. Wingfield immediately<br />

after the Civil War. More prominent individuals<br />

with ties to the salt industry and mercantile<br />

enterprises dominated the mayor’s<br />

office from 1871 to 1885. <strong>The</strong>y included:<br />

Henry C. Dickinson (who died in office);<br />

John P. Hale; Charles P. Snyder, who married<br />

into the Goshorn family; John C. Ruby, who<br />

married into the Noyes family; and John D.<br />

Baines, who married a daughter of James M.<br />

Laidley. With few exceptions, Democrats<br />

dominated the Kanawha County delegation<br />

in the state legislature until 1883.<br />

In 1870, <strong>Charleston</strong> was indeed a small<br />

town with big city dreams. As the seat of<br />

state and county government, it attracted a<br />

host of lawyers, politicians, and individuals<br />

who swarmed the resource-rich Kanawha<br />

Valley with endless plans for immediate<br />

wealth, some of which involved other people’s<br />

money. Commenting on the boomtown<br />

atmosphere, newspaperman David Hunter<br />

Strother reported that “<strong>Charleston</strong> is full of<br />

land speculators, schemers, stock jobbers,<br />

and people so occupied with their own affairs<br />

that they are oblivious and dreary, incapable<br />

of conversation on other subjects.”<br />

At the time, Kanawha Street featured three<br />

well-known houses of lodging—the Saint<br />

Albert Hotel, Laidley House and Kanawha<br />

House, which had been rebuilt after the<br />

Civil War. In 1872 John P. Hale opened the<br />

$150,000 Hale House, a thoroughly modern<br />

four-story hotel which boasted “100 bedrooms<br />

fitted up with elegance, a splendid<br />

office, bar and billiard room, barber shop and<br />

bathroom.” His fine establishment stood on<br />

the northwest corner of Hale and Kanawha<br />

Street, and it quickly became <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

premier destination. Also in the same year,<br />

the city installed its first gas lights and<br />

awarded a long-term supply contract to the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Gas Company, which Hale and<br />

others had formed. <strong>The</strong> city’s first fire company,<br />

the Steam Fire Engine Company, had<br />

organized by that time, as well. Although<br />

Kanawha Street remained the hub of commercial<br />

activity, development began creeping<br />

up Capitol Street where the Cotton Opera<br />

House had opened in 1870.<br />

In 1871, <strong>Charleston</strong> took a major step in<br />

its evolutionary process after the state legislature<br />

amended the city charter to allow for<br />

extension of the corporate limits. <strong>The</strong> new<br />

boundary created a third ward and expanded<br />

the city to the east and north, beginning at<br />

the dividing line of the Bradford<br />

estate (Bradford Street), and running<br />

up Cox’s Hill to Coal Branch, from<br />

Coal Branch down to Elk River, along<br />

the Elk to the Kanawha, and up the<br />

Kanawha to the starting point. Ward I<br />

was bounded by Kanawha, Court,<br />

Donnally Streets, and Elk River;<br />

Ward II covered a larger area bounded<br />

by Kanawha, Capitol, and Slack<br />

Street, then followed Elk River to<br />

Donnally and Court Streets; to the<br />

east Ward III ran along Kanawha<br />

Street to the city limit, which was<br />

just east of Bradford to take in<br />

residential properties fronting on the<br />

street, then up Spring Hill to Coal<br />

Branch and down Coal Branch to<br />

Slack Street, then to Piedmont Road<br />

and on to Capitol Street. Within the<br />

new ward were the state capitol and<br />

central business district.


Arguably, the greatest single event in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s development up to that time<br />

was completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio<br />

Railway on January 29, 1873. Jubilant residents<br />

celebrated with a bonfire in front of<br />

Hale House and a huge fireworks display<br />

to mark the arrival of the first train at the<br />

depot on the south side of Kanawha River.<br />

Other towns along the route held similar<br />

celebrations to commemorate the auspicious<br />

event. Formed in 1869 from several Virginia<br />

railroads, and led by industrialist Collis P.<br />

Huntington, the C & O stretched from<br />

Richmond to Huntington, a planned city<br />

named for its founder. <strong>The</strong> railroad followed<br />

Virginia’s “central line” that George<br />

Washington had first promoted as<br />

an east-west transportation corridor<br />

following the alignment of the James<br />

and Kanawha Rivers. Completion of<br />

the railroad made the long-held<br />

dream of linking the Tidewater region<br />

with the “western waters” a reality.<br />

Despite unbridled local enthusiasm,<br />

the Wheeling Intelligencer sardonically<br />

claimed that prosperity would elude<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> because the railroad<br />

right-of-way was on the south bank<br />

of the Kanawha and no bridge<br />

spanned the river.<br />

It is no secret that natural resources<br />

have played a significant role in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s growth and development.<br />

However, few may realize that<br />

one resource that literally helped<br />

build the city is fire clay, which was<br />

found in abundance as “Kanawha<br />

Valley river clays” and formerly dug from clay<br />

mines on Elk Two Mile, Kanawha Two Mile,<br />

Ferry Branch and elsewhere. Abundant river<br />

clays, coupled with hometown ingenuity,<br />

enabled <strong>Charleston</strong> to lay down the first brick<br />

pavement in the nation in 1870, when local<br />

contractor Mordecai Levi placed a short<br />

experimental segment in the first block of<br />

Summers Street, in front of Gates Paint Store<br />

near the corner of Virginia Street. Three years<br />

later, the entire first block of Summers Street<br />

between Kanawha and Virginia Streets was<br />

paved by this method. Dr. John P. Hale, a<br />

business associate of Levi for many years,<br />

financed the project by public subscription.<br />

✧<br />

Above: <strong>Charleston</strong>’s original 1873 depot<br />

was replaced around 1890. In 1905 the<br />

present neo-Classical Revival depot opened<br />

for passenger service. It is on the National<br />

Register of <strong>Historic</strong> Places and is still<br />

served by Amtrak.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

Below: John P. Hale opened the Hale<br />

House in 1872. After it burned in 1885,<br />

the Ruffner Hotel rose on the site. It stood<br />

until 1970, when it was demolished for a<br />

parking lot.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

5 1


✧<br />

Clockwise, starting at the right:<br />

John P. Hale.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

This historic brick paver was recently<br />

salvaged from a road construction project<br />

on <strong>Charleston</strong>’s East End. It measures<br />

9” x 4” x 3” and weighs about<br />

seven pounds.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

During his lifetime, Mordecai Levi received<br />

at least three patents for improved methods<br />

of brick paving. This is his first one granted<br />

on September 25, 1883.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

52<br />

Mordecai Levi’s methods proved extremely<br />

popular, and brick began being laid throughout<br />

the city. In 1881 and 1882, <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

constructed around 5,000 square yards of<br />

brick pavement on his plan. It proved so<br />

successful that on September 25, 1883, Levi<br />

and partner Virgil A. Gates received a patent<br />

for “certain new and useful improvements in<br />

street pavements.” <strong>The</strong>ir technique involved<br />

“laying a close board floor upon the prepared<br />

ground, and then covering the board floor<br />

with a layer of hard burned brick.” It could be<br />

laid down at the cost of seventy-two cents per<br />

square yard under favorable circumstances,<br />

an economical sum which made it a desirable<br />

alternative to other methods.<br />

One of the first successful commercial<br />

paving brick operations was formed by<br />

William D. Isaac, a native of Wales who came<br />

to <strong>Charleston</strong> around 1870 and started<br />

Kanawha Brick Company in 1883. Within<br />

a few short years bricks paved the streets<br />

of the nation. Although slow to adopt the<br />

technology, by 1900 Philadelphia had about<br />

135 miles of brick paved streets,<br />

the most extensive network in the<br />

country. In 1905, three plants<br />

produced building and paving<br />

brick in <strong>Charleston</strong>—West Virginia<br />

Clay Products Company, Standard<br />

Brick Company, and Kanawha<br />

Brick Company.<br />

Virgil Gates and Mordecai Levi<br />

incorporated the American Brick<br />

Paving Company of <strong>Charleston</strong> in<br />

1884 with the purpose of “contracting<br />

for and laying down street<br />

pavements and roadways.” Levi<br />

expanded on his original concept in<br />

1890, when he received another<br />

patent to add layers of substrata<br />

beneath the surface layer of hardburned<br />

brick, stone, paving-blocks,<br />

wood, or other suitable material.<br />

Not content to rest on his laurels,<br />

Levi received one more patent in<br />

1891 for base blocks with “grooves<br />

on their upper faces, combined<br />

with a surface block having a central<br />

projection adapted to pass between<br />

the walls of the base blocks.”<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> continued paving with brick<br />

until around 1911, when concrete gained<br />

favor. Local manufacturers stopped producing<br />

paving brick after 1914, and today many of<br />

the old pavers are hidden under layers of<br />

asphalt. City streets that retain their historic<br />

brick pavement include portions of Chester<br />

Road, Maple Road, Somerset Drive, Springdale<br />

Drive and Valley Road, all within a half-mile<br />

radius on the West Side.<br />

John P. Hale (1824-1902) seemed to have<br />

a hand in every public improvement project<br />

during <strong>Charleston</strong>’s formative years. Among<br />

his accomplishments: physician, salt maker,<br />

Confederate veteran, contractor on the 1870<br />

capitol, paving the first brick street, owning<br />

the first gas company, mayor, coal mine<br />

operator, commercial developer, hotel owner,<br />

historian and writer. He is buried at Spring<br />

Hill Cemetery in a grave that was shaped<br />

on his orders to resemble a small mound,<br />

reflecting his interest in native cultures. To<br />

quote Gilbert & Sullivan, John P. Hale was<br />

“in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral...the<br />

very model of a modern Major-General.”<br />

John Hale’s contribution to <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

early development is singularly unmatched,<br />

but another individual who left an indelible<br />

legacy is John Brisben Walker. Born near<br />

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1847, Walker<br />

was educated at Georgetown College in<br />

Washington before receiving an appointment


to the U.S. Military Academy in 1865. He<br />

resigned without graduating in 1868 and<br />

traveled to China with the U.S. minister,<br />

John Ross Brown, where he worked with the<br />

Chinese military. Upon his return to the U.S.<br />

in 1870, Walker ventured to <strong>Charleston</strong> and<br />

immersed himself in the speculative atmosphere<br />

that permeated the new capital city.<br />

He quickly acquired a personal fortune as a<br />

real estate developer who owned over 2,000<br />

acres in the Kanawha Valley. Although he had<br />

interests elsewhere, Walker set his sights on<br />

developing the levels just west of Elk River,<br />

which he and partner John H. Playford had<br />

purchased from James and Sally Carr, 110<br />

acres of prime bottomland near the mouth of<br />

Elk. Walker purchased additional tracts from<br />

adjoining large landowners, Lewis Summers<br />

and Holly Hunt, and became principal developer<br />

of the J. B. Walker Addition, also called<br />

West End Extension. Ever the visionary,<br />

Walker laid out a town site on the flats<br />

with wide streets named for West Virginia<br />

counties and intersecting avenues named<br />

for U.S. states. With but few minor changes,<br />

his original layout survives today.<br />

✧<br />

Above: Original West End Extension as<br />

proposed by John B. Walker. Streets and<br />

avenues shown on the 1873 map are nearly<br />

identical to what exists today.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE HISTORIC<br />

GLENWOOD FOUNDATION.<br />

Left: John Brisben Walker touted the merits<br />

of his proposed West End Extension in a<br />

promotional publication titled Kanawha<br />

Valley 1872.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION<br />

(FROM KANAWHA VALLEY 1872).<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

5 3


H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

54


As part of his plan, Walker envisioned a<br />

public park extending from present Virginia<br />

Street (which he named Kanawha) to<br />

Berkeley Street, and from Delaware Avenue<br />

to present Vine Street (Walker’s Illinois<br />

Avenue). He called it Yuen-Ming-Yuen<br />

(Gardens of Perfect Brightness) in honor of<br />

the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, the complex<br />

of palaces, gardens, and art where<br />

Chinese emperors resided and Walker possibly<br />

explored while there. Unfortunately, the<br />

park never materialized.<br />

Walker recognized the potential problem<br />

of getting people from <strong>Charleston</strong> to his<br />

development across Elk River. At the<br />

time, access was limited to the 1852 cable<br />

suspension bridge along the <strong>Charleston</strong>-<br />

Point Pleasant Turnpike (present Washington<br />

Street). Walker hoped to improve his<br />

prospects by constructing a second span,<br />

which he did in 1873. Known as Keystone<br />

Bridge (possibly because it was fabricated<br />

by Andrew Carnegie’s Keystone Bridge<br />

Company), it carried present-day Virginia<br />

Street across Elk River.<br />

Prosperous and prominent by age twentyfive,<br />

Walker gained the Republican nomination<br />

for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1872<br />

but failed to win the election. Meanwhile, he<br />

continued his West End development efforts<br />

in partnership with Nicholas J. Bigley from<br />

the Pittsburgh area. <strong>The</strong> pair bought a tract<br />

north of Washington Street from Alethea<br />

Bream, daughter of Major James Bream, a<br />

prominent early West Side landowner. Called<br />

Bigley Addition, their holdings extended up<br />

Elk Valley to Magazine Branch (Garrison<br />

Avenue). In 1875, Walker and Bigley sold a<br />

parcel near the mouth of Magazine to the<br />

Kanawha Iron Company, which planned to<br />

erect a blast furnace to make iron from<br />

nearby ore beds.<br />

In 1871, John B. Walker courted and<br />

married his first wife, Emily Strother,<br />

daughter of the well-known writer and<br />

illustrator, David Hunter Strother, more<br />

familiarly known to his readers as Porte<br />

Crayon. Strother, a Martinsburg native,<br />

came to <strong>Charleston</strong> in 1870 at the behest of<br />

John P. Hale to write a descriptive pamphlet<br />

promoting the economic benefits of the<br />

region. While in <strong>Charleston</strong>, Strother received<br />

an offer from Walker to serve as editor of<br />

the <strong>Charleston</strong> Herald, a “liberal, progressive”<br />

newspaper devoted principally to the<br />

development of West Virginia. Strother<br />

accepted the job, but stayed in <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

only three months. His wife had refused to<br />

join him in the venture, so he brought his<br />

daughter, Emily, who arrived in <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

in January 1871. She met Walker shortly<br />

thereafter, and the couple got engaged about<br />

a month later. <strong>The</strong>y married in April of 1871<br />

and went on to have eight children before<br />

divorcing a few years later.<br />

Walker’s good fortune ran out when the<br />

Panic of 1873 ended his entrepreneurial<br />

ventures and left him deeply in debt. After<br />

losing most of his assets, he departed<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> a short time later and went to<br />

work as a newspaper editor in Cincinnati and<br />

Pittsburgh before moving to Denver and<br />

regaining his fortune in real estate. Ever the<br />

visionary, Walker moved back east, bought<br />

the struggling Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1889<br />

and increasing its circulation from 16,000<br />

to 400,000 as editor and publisher. He sold<br />

the magazine in 1905 to William Randolph<br />

Hearst for an estimated $400,000 (about<br />

$10 million in 2012 dollars), divorced his wife<br />

Emily, married his secretary and returned<br />

✧<br />

Opposite: <strong>The</strong> 1873 Keystone Bridge greatly<br />

improved access to Walker’s West End<br />

Extension. <strong>The</strong> three unidentified boys are<br />

obviously pleased to get their picture taken!<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

Above: “Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Walker.”<br />

Pictured is Mr. Walker’s second wife.<br />

Walker (1847-1931) made and lost a<br />

fortune in <strong>Charleston</strong> before age twenty-six.<br />

He departed the area in 1875 and pursued<br />

a variety of business ventures.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY<br />

OF CONGRESS, PRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION,<br />

HTTP://WWW.LOC.GOV/PICTURES/RESOURCE/<br />

GGBAIN.13477/<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

5 5


✧<br />

Above: In 1831, Daniel Ruffner sold an<br />

acre of land to the town for use as a burial<br />

ground, with a reserved family plot. Now<br />

known as Ruffner Park, it remains a legal<br />

cemetery today.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON<br />

AND THE KANAWHA COUNTY COURTHOUSE.<br />

to Colorado. He later purchased the Stanley<br />

Automobile Company, and remained a<br />

speculative businessman who hoped to turn<br />

dreams into reality until his death in Brooklyn,<br />

New York, at the age of eighty-three.<br />

As <strong>Charleston</strong> grew into a pleasantly<br />

small city for the living, its leaders faced<br />

the dilemma of finding a permanent resting<br />

place for the deceased. Early on, private<br />

burial grounds were scattered throughout the<br />

area. <strong>The</strong>n, in 1831, Daniel Ruffner sold to<br />

the town an acre of property (between 1578<br />

and 1596 Kanawha Boulevard) for $300, to<br />

be used as a public graveyard with the<br />

provision that a small plot be reserved for<br />

his family. By 1867 the site had become<br />

obsolete, so the town council appointed a<br />

five-member committee to procure a suitable<br />

cemetery “to meet the wants of our place for<br />

generations to come.” Despite the provision<br />

that the Ruffner burial ground remain in<br />

public use, the city tried to break the<br />

covenant and develop the property. Ruffner<br />

family members contested the decision, and<br />

ultimately prevailed in a state Supreme Court<br />

ruling which decreed it to still be a cemetery.<br />

A 1917 survey and map located in the city<br />

engineer’s office show 115 named gravesites<br />

in the one-acre parcel, and many remain.<br />

In 1869 city leaders established Spring<br />

Hill Cemetery on Cox’s Hill, also known as<br />

Spring Hill. <strong>The</strong> name Spring Hill, and<br />

likewise Spring Street, comes from the<br />

chalybeate, or iron, spring that spouted<br />

from the hillside near the cemetery road.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> acquired the first twenty acres<br />

for the burial ground in July 1869. Civil<br />

engineer A. J. Vosburg designed the Old<br />

Circle section of the cemetery, which<br />

incorporated beautiful geometric patterns<br />

for the walkways typical of the Victorian<br />

era. Today, the cemetery complex covers<br />

172 acres of shaded and landscaped hill<br />

terrain overlooking central <strong>Charleston</strong> and<br />

Right: Spring Hill Cemetery Park sits on a<br />

prominent knoll variously known as Cox’s<br />

Hill, Spring Hill, or Capitol Hill. Many<br />

prominent citizens lie in repose here.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF<br />

THE FRIENDS OF SPRING HILL CEMETERY,<br />

HTTP://FRIENDSOFSPRINGHILLCEMETERY.ORG/<br />

HISTORIC-WALK/<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

56


consisting of five separate cemeteries: Spring<br />

Hill, Mountain View, B’nai Israel, Lowenstein,<br />

and Mount Olivet. It is West Virginia’s largest<br />

cemetery complex, and is now listed on the<br />

National Register of <strong>Historic</strong> Places.<br />

As the capital city dealt with routine<br />

growing pains, citizens in the northern part<br />

of the state campaigned for the capital’s<br />

return to Wheeling, citing a lack of reliable<br />

communication or hotel facilities in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>. Area residents received the bad<br />

news on January 18, 1875; the legislature<br />

had voted to return the state capital to<br />

Wheeling within weeks. On May 21, officials<br />

journeyed north by steamboat; however,<br />

citizens in <strong>Charleston</strong> filed an injunction to<br />

keep state property from going to Wheeling.<br />

Meanwhile, plaintiffs appealed to the West<br />

Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. <strong>The</strong> case<br />

was argued all summer and finally settled in<br />

favor of Wheeling on September 13, 1875.<br />

After months of paralysis, a steamboat and<br />

two barges transported government records<br />

to Wheeling and state officials returned to<br />

work. Angry <strong>Charleston</strong>ians lamented the<br />

loss, but the final act had yet to be staged in<br />

the “floating capital” saga.<br />

Following the return of state government<br />

to Wheeling, public sentiment began to<br />

favor selection of a permanent capital. <strong>The</strong><br />

legislature agreed to let the people decide<br />

its location on August 7, 1877, with the<br />

move set to occur in 1885. However, only<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, Clarksburg, and Martinsburg<br />

were considered, with Wheeling conspicuously<br />

absent. In the end, <strong>Charleston</strong> won the<br />

referendum with 41,243 votes, Clarksburg<br />

tallied 29,942 and Martinsburg 8,046. <strong>The</strong><br />

official transfer of the capital came on May 3,<br />

1885, when two steamboats and a barge<br />

docked at the levee in <strong>Charleston</strong> to offload<br />

their cargo of state officials and records.<br />

Onlookers lined the riverbank to observe the<br />

spectacle, which included a cannon salute<br />

and nearby riverboats sounding approval<br />

with blasts from their steam whistles.<br />

Construction began on West Virginia’s<br />

newest capitol in 1880. Erected on the exact<br />

site of the 1870 capitol and incorporating parts<br />

of it into the design, the majestic 230-foot long<br />

Gothic Revival structure stood three stories<br />

tall with 85 rooms and a central hall flanked<br />

by wings on either side. <strong>The</strong> impressive<br />

structure was topped by a 194-foot center<br />

clock tower that dominated the city’s skyline.<br />

All government offices remained in the<br />

building until 1903, when the state built a<br />

Beaux Arts-style annex directly across Lee<br />

Street between Hale and Dickinson Streets. It<br />

contained offices of the state auditor and<br />

treasurer, Supreme Court of Appeals, State Law<br />

Library, adjutant general, and state archives. All<br />

offices moved out of the Capitol Annex after<br />

construction of the current capitol in 1932.<br />

✧<br />

Top: Construction of the 1885 capitol is<br />

nearing completion in this scene. A close<br />

look reveals missing details like no clock in<br />

the tower, and no landscaping or fencing.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

Above: <strong>The</strong> Capitol Annex stood on<br />

Lee Street between Hale and Dickinson<br />

from 1903 until 1966, when it was razed<br />

to make room for Commerce Square<br />

(now Huntington Square).<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

5 7


✧<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s East End <strong>Historic</strong> District<br />

encompasses 110 acres and over<br />

400 properties representing every popular<br />

architectural style from the late nineteenth<br />

century to World War II.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA COMMONS,<br />

HTTP://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/FILE:EAST_END_HOMES_<br />

APR_09.JPG<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

58<br />

Lawmakers in 1885 experienced a much<br />

different <strong>Charleston</strong> from what had existed<br />

ten years earlier, as civic improvements<br />

virtually transformed the small city. In 1880,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> got Kanawha County’s first<br />

telephone service, which included long<br />

distance lines up to Paint Creek and down to<br />

Lock Six near Dunbar; the first public water<br />

system began operating in 1886, followed by<br />

the first electric lights in 1887; <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

erected its first city hall in 1885 and a new<br />

brick jail in 1888.<br />

A significant transportation milestone also<br />

occurred in 1888, when the first horse-drawn<br />

streetcars began operating in a loop through<br />

downtown and the East End. Later, a second<br />

line crossed the Keystone Bridge to West<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> and proceeded to Patrick Street,<br />

while another extension ran along Washington<br />

Street eastward to the city limits at Bradford<br />

Street. In 1898 businessman W. W. Hazard<br />

obtained the streetcar line and set about<br />

electrifying and extending it. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

also constructed a car barn at 100 Virginia<br />

Street East, part of which still exists as<br />

the headquarters of Goodwill Industries.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, on April 1, 1891, the South Side<br />

Bridge opened for traffic amidst speeches<br />

by prominent citizens, followed by a great<br />

fireworks display at night.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s population reached 6,742 in<br />

1890 which increased demand for convenient<br />

housing in close proximity to downtown.<br />

When prime farmland east of town was<br />

divided and sold as building lots to<br />

accommodate the growing number of people<br />

who worked in the city, property owners built<br />

large and elegant homes featuring ornate<br />

interiors, slate or tile roofs, and hand-crafted<br />

stained glass windows. <strong>The</strong>ir impeccable<br />

craftsmanship reflected the high social<br />

standing of owners, and an East End address<br />

became the most desirable in the city.<br />

As the city expanded, so did the need for<br />

healthcare. In 1897, officials passed a $25,000<br />

bond issue to construct the first medical facility,<br />

known as City Hospital (later <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

General), at a hilltop site near Spring Hill<br />

Cemetery. City Hospital admitted its first<br />

patients on August 17, 1898, at the request of<br />

Governor George W. Atkinson. <strong>The</strong> building<br />

had been completed for more than a year by<br />

then, but because of a debt on the building and<br />

no funds in the treasury, it had never opened for<br />

the care of the sick. Governor Atkinson made<br />

the request to open it after a severe outbreak of


typhoid fever developed in a company of West<br />

Virginia troops during the Spanish-American<br />

War who were awaiting orders to ship out to<br />

Cuba. <strong>The</strong> affected company was located at<br />

Camp Atkinson, which had been established<br />

in Glenwood Park west of Elk River.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 1890s was a period of continued<br />

expansion. West of Elk River, several<br />

antebellum farms were broken up and land<br />

sold for building lots. Among them was<br />

Glenwood, the 366-acre estate of the late Judge<br />

George W. Summers, whose son Lewis and wife<br />

Lucy Summers subdivided the acreage into<br />

separate developments known as Glenwood<br />

Heights (hill land) and Glenwood Addition<br />

(bottom land). Meanwhile, on the opposite end<br />

of town, Ruffner heirs had begun to break up<br />

their vast family estate that extended from<br />

Ruffner Avenue to Malden. Division began with<br />

Ruffner Addition in 1895. Earlier, in 1883,<br />

Joel Ruffner’s 115-acre estate was divided into<br />

twelve parcels with each of his eleven offspring<br />

receiving approximately 8½ acres with 39¼<br />

poles (about 648 feet) of river frontage, within<br />

that tract was the Ruffner Cemetery. One lot<br />

at the eastern edge of the division, was sold<br />

to settle outstanding debts. <strong>The</strong> Ruffner heirs<br />

opted not to break up the portion south of<br />

Washington Street with intersecting streets, an<br />

anomaly that resulted in the 1500 block of<br />

Kanawha, Virginia, Quarrier, Lee, and the<br />

south side of Washington Streets each being<br />

exceedingly long with no intersecting streets.<br />

A long-standing tradition claims that the<br />

1500 block of Kanawha Boulevard and/<br />

or Virginia Street is the longest in the<br />

world. But, is it true? In 1953, <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

newspaperman Sol Padlibsky contacted the<br />

city engineer’s office for clarification and<br />

was told that Kanawha Boulevard between<br />

Ruffner Avenue and Elizabeth Street,<br />

measures 2,313 feet. Followed by Virginia<br />

Street at 2,280 feet, then Quarrier, Lee<br />

and Washington Streets. One complete loop<br />

around the Kanawha-Virginia block measures<br />

5,143 feet—137 feet short of a mile. By<br />

comparison, the average city block in the<br />

U.S. is one-eighth mile long and one-quarter<br />

mile (1,320 feet) around, making the 1500<br />

block of Kanawha Boulevard about four times<br />

longer than average. In the final analysis,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> may actually claim four of the<br />

longest blocks in the world!<br />

A March 1890 Harper’s Weekly article<br />

described West Virginia’s capital city as “largely<br />

a town of old families; men who descended<br />

from the pioneer settler…. <strong>Charleston</strong>’s people<br />

are waking up, the shell of old traditions are<br />

[sic] cracking, new blood and money and<br />

energy are coming in, and the Kanawha Valley<br />

is rapidly coming to the front.” <strong>The</strong> area west<br />

of Elk River was most rapidly coming to the<br />

forefront. John Brisben Walker had seen its<br />

potential as early as the 1870s, but his efforts<br />

ended prematurely, in part because of no rail<br />

access. Completion of the first railroad bridge<br />

✧<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s skyline changed dramatically<br />

after completion of a bridge across<br />

Kanawha River in 1891. It connected the<br />

C & O railway to town, and opened up<br />

the South Side.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF STAN COHEN.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

5 9


✧<br />

<strong>The</strong> 1883 Whipple truss bridge carried the<br />

Kanawha & Michigan Railway, and later<br />

the streetcar line, over Elk River. A heavier<br />

span later replaced it, but the landmark<br />

structure still stands.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

over Elk River came in 1883. <strong>The</strong> span, a<br />

historically significant Whipple Truss that still<br />

spans Elk River at Dryden Street (near Spring<br />

Street), provided a key element in the fiftymile<br />

Kanawha and Ohio Railway which<br />

linked the Kanawha and Ohio valleys. Built<br />

between 1884 and 1888, the K & O line<br />

originated at the base of Capitol Hill near<br />

Piedmont Road and crossed Elk River on<br />

the Whipple truss, then bisected the West<br />

Side flats en route to Point Pleasant. In 1890,<br />

the Kanawha and Michigan Railway acquired<br />

the right-of-way and extended its line east to<br />

Gauley Bridge in 1898. Shortly thereafter, the<br />

Kanawha and West Virginia Railroad linked to<br />

the K & M on the west bank of the Elk near<br />

the Whipple Truss and extended upriver to<br />

Blue Creek, Clendenin and beyond in 1907.<br />

Rail service to the north and west enhanced<br />

prospects for <strong>Charleston</strong>’s continued growth<br />

and development. Once a sparsely inhabited<br />

agricultural region, the area west of Elk River<br />

was rapidly being transformed into a denselypopulated<br />

industrial district known as Glen<br />

Elk. <strong>Charleston</strong> Street (now Washington<br />

Street) evolved as its main business corridor.<br />

A large number of fraternal organizations<br />

and lodge halls met in the upper stories<br />

of buildings there, which bear witness to<br />

the West Side’s working class roots. One<br />

noteworthy early business was a blacksmith<br />

shop owned by Mose Leftwich, a well-known<br />

African American citizen and former slave<br />

who performed smithing duties for many<br />

farmers along Kanawha Two Mile Creek.<br />

Other notable enterprises along the west side<br />

of Elk River included a barrel factory that<br />

packed and shipped Kanawha salt and a<br />

tobacco warehouse that shipped over 240,000<br />

pounds of locally-grown tobacco to English<br />

markets in 1873. Land was added and known<br />

as Upper Glen Elk in the 1880s. <strong>The</strong>n, in<br />

1891, Glen Elk, Lower Glen Elk, Upper Glen<br />

Elk, and John B. Walker’s former West End<br />

Extension combined to incorporate as Elk<br />

City. Population of the new town reached<br />

2,000 in 1892, when the municipality<br />

boasted a foundry, brick yard, saw and<br />

planing mills, as well as furniture and veneer<br />

factories. Elk City was a short-lived<br />

independent entity, as <strong>Charleston</strong> annexed it<br />

for the city’s sixth ward in 1895.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

60


C H A P T E R 5<br />

INDUSTRIAL EXPANSION AND GROWTH<br />

1900-1970<br />

In 1900, <strong>Charleston</strong> had grown into a small, bustling city of 11,099 with a reputation as a<br />

“jobbing town” due to the 35 wholesalers and more than 150 salesmen located there. It was<br />

also a promising center for retail trade. <strong>Charleston</strong>’s advantageous location in the middle of the<br />

rich Appalachian coal fields contributed to its expansion. In addition, significant industrial and<br />

commercial development followed four rail lines that ran through the city. <strong>The</strong>y included the<br />

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway from Newport News to Cincinnati and beyond; the Kanawha &<br />

Michigan Railway, completed westward to the Great Lakes and connecting with the C & O on<br />

the east at Gauley Bridge; the Coal & Coke Railway that ran through the state’s interior and<br />

followed the Elk River to <strong>Charleston</strong>, where it linked with the Baltimore & Ohio Railway to<br />

Baltimore and Pittsburgh; and the Kanawha & West Virginia line that reached into the southern<br />

coal fields of Raleigh County.<br />

✧<br />

By the turn of the twentieth century, an<br />

extensive rail network connected <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

to Eastern, Midwestern, and<br />

Great Lakes markets.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

6 1


✧<br />

Below: Charles Ward (1841–1915) arrived<br />

in <strong>Charleston</strong> from England in 1871 to<br />

become superintendent of the <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Gas Works. A year later he founded Ward<br />

Engineering Works.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

HUMANITIES COUNCIL.<br />

Opposite, top: <strong>The</strong> Scott was built by<br />

Ward Engineering Works in 1930 for the<br />

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Later,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> river man Pete Denny bought<br />

the boat and piloted it to victory in the 1974<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Sternwheel Regatta Race.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN<br />

STERNWHEEL ASSOCIATION.<br />

Opposite, bottom: After Denny’s death,<br />

Lawson Hamilton acquired the vessel and<br />

named it P. A. Denny after his friend.<br />

It was sold to an Ohio non-profit group in<br />

2004 and operated for several years as a<br />

floating classroom. A group of regional<br />

investors purchased the P. A. Denny<br />

in 2010.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

62<br />

For much of the 1800s, boats had to navigate<br />

a series of dangerous shoals between<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> and Point Pleasant which caused<br />

numerous wrecks and deterred commercial<br />

traffic. Between 1875 and 1898, the federal<br />

government undertook a major project to<br />

construct ten low-lift wicket dams, the first<br />

in the nation, with single-lock chambers.<br />

It provided a consistent six-foot depth and<br />

made Kanawha River the first in the nation<br />

to be completely canalized with wicket<br />

dams. <strong>The</strong>n, in 1936, three high-lift rollertype<br />

dams with dual lock chambers replaced<br />

the old system of ten locks and dams, which<br />

improved navigation by raising the water<br />

level to nine feet. In recent years, the<br />

Winfield, Marmet and Gallipolis Locks and<br />

Dam have all been expanded to allow more<br />

barges to simultaneously pass through,<br />

saving time and lowering shipping costs.<br />

Spurred on by transportation improvements,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s population increased<br />

from 7,447 to 39,608 between 1890 and<br />

1920. As a result, the demand for residential<br />

and industrial development far outstripped<br />

the agricultural value of the precious land<br />

in the floodplain, which created hundreds<br />

of jobs, boosted the local economy and<br />

extended <strong>Charleston</strong>’s urban footprint. One<br />

of the first important manufactories was<br />

the Ward Engineering Works located on the<br />

south bank of the Kanawha River opposite<br />

downtown. In 1872, Charles Ward founded<br />

the company which became a premier<br />

manufacturer of patented water tube boilers,<br />

pioneered the tunnel stern propeller driven<br />

towboat, and was among the first to<br />

develop diesel-powered river towboats. Ward<br />

Engineering Works produced 89 hulls in a<br />

variety of designs including sternwheel tows,<br />

such as the Greenbrier (1924) and the Scott<br />

(1930) which later plied the Kanawha as<br />

the excursion boat P. A. Denny. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

operated until 1932 under the leadership of<br />

the founder’s son, Charles E. Ward. Several<br />

Ward boats are still in operation today, a<br />

tribute to the quality of their construction.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Charleston</strong> Regional Chamber of<br />

Commerce was founded on October 26,<br />

1900. At the outset, it worked on taxation<br />

adjustments, various infrastructure improvements<br />

and recruiting factories. In<br />

1903, the efforts of representatives<br />

Charles Capito and D. C. Boyce led<br />

to the acquisition of the Kelly Axe<br />

Manufacturing Company. Founder<br />

William C. Kelly began making axes<br />

in Kentucky in 1874 and later moved<br />

operations to Indiana. Drawn by the<br />

area’s excellent transportation facilities<br />

and abundant natural gas, he<br />

relocated his factory along Kanawha<br />

River just west of Patrick Street in<br />

1904. <strong>The</strong> plant, which manufactured<br />

axes and edge tools, employed<br />

950 workers on 25 acres by 1907 and<br />

was reputed to be the largest and<br />

best equipped factory of its type<br />

in the world. At its peak, Kelly<br />

Axe employed over 1,000 workers,<br />

including many Polish and Russian<br />

immigrants. It contained fifty buildings on 53<br />

acres, and produced around 40,000 finished<br />

tools daily which it shipped worldwide.<br />

Kelly became part of American Fork and<br />

Hoe Company in 1930, and in 1949 changed<br />

its name to True Temper. Production declined<br />

in the late 1960s and the facility permanently<br />

closed on May 28, 1982. Today, retail and<br />

commercial establishments occupy the old<br />

plant site, along with an oversized and<br />

underutilized surface parking lot.


C H A P T E R 5<br />

6 3


✧<br />

Above: At its peak, the sprawling Kelly Axe<br />

plant covered fifty-three acres and contained<br />

fifty buildings. It operated for over<br />

seventy-five years at the south end of<br />

Patrick Street on the West Side.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

Right: Postcard view of the two Kanawha<br />

City glass plants, c. 1925. <strong>The</strong> Owens-<br />

Illinois bottling plant is at left, and Libbey-<br />

Owens sheet glass factory is at right.<br />

MacCorkle Avenue bisects the two factories,<br />

identified by the twelve landmark<br />

smokestacks which towered above it. Today,<br />

the Shops at Kanawha share the site with<br />

offices and other retail establishments.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Kanawha County residents responded<br />

with patriotic fervor during the World War I<br />

(then known as the Great War), and around<br />

125 of them lost their lives in service to the<br />

country. <strong>The</strong>ir sacrifice is remembered in a<br />

memorial that stands at the Lee Street<br />

Triangle. Despite the profound loss of life, the<br />

conflict marked a significant upturn in the<br />

region’s fortunes as industrial development<br />

occurred in South <strong>Charleston</strong>, Dunbar,<br />

Institute, Nitro and Belle. <strong>The</strong>se activities,<br />

in turn, bolstered <strong>Charleston</strong>’s status as a<br />

financial and commercial center. Much of<br />

the growth was attributed to cheap and<br />

abundant resources like natural gas, which<br />

became an important fuel source for the<br />

local glass industry. Industrial expansion<br />

increased the region’s ethnic diversity, as<br />

African Americans toiled as laborers, miners<br />

and railroaders; South <strong>Charleston</strong>’s Banner<br />

Window Glass Company was owned and<br />

mostly operated by Belgian workers, and<br />

Dunkirk Window Glass Company was a<br />

French-owned facility.<br />

Glass production began in <strong>Charleston</strong> in<br />

1917, when the Libbey-Owens Sheet Glass<br />

Company (later Libbey-Owens-Ford) erected<br />

a large plant on the upper south side in<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

64


Kanawha City. <strong>The</strong> Libbey-Owens plant in<br />

Kanawha City manufactured window glass<br />

and plate glass blanks. Employment reached<br />

450 by the early 1920s. Edward Libbey and<br />

Michael Owens had formed the company<br />

earlier that year in Toledo, Ohio, and the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> operation was the company’s<br />

first plant. Owens, a native of nearby Mason<br />

County, began as a glassworker’s apprentice<br />

in Wheeling in 1869, and in 1888 went to<br />

work for Libbey in Toledo. Libbey-Owens<br />

became the first company to produce automotive<br />

laminated safety glass, and by the<br />

mid-1920s its U.S. operations had grown to<br />

thirteen plants, including ones at Fairmont,<br />

Clarksburg, Huntington, and <strong>Charleston</strong>. In<br />

1928, the company won a contract to supply<br />

the Ford Motor Company with automobile<br />

windshields, a development which led to<br />

the creation of Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass<br />

Company two years later.<br />

Before achieving financial success in the<br />

corporate world, Michael Owens invented<br />

an automatic glass bottle manufacturing<br />

machine that revolutionized the industry.<br />

As a result, in 1903 he joined with Libbey<br />

and others to form the Owens Bottle Machine<br />

Company. With continued development and<br />

improvements, Owens later patented a<br />

machine capable of producing four bottles<br />

per second. In 1917, the Owens Bottle<br />

Company (later Owens-Illinois) opened a<br />

bottling works directly across MacCorkle<br />

Avenue from the sheet glass plant. <strong>The</strong> bottle<br />

factory, which employed 211 workers in<br />

1922, initially produced fruit jars and jars<br />

for industrial products, plus beer bottles<br />

after Prohibition ended. By the 1930s, the<br />

Kanawha City facility was the largest bottlemaking<br />

operation in the world.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> residents generally failed to<br />

distinguish between the two factories that<br />

straddled MacCorkle Avenue, despite the fact<br />

that they were separate and independent<br />

establishments. Locals vaguely knew them<br />

as “the glass plants” as if they were one<br />

operation, easily recognizable by the long<br />

line of massive brick chimneys that dominated<br />

the Kanawha City skyline. <strong>The</strong>se tandem<br />

operations contributed to the development<br />

of nearby neighborhoods and remained<br />

important economic engines for decades.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bottling plant closed its doors in 1963<br />

and the glass plant followed in 1980.<br />

✧<br />

Mason County native Michael J. Owens<br />

(1859-1923) began a glassware<br />

apprenticeship in Wheeling at age ten.<br />

He later moved to Toledo, Ohio, and began<br />

working for Edward Libbey.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY<br />

OF TOLEDO.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

6 5


✧<br />

Below: View of an early streetcar operated<br />

by the <strong>Charleston</strong> Traction Company,<br />

c. 1910. This car is running the Virginia<br />

(now Tennessee) Avenue and Bigley route<br />

on the West Side.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Opposite, top: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Greyhound Terminal.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Opposite, bottom: <strong>Charleston</strong>’s iconic<br />

Greyhound terminal featured a Vitrolite<br />

facade and glass block corner windows.<br />

One can envision its stunning appearance<br />

by comparing it to George Brown’s smaller<br />

Columbia, South Carolina, terminal,<br />

which still stands.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY<br />

OF CONGRESS, PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION,<br />

HTTP://WWW.LOC.GOV/PICTURES/ITEM/SC0758.COLOR.570<br />

829C/RESOURCE/<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

66<br />

Along with an expanding glass industry,<br />

area chemical production increased dramatically<br />

during the World War I era. Like salt<br />

production a century earlier, the war economy<br />

provided a catalyst for change. Specifically,<br />

U.S. support for the Allied cause against<br />

Germany in the Great War led to an embargo<br />

of chlorine and alkalis from the enemy nation,<br />

which broke U.S. dependence on German<br />

suppliers and spurred domestic chemical production.<br />

Once again, reliable transportation<br />

and abundant raw materials—salt brine, coal,<br />

natural gas, and oil—allowed the Kanawha<br />

Valley to emerge as a leader in the field.<br />

In 1920 the Carbide and Carbon Chemical<br />

Company, which later became the Union<br />

Carbide Corporation, opened the nation’s first<br />

commercial ethylene plant along Elk River in<br />

Clendenin. Five years later, the company<br />

moved to South <strong>Charleston</strong> for the manufacture<br />

of ethylene-based products, most<br />

importantly antifreeze, and two years later<br />

it purchased Blaine Island to expand petrochemical<br />

production. Union Carbide emerged<br />

as an industry leader by mid-century, with<br />

local plants at South <strong>Charleston</strong>, Alloy, and<br />

Institute. In 1949, South <strong>Charleston</strong> became<br />

home to Carbide’s Technical Center, the corporation’s<br />

largest research and development<br />

facility. Total revenues exceeded $10 billion<br />

by 1982, placing Union Carbide among the<br />

top ten companies in the United States.<br />

Bolstered by expansion in coal mining,<br />

manufacturing and chemical production,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s population mushroomed from<br />

22,996 in 1910 to 60,408 by 1930. By comparison,<br />

Kanawha County’s population nearly<br />

doubled, from 81,457 to 157,667, during the<br />

same period. Unparalleled post-war growth<br />

brought the need for new and improved<br />

modes of transportation. Like most U.S. cities,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> turned to mass transit in the form<br />

of electrified streetcars. W. W. Hazard founded<br />

the <strong>Charleston</strong> Traction Company in 1905 and<br />

established three streetcar routes: the Inner<br />

Loop ran east on Quarrier to Brooks Street,<br />

north on Brooks to Smith Street, and west on<br />

Smith to Capitol Street; the Middle Loop ran<br />

east on Virginia Street to Ruffner Avenue, from<br />

Ruffner north to Washington Street, and west<br />

on Washington to Capitol Street; the Outer<br />

Loop ran east on Washington to Duffy Street<br />

(which ran in front of the current West<br />

Virginia Culture Center, south on Duffy to<br />

Virginia Street, and west on Virginia<br />

to Capitol Street. Streetcars also ran<br />

the loop in the opposite direction,<br />

starting on Virginia Street and running<br />

to Washington Street. Within<br />

a short time, the line crossed Elk<br />

River to the West Side on the<br />

1883 Whipple Truss Bridge. In<br />

1910, local investors formed the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Interurban Railroad<br />

Company and acquired the existing<br />

streetcar line. With an infusion of<br />

capital, service reached St. Albans,<br />

Dunbar, and Cabin Creek by 1916.<br />

By the mid-1920s the era of<br />

electric-powered streetcars was<br />

nearing an end. In 1925 the<br />

Midland Trail Transit Company, a<br />

subsidiary of the <strong>Charleston</strong> Transit<br />

Company, placed its first gasolinepowered<br />

buses in service from<br />

downtown to Crescent Road,<br />

Piedmont Road, and South Hills;<br />

many of the old streetcar routes


ceased to exist by the end of the<br />

decade. <strong>The</strong> insolvent Interurban<br />

Railroad went into receivership in<br />

1933, replaced by the <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Transit Company in 1935. After streetcar<br />

service ended citywide in 1939,<br />

local bus service expanded westward<br />

to St. Albans-Nitro and eastward to<br />

Montgomery. In 1971, the Kanawha<br />

Valley Regional Transportation Authority<br />

(KRT) took over the county’s mass<br />

transit system.<br />

In addition to the local bus company,<br />

long-distance service was on<br />

the rise when Atlantic Greyhound<br />

Lines constructed a terminal in the<br />

heart of downtown in 1936. Located<br />

on Summers Street at present Slack<br />

Plaza, <strong>Charleston</strong>’s streamlined Art Moderne<br />

Terminal was designed by <strong>Charleston</strong> resident<br />

George D. Brown, an architect who worked<br />

for a succession of local firms before taking<br />

employment in the early 1930s with Atlantic<br />

Greyhound Corporation, founded and headquartered<br />

in <strong>Charleston</strong> His classic streamlined<br />

designs became synonymous with<br />

Greyhound. During a career that spanned two<br />

decades, Brown designed around sixty terminals<br />

throughout Atlantic Greyhound’s fourteen-state<br />

region. Unfortunately, <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

iconic terminal was demolished in the early<br />

1980s, but outstanding examples of Brown’s<br />

work survive in Columbia, South Carolina,<br />

and Savannah, Georgia.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

6 7


✧<br />

West Virginia’s magnificent 1885 capitol<br />

was destroyed by fire on January 3, 1921.<br />

<strong>The</strong> steam pumper engine in action at lower<br />

left is now in the lobby of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Civic Center.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

68<br />

Subdivision of East End land for residential<br />

and commercial development gained<br />

momentum in the early 1900s. <strong>The</strong> “Ruffner<br />

Brothers” additions permitted the extension<br />

of major through streets to near Elizabeth<br />

Street, and generally established the present<br />

grid pattern by 1907. Subdivision of the<br />

deGruyter Addition between Michigan and<br />

Chesapeake Avenues was undertaken as early<br />

as 1904, and the Comstock and Kanawha<br />

Additions east of California Avenue were<br />

laid out by 1914. With city population<br />

nearing 40,000 by 1920, optimism prevailed<br />

for continued growth and expansion in the<br />

public and private sectors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> city suffered an irreplaceable loss<br />

on January 3, 1921, when a disastrous fire<br />

consumed the elegant 1885 Victorian capitol<br />

building. <strong>The</strong> conflagration started shortly<br />

after 3:00 p.m. on a blustery winter day<br />

and spread rapidly. Although its origin is<br />

unknown, the blaze was thought to have<br />

started in an upper storage room used by<br />

the National Guard and State Police—which<br />

also contained thousands of rounds of<br />

ammunition which, when ignited, created<br />

a fiery spectacle that sent firefighters and<br />

onlookers scurrying for cover. <strong>The</strong> speed<br />

with which the flames spread made it<br />

impossible to save many valuable state<br />

records. One volunteer fireman died in the<br />

blaze, and by nightfall the elegant brick<br />

statehouse had been reduced to a smoldering<br />

ruin. Destruction of the landmark building<br />

was a shocking blow for area residents<br />

but the state’s insurance coverage paid for<br />

the physical loss. In the aftermath of the<br />

fire Clarksburg and Parkersburg attempted<br />

political maneuvers to wrest the seat of<br />

government from <strong>Charleston</strong>, but both failed.<br />

State officials immediately authorized construction<br />

of a temporary wood frame office<br />

building along Washington Street on the<br />

future site of Daniel Boone Hotel. Derisively


known as the “pasteboard capitol” for its<br />

simple and unadorned appearance, it took<br />

about six weeks to build and contained 166<br />

rooms. Meanwhile, the state legislature met as<br />

scheduled in regular session in late January,<br />

with meetings convened in the Capitol Annex<br />

and various locations throughout the city.<br />

Government offices remained in the temporary<br />

capitol until March 2, 1927, when a<br />

second fire of unknown origin completely<br />

destroyed it. No one died in the blaze, but<br />

state records were lost for the second time in<br />

six years. Fortunately, a portion of the new<br />

capitol on the East End was already in use by<br />

that time. <strong>The</strong> governor had also moved in<br />

1925 to a new Executive Mansion. Designed<br />

by local architect Walter F. Martens, the residence<br />

stands a short distance from the capitol.<br />

Selection of a new site began in the autumn<br />

of 1923 when Governor Ephraim Morgan<br />

appointed a State Capitol Commission to<br />

select a permanent location for a complex of<br />

administrative buildings intended to serve the<br />

present and future needs of state government.<br />

After reviewing several options, officials chose<br />

a roughly three square-block area in the heart<br />

of <strong>Charleston</strong>’s East End as the site of a new<br />

capitol. Noted architect Cass Gilbert received<br />

the commission to design the landmark<br />

structure, and he chose buff limestone in a<br />

neo-Classical style. <strong>The</strong> capitol was built as<br />

three interconnecting units—work on the<br />

west wing was begun in 1924 and occupied<br />

the following year, while the east wing was<br />

finished in 1927. Five years later, work ended<br />

on the connecting central domed segment.<br />

Dedication of the new seat of government<br />

took place on June 20, 1932.<br />

Construction was scheduled to take<br />

place on ground where a large number of<br />

nearly new homes stood. As a result<br />

enterprising realtors Bradford Noyes and<br />

A. E. Young bought twelve properties and<br />

hired the Eichleay Corporation of Pittsburgh,<br />

Pennsylvania, to move them about 500 feet<br />

down the street, load them onto a barge and<br />

float them across Kanawha River. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

moved the houses to South Ruffner as<br />

part of Beachview development, named for<br />

the nearby swimming hole located at Lick<br />

Branch. Eichleay charged Noyes and Young<br />

$3,500 per house, and $42,000 in all. A provision<br />

in the contract called for the firm to<br />

pay for any damages incurred, but Noyes<br />

later recounted that “they never had to pay us<br />

a dollar.” Noyes and Young made a handsome<br />

profit on the project and gained national<br />

publicity in the process, as Popular Mechanics<br />

and several other magazines and newspapers<br />

covered the event. Most of the homes transplanted<br />

to South Ruffner no longer exist,<br />

but at least three survive.<br />

As it turned out, the South Ruffner homes<br />

were not the only ones moved. In all, about<br />

fifty residences condemned by the state<br />

found new life elsewhere. Supposedly, one<br />

property had furniture left in place and china<br />

in the closets without suffering so much as a<br />

scratch! Master house mover John P. Eichleay<br />

engineered the feat, and he shared details<br />

of the successful operation in the April 1925<br />

edition of American magazine.<br />

✧<br />

<strong>The</strong> capitol’s 293-foot gold dome is five feet<br />

higher than the dome of the U.S. Capitol,<br />

and is gilded in twenty-three-and-a-half<br />

karat gold leaf applied to the copper and<br />

lead roof in tiny squares.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

6 9


T W E L V E H O M E S F L O A T A C R O S S T H E K A N A W H A R I V E R<br />

“One of our largest house-moving operations,” Mr. Eichleay went on, “was that at <strong>Charleston</strong>, West Virginia, where a total of 50 detached houses<br />

were moved to make way for the new State Capitol. In January of 1921 the old Capitol burned, and in choosing a site for the building to replace<br />

it, the state officials selected one of the residential sections of the city. Fifty nice residences, many of them of stone, brick, or stucco were bought<br />

by the State and condemned. But before the tearing-down process was under way, some residents conceived the idea that the houses might be<br />

moved. Immediately the cry went up—as it invariably does in our work—that such an idea was ridiculous. Nevertheless, a number of the home<br />

owners went to the state officials and were permitted to repurchase their properties, conditional upon their removal. Our company was engaged,<br />

and we went to work.... Finally, all the houses were moved except twelve. All available lots in the district had been taken, and the questions arose,<br />

‘What shall we do with these extra houses? Why not start a new town with them across the river?’ we suggested. ‘We can take them over there as<br />

easily as anywhere.’ Real estate men, eager to develop the other shore of the Kanawha, at once fell in with the plan, and we were told to go ahead.<br />

We brought down two steel barges from Pittsburgh, and hitched them together, with a wooden barge between. This time—because of the number<br />

of houses to be moved—we built a more or less permanent trestle of truss-work and cross-piling from the curb of the street to our platform of cribbing<br />

on the barges, a distance of <strong>225</strong> feet. Railroad tracks were laid on this, and over it, and without the least trouble the houses were drawn, one<br />

at a time, by a horse-power capstan.... This job was a large one because of the number of houses involved, but it wasn’t an especially difficult one.”<br />

✧<br />

Right: Two houses on blocks—the houses<br />

were loaded in pairs onto a double river<br />

barge and then floated across the Kanawha<br />

River to their new location in South Ruffner.<br />

<strong>The</strong> old houses started life anew as part of<br />

the Beachview development, named for a<br />

nearby swimming hole at Lick Branch.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

Bottom, left and right: Eichleay Corporation<br />

successfully relocated fifty houses in 1923.<br />

<strong>The</strong> two pictured here are bound for South<br />

Ruffner. Now they face each other on<br />

opposite sides of Twentieth Street.<br />

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

70


A gaping hole in the middle of<br />

downtown <strong>Charleston</strong> reminded<br />

residents of what had been lost in<br />

the capitol fire, but another iconic<br />

structure soon rose to fill the void.<br />

<strong>The</strong> twenty-story Kanawha Valley<br />

(now Sun Trust) Building was completed<br />

in 1929 as headquarters for<br />

Kanawha Valley Bank, with office<br />

space on the upper floors. For half<br />

a century the Kanawha Valley<br />

Building held title as the tallest<br />

building in West Virginia, until<br />

nearby Laidley Tower eclipsed it<br />

in 1980. Many of the city’s historic<br />

buildings were constructed between<br />

the world wars. At the time,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> had a number of fine<br />

lodging establishments, including<br />

the Ruffner Hotel, Kanawha Hotel,<br />

and Daniel Boone Hotel.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s citizens struggled<br />

with the effects of the Great<br />

Depression, but the city’s role as a regional<br />

hub for wholesale and retail commerce<br />

insulated residents from the extreme hardship<br />

experienced elsewhere. Leisure time<br />

gave the opportunity to catch a show at the<br />

Strand, Capitol, Rialto, Hippodrome, Grand,<br />

Virginian, or Kearse <strong>The</strong>aters. Downtown<br />

streets were thronged with shoppers day<br />

and night, especially during the Christmas<br />

holiday. Population rose from 60,408 in 1930<br />

to 67,914 in 1940—a 12.4 percent increase.<br />

Between 1935 and 1947, <strong>Charleston</strong> completed<br />

many construction and civic projects<br />

under the leadership of Mayor D. Boone<br />

Dawson. During his tenure, the city spent a<br />

million dollars on street paving and repairs,<br />

built four new fire stations and the first<br />

two federally-funded public housing projects<br />

in West Virginia (Littlepage Terrace and<br />

Washington Manor), and secured funding for<br />

a major sewer project.<br />

As <strong>Charleston</strong> grew, so, too, did the<br />

number of vehicles on city streets. Increasing<br />

traffic clogged downtown and created gridlock,<br />

a situation made worse during shift<br />

change at the large factories located on either<br />

end of the city. A <strong>Charleston</strong> Gazette editorial<br />

in 1936 summed up the vexing problem:<br />

For years our civic organizations have in<br />

vain sought a solution for a nasty, complicated<br />

local traffic situation, where a fast and solidlygrowing<br />

city is hemmed in by two rivers,<br />

two railroads with many crossings, and the<br />

mountains, with 13 state arterial highways<br />

centering here in a hub, pouring their daily<br />

increasing traffic load into our very doors,<br />

while we have sat complacently by and made<br />

no attempt at a sensible plan for avoiding the<br />

unnecessary parts of this city-bound swarm.<br />

It should seem wise to keep state traffic out of<br />

the middle of the city because, with our many<br />

crooked, narrow, dead-end streets, we will<br />

still always be hard pressed to take care of our<br />

own purely local situation.<br />

In 1936 city leaders proposed a bold<br />

solution for <strong>Charleston</strong>’s transportation woes.<br />

<strong>The</strong> plan called for a substantial upgrade of<br />

existing routes on either end of the city, and<br />

to connect them with a bypass that averted<br />

the most heavily congested streets. <strong>The</strong> grand<br />

plan actually involved four separate projects.<br />

<strong>First</strong> would be construction of a cut-off route<br />

from Dunbar to Kanawha Two-mile Creek,<br />

where the heavily traveled Point Pleasant<br />

road (U.S. 35) entered the city. Planners felt<br />

✧<br />

As shown on this 1936 state highway map,<br />

four U.S. routes (21, 35, 60 and 119) and<br />

several state and county routes ran through<br />

downtown contributing to gridlock that led<br />

to the Boulevard project.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

7 1


✧<br />

Top: Capitol Street looking south from Fife<br />

Street (now Brawley Walkway), c. 1930.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

Right: Military units marching north along<br />

a congested Capitol Street in the 1931<br />

Christmas parade.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

STATE ARCHIVES.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

72


it would yield immediate relief “for traffic all<br />

along <strong>Charleston</strong>, Washington, and even<br />

Lee, State, and Quarrier Streets.” Next would<br />

be a multi-lane bypass extending the length<br />

of the city along the north bank of Kanawha<br />

River. This massive public works project<br />

would necessitate removing all extant<br />

structures from the south (river) side of<br />

Kanawha Street, depositing millions of tons<br />

of earthen fill for a broad forty-foot right-ofway,<br />

and massive amounts of stone rip-rap<br />

to stabilize the riverbank. <strong>The</strong> third portion<br />

of the project involved a new bridge to carry<br />

the multi-lane bypass over Elk River. Finally,<br />

the connector would link to an upgraded<br />

segment of the Midland Trail (U.S. 60) east<br />

of <strong>Charleston</strong>. When completed, these four<br />

projects would create a continuous fourteenmile<br />

boulevard stretching from Malden<br />

to Dunbar.<br />

Implementing such a grandiose transportation<br />

plan was unprecedented for the<br />

Kanawha Valley, but other metropolitan<br />

areas, including New York and Detroit, were<br />

actively implementing similar projects to<br />

relieve major traffic problems. In <strong>Charleston</strong>,<br />

a local group known as the West Side<br />

Business Men’s Association played a significant<br />

role in conceptualizing the plan and<br />

combining the various elements into one<br />

comprehensive project deemed “breathtaking<br />

in its scope.” Funding for such an undertaking<br />

during the depths of the Great<br />

Depression would require a partnership<br />

between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s<br />

Public Works Administration (PWA), which<br />

provided federal grants, and the City of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, which proposed a bond issue to<br />

make up the balance of the cost.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first funds became available in August<br />

1937, when President Roosevelt approved<br />

a $450,000 PWA grant to construct a<br />

500-foot bridge over Elk River, which consulting<br />

engineer C. P. Fortnoy claimed to be<br />

longest continuous girder span in the world.<br />

<strong>The</strong> PWA grant represented forty-five percent<br />

of the estimated cost of the structure. At the<br />

same time, <strong>Charleston</strong> received a second grant<br />

totaling $192,658 to offset forty-five percent<br />

of the cost for a municipal auditorium.<br />

✧<br />

Completed in 1939, the Municipal<br />

Auditorium was <strong>Charleston</strong>’s premier<br />

performance hall for many years.<br />

It is on the National Register of <strong>Historic</strong><br />

Places and still in operation.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

7 3


✧<br />

Top: Back in the day, Kanawha Street was a<br />

tree-lined country lane.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF STAN COHEN.<br />

Above: Construction of Kanawha Boulevard<br />

transformed it into a modern four-lane<br />

thoroughfare that expedited traffic flow.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

74<br />

Requests for bids on both projects were<br />

delivered from the PWA regional office in<br />

Chicago in mid-December 1937, with the bid<br />

opening set for January 6, 1938. At the<br />

opening the bridge came in under budget<br />

but the auditorium did not, so officials<br />

revised plans for it. By March of 1938, the<br />

city had acquired all rights-of-way for the<br />

bridge except the Dickinson parcel along<br />

Elk River. Workers poured the first concrete<br />

in mid-April, and in August 1938 the center<br />

span was raised. Meanwhile, work on the<br />

auditorium continued.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> residents went to the polls on<br />

September 19, 1938, and overwhelmingly<br />

approved $2,040,000 in low interest bonds to<br />

match PWA grants for five proposed projects.<br />

Despite the fact that the nation remained<br />

mired in the Great Depression, the boulevard<br />

project carried by a 7 to 1 margin and<br />

support for the other initiatives ran as high as<br />

10 to 1. Obviously, <strong>Charleston</strong> residents<br />

overwhelmingly supported the expenditure of<br />

public funds for projects that would forever<br />

alter their city.<br />

Work on the four-lane Kanawha Boulevard<br />

began with the purchase of rights-of-way in<br />

1938. By June 1939, reports claimed that the<br />

lack of funds for property purchases might<br />

necessitate leaving the Union Building standing<br />

at the south end of Capitol Street. Officials<br />

determined that it would not necessarily<br />

create an overt safety hazard if the city did<br />

not obtain the specified 60-foot right-of-way<br />

there, because a similar situation existed at<br />

the nearby South Side Bridge. <strong>The</strong> distance<br />

from the curb on the north side to the river<br />

bank pier on the opposite side of the street<br />

measured approximately 48 feet, the maximum<br />

possible width due to the new South<br />

Side Bridge Pier—a tight passage, but still<br />

ample for four lanes of traffic. In the end,<br />

clearance was about the same width at the<br />

Union Building and the bridge, which spared<br />

the Union Building. It endures as a defining<br />

feature of <strong>Charleston</strong>’s skyline, and it is<br />

difficult to imagine the city without it.<br />

Although the world stood on the brink<br />

of a disastrous war in the fall of 1939,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>ians had much to celebrate. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

witnessed the opening of the beautiful new<br />

Municipal Auditorium and paving of the last<br />

stretches of Kanawha Boulevard. In addition,<br />

a new thru-truss bridge spanned Elk River at<br />

Lee Street, and plans were revealed for a new<br />

and modern road between <strong>Charleston</strong> and<br />

Dunbar which was intended to eliminate a<br />

bottleneck at the old stone bridge over<br />

Kanawha Two-Mile Creek. Also, the highway<br />

on the opposite side of the river (MacCorkle<br />

Avenue) was improved and widened.<br />

As residents celebrated completion of<br />

numerous public works projects that brought<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> into its modern era, the nation’s<br />

attention turned to cataclysmic events<br />

unfolding in Europe and the Pacific. On<br />

December 7, 1941, Japanese forces attacked<br />

the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor,<br />

Hawaii, and within days the United States<br />

found itself at war with Japan and Germany.<br />

Like elsewhere, Kanawha Valley residents<br />

unhesitatingly contributed to the war effort.


Thousands served in the armed forces, while<br />

coal miners, chemical workers and others<br />

employed in essential industries remained on<br />

the job to provide needed material for the<br />

fight. Scores of area women proudly rolled<br />

up their sleeves and worked as a “Rosie the<br />

Riveter” in defense industry jobs that had<br />

been vacated by men in military service,<br />

while others willingly participated in scrap<br />

drives, bought War Bonds, complied with<br />

mandatory rationing, and otherwise contributed<br />

to the war effort. African Americans<br />

dutifully answered the call to service, as well,<br />

despite the fact that they were not afforded<br />

equal treatment at home.<br />

<strong>The</strong> essential war effort continued for<br />

three-and-a-half-years, until Germany surrendered<br />

on May 8, 1945, and Japan stopped<br />

fighting three months later. A spontaneous<br />

street party erupted in <strong>Charleston</strong> when<br />

residents learned of V-J Day on August 14,<br />

1945. DuPont employees were given a twoday<br />

holiday as were Carbiders, <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

city employees, postal workers and those<br />

employed in retail. On V-J Day, revelers<br />

paused in silence to read names of the<br />

fallen on a plaque erected downtown.<br />

Of the 218,665 West Virginians in<br />

military service during World War II,<br />

5,820 were killed or missing. Among<br />

that number were 500 Kanawha County<br />

residents, the most of any West Virginia<br />

county. Today, their supreme sacrifice is<br />

immortalized on three permanent public<br />

memorials. <strong>The</strong> oldest and most visible<br />

is the World War II memorial erected in<br />

1946 by the American Legion at the Lee<br />

Street Triangle; next is the Veteran’s<br />

Memorial at the State Capitol Complex,<br />

dedicated in 1995 to honor more than<br />

10,000 West Virginia men and women<br />

who died in twentieth century conflicts;<br />

third is the Female Veteran Memorial<br />

Statue, adjacent to the state Veteran’s<br />

Memorial and dedicated in 2011 to<br />

honor more than 11,000 West Virginia<br />

women who have served in defense of<br />

their country.<br />

Following World War II, returning<br />

veterans enrolled in college courses<br />

under the Servicemen’s Readjustment<br />

Act of 1944, commonly known as the GI Bill<br />

of Rights. But, opportunities for a college<br />

education were surprisingly limited in the<br />

capital city. <strong>Charleston</strong>’s first institution of<br />

higher learning was established in 1906 by<br />

Dr. William Sandheger ‘‘Sandy’’ Mason, an<br />

accomplished violinist and founder of the<br />

Mason Quartet, as well as a city symphony<br />

and civic chorus. Originally called the Mason<br />

School of Music and Fine Arts, it became<br />

the Mason College of Music and Fine Arts<br />

in 1936. <strong>The</strong> school, which offered classes<br />

for children, undergraduates, teachers, and<br />

adults, attracted talented teachers from<br />

here and abroad, including some who had<br />

fled Nazi persecution. Mason College drew<br />

promising students like Pulitzer Prize and<br />

Grammy-winning composer George Crumb<br />

of <strong>Charleston</strong>, who received his bachelor’s<br />

degree in 1950. In 1956, Mason College of<br />

Music and Fine Arts merged with Morris<br />

Harvey College, a private Methodist school<br />

founded in Barboursville in 1888 and which<br />

relocated to <strong>Charleston</strong> in 1935.<br />

✧<br />

Revelers thronged Capitol Street on V-J Day<br />

to celebrate the end of World War II.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CHARLESTON NEWSPAPERS.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

7 5


✧<br />

Garnet High School opened in 1900 on<br />

Jacob Street, and moved to 422 Dickinson<br />

Street in 1929. <strong>The</strong> building is on the<br />

National Register of <strong>Historic</strong> Places.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

76<br />

Originally, Morris Harvey College was<br />

housed in the Capitol Annex at Lee and Hale<br />

Streets. <strong>The</strong> college shared the building with<br />

the Kanawha County Public Library and a<br />

two-year institution called Kanawha College.<br />

In 1939 the two schools merged, and three<br />

years later the college severed ties with<br />

the Methodist Church. Morris Harvey moved<br />

in 1947 to its current campus on the south<br />

bank of Kanawha River opposite the state<br />

capitol. In 1978 the institution became<br />

University of <strong>Charleston</strong>, which now offers<br />

undergraduate and graduate programs at<br />

campuses in <strong>Charleston</strong>, Beckley and<br />

Martinsburg, as well as online learning.<br />

<strong>The</strong> oldest institution of higher learning<br />

in the Kanawha Valley is West Virginia State<br />

University, founded in 1891 under the Second<br />

Morrill Land Grant Act to educate black<br />

West Virginians during the era of racial segregation.<br />

Originally known as the West Virginia<br />

Colored Institute, it became West Virginia<br />

State College in 1929 and West Virginia State<br />

University in 2004. State has a rich heritage<br />

as a historically black college which desegregated<br />

in reverse after the landmark 1954<br />

Brown v. Board of Education decision. Today,<br />

it is the largest and most diverse four-year<br />

public institution of higher education in the<br />

Kanawha Valley.<br />

Although educational opportunities have<br />

existed in one way or another for the area’s<br />

black population since the end of the Civil<br />

War, the harsh realities of black life in<br />

segregated <strong>Charleston</strong> remained less than<br />

ideal into the mid-twentieth century. African<br />

Americans have been a part of <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

history since the beginning, and they have<br />

played a significant, if unheralded, role in the<br />

city’s collective heritage. In past years, many<br />

property deeds included a provision stating<br />

that the buyer “would not lease or sell any of<br />

said property to a negro or any person or<br />

persons of negro blood, all of which is a<br />

covenant that shall run with the land.” In<br />

select neighborhoods, such racial restrictions<br />

were common practice until passage of equal<br />

housing provisions under the Civil Rights Act<br />

of 1964. Despite obstacles to equality, West<br />

Virginia was more progressive than other<br />

southern states in terms of opportunities for<br />

black residents. It was the first state to<br />

provide equal salaries for white and black<br />

teachers with equal preparation and experience,<br />

as well as the first state to name an<br />

African American as state superintendent of<br />

its “Negro Schools.”<br />

Arguably, the most important center of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s African American community<br />

was Garnet High School, founded in 1900<br />

when twelve black pupils passed entrance<br />

examinations for high school work. Named<br />

for Henry Highland Garnett, an ex-slave,<br />

noted clergyman, abolitionist and diplomat,<br />

the school moved to its present location in<br />

1929. Interestingly, when workers cut the


name of the school into the cornerstone and<br />

arch over the entrance, they spelled Garnett<br />

with only one “t.” Instead of re-cutting<br />

the stone, the Board of Education adopted<br />

the new spelling as official. Garnet’s<br />

prominent graduates include: TV host<br />

Tony Brown; noted cardiothoracic surgeon<br />

Dr. John C. Norman; Reverend Leon Sullivan,<br />

whose Sullivan Principles helped dismantle<br />

apartheid in South Africa; and Lewis R.<br />

Smoot, Sr., president and CEO of Smoot<br />

Construction Company.<br />

<strong>The</strong> closing of Garnet High School in<br />

1956 had a tremendous impact on<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s African American community.<br />

Former students attended either Stonewall<br />

Jackson or <strong>Charleston</strong> High School, both<br />

previously all-white schools. Gradually, black<br />

businesses surrounding Garnet High School<br />

closed and formerly black neighborhoods<br />

became integrated. While ending segregation<br />

was certainly warranted, the closing of<br />

Garnet High seemed to be the first step in<br />

the loss of identity for <strong>Charleston</strong>’s African-<br />

American community. <strong>The</strong> building itself<br />

remains in use, operated and funded by<br />

Kanawha County Schools as Garnet Career<br />

Center. It is the only surviving<br />

public school building in the<br />

downtown commercial center.<br />

Garnet High School’s doors<br />

opened directly onto Shrewsbury<br />

Street, historically a gathering<br />

place for the black community<br />

and just around the corner from<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Block,” where parades and<br />

other important events took place.<br />

At 1004-08 Washington Street<br />

was the Ferguson Hotel, built<br />

in 1922 by Captain Gurnett E.<br />

“Cap” Ferguson. Containing seventy<br />

rooms, it included a movie<br />

theater, cafe, pool room, barber<br />

shop, haberdashery, and convention<br />

hall. African Americans from<br />

near and far stayed there, since<br />

they were barred from whitesonly<br />

establishments. <strong>The</strong> Ferguson<br />

was demolished to make way<br />

for the Heart-O-Town Motor Inn<br />

in 1966.<br />

Religion has played a prominent place in<br />

the public life of the city’s black population<br />

since the end of the Civil War. Among the<br />

first African American houses of worship was<br />

<strong>First</strong> Baptist Church, established in 1868.<br />

<strong>The</strong> church first met in an academy building<br />

in the vicinity of Quarrier and Hale Streets,<br />

and then in a two-room public school<br />

erected on Quarrier Street by the Freedmen’s<br />

Bureau. By 1878, <strong>First</strong> Baptist Church had<br />

its own building on Washington Street near<br />

Shrewsbury. Dr. Mordecai Johnson served as<br />

pastor from 1917 to 1926, during which time<br />

the present church was built at the corner of<br />

Shrewsbury and Lewis Streets. Dr. Johnson<br />

helped found the <strong>Charleston</strong> Branch of the<br />

NAACP, which brought to the city outstanding<br />

black performers like Marian Anderson<br />

and Paul Robeson. Johnson resigned his<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> ministry to become president of<br />

Howard University in Washington, D.C.<br />

Johnson’s <strong>Charleston</strong> successor was Reverend<br />

Vernon Johns, who pastored <strong>First</strong> Baptist<br />

Church in 1927-28 and again from 1937 to<br />

1941. After leaving <strong>Charleston</strong> the second time,<br />

Johns preceded Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,<br />

as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church<br />

✧<br />

Above: Gurnett E. “Cap” Ferguson<br />

(1888-1982) served as a captain in<br />

World War I. He later taught school,<br />

worked in real estate, and owned the<br />

Ferguson Hotel.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

(FROM 1929 WEST VIRGINIA BLUE BOOK).<br />

Left: Located on Washington Street<br />

between Shrewsbury and Broad Streets<br />

(Leon Sullivan Way), <strong>The</strong> Block featured a<br />

number of black-owned establishments.<br />

Desegregation and urban renewal negatively<br />

impacted business and led to in <strong>The</strong> Block<br />

being demolished by the 1970s.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

(FROM 1933 SANBORN FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY MAP).<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

7 7


✧<br />

<strong>The</strong> Diamond, West Virginia’s largest<br />

department store, integrated its cafeteria<br />

and lunch counters in 1960 after<br />

West Virginia State College students<br />

staged a sit-down protest.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

78<br />

in Montgomery, Alabama, where he mentored<br />

Ralph Abernathy, Wyatt Walker, and others<br />

involved the Southern Christian Leadership<br />

Conference (SCLC), which played a leading<br />

role in the Civil Rights Movement.<br />

Simpson Memorial United Methodist<br />

Church is another significant religious institution.<br />

It traces its origins to black worshipers<br />

who organized their own Methodist<br />

congregation in 1865 in the basement of<br />

Asbury Chapel. Five years later, the congregants<br />

constructed a frame church at Quarrier<br />

and Dickinson Streets. After a fire destroyed<br />

the church in 1888, a new and larger house<br />

of worship took the name Simpson Methodist<br />

Episcopal Church in honor of Bishop<br />

Matthew Simpson, a supporter of the Union,<br />

emancipation, and President Lincoln. <strong>The</strong><br />

current church building at 607 Shrewsbury<br />

Street dates to 1915, and remains a viable,<br />

and vital, community resource.<br />

Unfortunately, the struggle for racial<br />

equality in <strong>Charleston</strong> is not well documented.<br />

Few folks know that on January 16, 1959,<br />

rookie basketball sensation Elgin Baylor boycotted<br />

his team’s regular season NBA game<br />

at the <strong>Charleston</strong> Civic Center. Most of the<br />

2,300 fans who witnessed the Minneapolis<br />

Lakers play the Cincinnati Royals thought the<br />

Lakers rookie sensation was ill or injured<br />

because Baylor dressed in street clothes and<br />

sat on the bench during the contest. After the<br />

game it was revealed that he had refused to<br />

play in protest because the Kanawha Hotel at<br />

Virginia and Summers Street would not allow<br />

Baylor and two other black players, Boo Ellis<br />

and Ed Fleming, to stay with the rest of the<br />

team. In response, all of the Lakers moved to<br />

Edna’s Tourist Court on Lewis Street, a hotel<br />

that accepted African Americans. Still, Baylor<br />

refused to play that evening’s game in protest.<br />

Apparently, Ellis and Fleming, who did play,<br />

attempted to change his mind; <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

native “Hot” Rod Hundley, who played for<br />

the Lakers at the time, also pleaded with<br />

Baylor, but to no avail. In the end, the Lakers<br />

lost the game 95-92.<br />

Baylor later said he would not have played<br />

the game even if it cost him his entire year’s<br />

salary. He also noted that “<strong>The</strong>y sent me to a<br />

colored restaurant and it wasn’t fit to eat in,”<br />

so he bought some food at a grocery store<br />

which he ate in his room at Edna’s. All of<br />

the Lakers stayed there after they discovered<br />

that their three black players could not<br />

register at the Kanawha Hotel. <strong>The</strong> protest<br />

made national news. <strong>Charleston</strong>’s American<br />

Business Club, which sponsored the game<br />

and lost money because of poor attendance,<br />

filed a protest with the NBA and the Lakers<br />

but both refused to discipline Baylor.<br />

Local civil rights efforts gained significant<br />

momentum when West Virginia’s first chapter<br />

of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)<br />

was formed in <strong>Charleston</strong> in 1958. For over<br />

two years, CORE led organized boycotts of<br />

well-known downtown stores that practiced<br />

segregationist policies. In April 1960, <strong>The</strong><br />

Diamond Department Store at Washington<br />

and Capitol Streets was the scene of a<br />

sit-down protest at its lunch counter by a<br />

group of students from West Virginia State<br />

College. Amidst mounting pressure, the store<br />

integrated its dining facilities on May 3, 1960.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Mayor John Shanklin expressed<br />

gratification at the action, stating that:<br />

This indicates to me that the Mayor’s<br />

Commission of Human Relations has the<br />

confidence of all the citizens of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

and that their approach to this very important<br />

question is the right way to accomplish it.


In announcing the decision to admit<br />

blacks to its cafeteria and lunch counters,<br />

company management said the action was in<br />

cooperation with the Mayor’s commission:<br />

<strong>The</strong> Diamond is endeavoring to comply<br />

with the policies of the Mayor’s Commission<br />

which have been endorsed by our governor,<br />

prominent citizens, and other public and<br />

religious leaders for the conducting of better<br />

civic relations in our city.<br />

Afterwards, other downtown establishments<br />

ended racial segregation, but some businesses<br />

and private clubs remained so for years.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s continued growth increased<br />

the urgency for additional public improvements.<br />

One badly-needed amenity was a<br />

reliable airfield. Public air service for the<br />

Kanawha Valley had begun in 1930 after the<br />

City of <strong>Charleston</strong> obtained land adjacent<br />

to West Virginia State College in Institute,<br />

which it leased to a group of businessmen<br />

who operated an airport called Wertz Field.<br />

Within a short time, the site had become<br />

too small to accommodate new and larger<br />

planes so city leaders began searching for<br />

a new location. In 1938, D. M. Giltinan,<br />

D. N. Mohler, D. C. Kennedy, Charles E. Hodges,<br />

Fred Alley and J. B. Pierce formed a committee<br />

to survey airport needs and study possible<br />

sites within a twenty-five-mile radius of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>. With no suitable land on the<br />

valley floor, a bold proposal made in 1940<br />

called for a new airport on the hilltops of<br />

Coonskin Ridge near Elk Two-Mile Creek.<br />

Meanwhile, in 1942 the city lost the use<br />

of Wertz Field when its approaches were<br />

blocked by the erection of a federallysupported<br />

synthetic rubber plant.<br />

Attempts to gain public funding for the<br />

airport project initially failed, but in 1943<br />

a large county bond issue passed by an<br />

overwhelming margin. Commitment of local<br />

dollars made it possible to leverage a federal<br />

appropriation, and ground was broken in<br />

October 1944. In the end, the decision was<br />

made to level three hills and fill intervening<br />

valleys for the “upstairs” airport. Construction<br />

of Kanawha Airport employed the latest in<br />

earthmoving technology to redistribute over<br />

9,000,000 cubic yards of earth and rock.<br />

As excavators dug down about 40 feet (an<br />

elevation of 1,030 feet), workmen uncovered<br />

millions of fossilized fern leaves which<br />

disintegrated shortly after exposure, followed<br />

by a deposit of large boulders, petrified tree<br />

trunks and a two-and-a-half foot seam of<br />

coal. At an elevation of 1,030 feet, the hilltop<br />

site had once been a low-lying swamp.<br />

✧<br />

Above: Today, a vintage P-51D Mustang<br />

bearing WVA ANG insignia serves as a gate<br />

guardian at the West Virginia Air National<br />

Guard headquarters near Coonskin Park.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF<br />

THE WARBIRD INFORMATION EXCHANGE,<br />

HTTP://WARBIRDINFORMATIONEXCHANGE.ORG/PHPBB3/VI<br />

EWTOPIC.PHP?F=3&T=33150<br />

Below: On August 10, 1968, this Piedmont<br />

Airlines Model FH-227B Pacemaker propjet<br />

crashed at Kanawha Airport, killing thirtyfive.<br />

<strong>The</strong> aircraft had been in service for less<br />

than a year.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GARY C. ORLANDO,<br />

HTTP://FH227.RWY34.COM/RESULTS.PHP?SERIAL=557<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

7 9


✧<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> lost one of its landmark churches<br />

in 2012, when the century-old Central<br />

United Methodist Church on Bigley Avenue<br />

was demolished to make way for a<br />

Family Dollar Store.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

80<br />

Dedication of Kanawha Airport (later<br />

renamed Yeager Airport in honor Lincoln<br />

County native and retired Brigadier General<br />

Charles “Chuck” Yeager, the first person to<br />

break the sound barrier) occurred on<br />

November 3, 1947. Earlier that year, the167th<br />

Fighter Squadron of the West Virginia Air<br />

National Guard (ANG) was established at the<br />

airport, with Colonel J. Kemp McLaughlin, Sr.,<br />

commanding. Initially, the squadron flew<br />

P-47 and P-51D fighter planes, both legendary<br />

aircraft which helped the Allies win World<br />

War II. <strong>The</strong> West Virginia ANG was the last<br />

Air Guard unit to utilize the legendary P-51D<br />

in squadron service, and the final aircraft was<br />

retired as a museum piece at Wright-Patterson<br />

Air Force Base on January 27, 1957.<br />

In 1955 the 167th was transferred to<br />

Martinsburg and Kanawha Airport became<br />

home to the 130th Troop Carrier Squadron,<br />

now the 130th Tactical Airlift Squadron. <strong>The</strong><br />

130th flies around the globe in support of<br />

the U.S. Air Force. Military aircraft commonly<br />

seen in the skies over <strong>Charleston</strong> in the past<br />

included the C-46, HU-16, and C-119 “Flying<br />

Boxcar.” According to retired Master Sergeant<br />

Walter V. Chapman, Jr., the 130th was the<br />

last military unit to fly the C-119, when on<br />

September 26, 1975, nine planes flew to the<br />

aviation boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Base<br />

in Arizona. Chapman was among the crews<br />

on that historic mission. Today, the larger<br />

C-130E Hercules aircraft are familiarly seen<br />

and heard above <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

Since its opening in 1947, two major<br />

tragedies have involved aircraft bound for<br />

Kanawha (Yeager) Airport. On April 8, 1951,<br />

a planeload of airmen crashed near <strong>Charleston</strong>,<br />

killing 19 people and injuring 2. <strong>The</strong>ir C-47,<br />

carrying 9 officers and 12 enlisted airmen,<br />

clipped the top of a hill about eight miles<br />

northeast of the airport. It crashed in an<br />

isolated area, skidded, and burst into flames.<br />

<strong>The</strong> men were en route to <strong>Charleston</strong> from<br />

Godman Air Force Base in Kentucky to attend<br />

the funeral of a pilot who had died in a<br />

separate crash. A second catastrophe came<br />

twenty-one years later when, on August 10,<br />

1968, a Piedmont Airlines Fairchild twinengine<br />

propjet slammed into the hillside just<br />

short of the airport, then bounced and burned<br />

off the side of the main runway in a thick<br />

morning fog. <strong>The</strong> plane was traveling from<br />

Louisville, Kentucky, to Roanoke, Virginia,<br />

with scheduled stops in Cincinnati and<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>. Thirty-two passengers and three<br />

crew members died in the fiery crash, and<br />

only two people survived. Four of the dead<br />

were West Virginians—all young servicemen<br />

coming home on leave. At the time, it was the<br />

worst aviation disaster in state history.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> is known for its landmark<br />

houses of worship which offer comfort and<br />

solace during times of suffering, like after<br />

the 1951 and 1968 plane crashes, or joy<br />

and inspiration in happier times. In 1910,<br />

the Northern branch of the Methodist<br />

Church completed a new edifice at Morris<br />

and Quarrier Streets. Two years later, the<br />

Southern Methodists erected a new church<br />

on the northeast corner of Washington and<br />

Dickinson Streets. When the northern and<br />

southern factions reunited in 1939, <strong>First</strong><br />

Methodist became Christ Church (United)<br />

Methodist and <strong>First</strong> Methodist South became


St. Mark’s (United) Methodist<br />

Church. After Christ Church<br />

suffered a disastrous fire in<br />

1969, the church rebuilt a<br />

modern sanctuary around the<br />

historic bell tower.<br />

Baptist congregations have<br />

existed in <strong>Charleston</strong> since<br />

before the Civil War, but the<br />

first church was not built<br />

until 1869. In 1905, worshipers<br />

built the old Baptist Temple<br />

at Washington and Capitol<br />

Streets, and in 1925 finished<br />

the current Baptist Temple at<br />

Morris and Quarrier Streets.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s Presbyterian<br />

Church has had a strong<br />

presence since antebellum<br />

times, also. When the church<br />

split into Northern and<br />

Southern denominations over<br />

secession, the <strong>Charleston</strong> church<br />

remained unaffiliated. In 1872 the majority<br />

of the congregation favored reestablishing<br />

an affiliation with a Presbytery or synod. A<br />

large number of members voted to join the<br />

Southern branch, while a small number preferred<br />

the Northern one. As a result, Southern<br />

members became the <strong>First</strong> Presbyterian Church,<br />

while Northern members retained their affiliation<br />

with the Kanawha Presbyterian Church.<br />

Opportunities for Catholic worship in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> began in 1866 when Father<br />

Joseph W. Stenger celebrated Sunday Mass<br />

in a store on Front Street. Shortly thereafter,<br />

the church acquired a two-story brick house<br />

at the corner of present Leon Sullivan Way<br />

and Quarrier Street to serve as a church<br />

and school. Three years later, a small frame<br />

church was built on Virginia Street. An 1892<br />

parish census counted 84 English families<br />

and 56 German families, with 90 pupils in<br />

school. On Christmas 1897 the current Sacred<br />

Heart Co-Cathedral held its first Mass. An<br />

influx of Polish workers at the Kelly Axe<br />

factory after 1907 led to creation of a church<br />

at Sixth and Russell Streets on the West Side<br />

that became Saint Anthony Parish, and<br />

Catholic workers from the glass plants in<br />

Kanawha City created Saint Agnes Parish.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> has benefitted tremendously<br />

from the contributions made by its Jewish<br />

community. Jewish-owned retail establishments<br />

have included: B & B Loans, Cohen<br />

Drug Store, Embees, Frankenberger’s, Galperin<br />

Jewelers, Silver Brand Clothes, <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Department Store, Goldfarb Electric, and<br />

Shoney’s, to name but a few. <strong>The</strong> first major<br />

wave of Jewish migration to the U.S. occurred<br />

between 1840 and 1880, with immigrants<br />

coming mostly from Germany and the<br />

Germanic states. Jewish worship in <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

dates to 1856, when a small group of mainly<br />

German Jews from Bavaria informally met as<br />

B’nai Israel (Temple Israel). <strong>The</strong> cemetery<br />

dates to 1836, and is the oldest Jewish cemetery<br />

in West Virginia. In 1873, the congregation<br />

gained legal charter as the Hebrew<br />

Educational Society and sixteen members<br />

held services in rooms over a store on Capitol<br />

Street. In 1875 the congregation moved to a<br />

small temple on Lee Street, and in 1894 they<br />

dedicated a new temple in the 1100 block of<br />

Virginia Street. Services continued at that<br />

location until 1960, when work was completed<br />

on the current Temple Israel on Kanawha<br />

Boulevard East at Chesapeake Avenue. It is<br />

the largest Reform congregation in the state.<br />

✧<br />

Congregants held the first services in<br />

B’nai Jacob Synagogue on Rosh Hashanah<br />

in 1949. Today, it is the largest Jewish<br />

congregation and only traditional synagogue<br />

in the state.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BILLY JOE PEYTON.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

8 1


✧<br />

Edgewood subdivision advertisement.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> got its first streetcar suburb in<br />

1906, when developer Steele Hawkins, Sr.,<br />

created Edgewood to offer buyers an<br />

“exclusive country home in a community of<br />

handsome residences.”<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE HISTORIC<br />

GLENWOOD FOUNDATION.<br />

A second major wave of Jewish immigration<br />

to the U.S. began with the Eastern<br />

Europe diaspora. Settlers began arriving<br />

in <strong>Charleston</strong> in the 1880s, principally<br />

from Russia, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, and<br />

Lithuania. <strong>The</strong>se Orthodox Jews first held<br />

religious services in private homes and then<br />

in a rented hall at Kanawha and Summers<br />

Streets. In an effort to form a congregation<br />

for worship in accordance with Jewish traditional<br />

practice, the B’nai Jacob Synagogue<br />

was formally established in 1897. By 1908<br />

the congregation had outgrown its quarters<br />

on Washington and Court Streets, and they<br />

purchased the former State Street Methodist<br />

Church at State (Lee) and Court Streets.<br />

Worship continued at this facility until 1949,<br />

when construction was completed on the<br />

present B’nai Jacob Synagogue in the 1500<br />

block of Virginia Street East, which includes<br />

a school, social center and gymnasium.<br />

As the pace of life quickened in the<br />

modern era, residents with leisure time and<br />

disposable income began to seek private<br />

recreational opportunities. Chartered on<br />

April 4, 1898, as Glenwood Athletic Club,<br />

the Edgewood Country Club is the oldest<br />

private country club in West Virginia. Its first<br />

clubhouse was located along Kanawha River<br />

near the intersection of Park Avenue and<br />

Kanawha Street, and the original golf course<br />

extended west from Delaware Avenue and<br />

south from Central Avenue. Subdivision of a<br />

portion of this land resulted in the country<br />

club relocating to the hills in the new<br />

Edgewood Addition in 1906. A year later the<br />

Glenwood Athletic Club became Edgewood<br />

Country Club. At first, Edgewood had tennis<br />

courts but no golf course. Later, approximately<br />

100 acres of land was purchased for<br />

construction of a course. A special streetcar<br />

traveled around the city picking up members<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

82


and transporting them to the club<br />

for dances and other activities.<br />

Motorists could easily drive there<br />

after Edgewood Drive was paved<br />

in 1930, and bus service replaced<br />

streetcars in 1934. On Christmas<br />

night in 1935 the original clubhouse<br />

burned to the ground. <strong>The</strong><br />

present clubhouse was erected<br />

in 1936, and has been expanded<br />

throughout the years.<br />

In 1969, Edgewood Country<br />

Club developed a new 18-hole<br />

championship golf course on<br />

Derrick’s Creek near Sissonville.<br />

<strong>The</strong> City of <strong>Charleston</strong> then<br />

acquired the historic 9-hole<br />

course, now part of Cato Park,<br />

which is named for attorney<br />

Henry Cato who left his estate to<br />

the city for park development. Using $231,000<br />

available through Cato’s generosity, plus<br />

an additional $210,000 in federal funds,<br />

the city acquired the ninety-two-acre course<br />

and park site. Golfers who play Cato Park<br />

today experience the game on one of the<br />

state’s oldest courses.<br />

Aside from private clubs, working-class<br />

residents sought public recreational opportunities<br />

in close proximity to the city. By the<br />

1920s, Huntington, Parkersburg, Wheeling,<br />

and other West Virginia cities had developed<br />

large urban parks, but in 1940 <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

still only had the one-acre Ruffner Park on<br />

the East End and a comparably-sized pocket<br />

park in front of the downtown YMCA. In 1941,<br />

the West Virginia State Road Commission<br />

(now Division of Highways) constructed the<br />

state’s largest roadside park along U.S. Route<br />

60 just east of town. Originally intended for<br />

motorists, Daniel Boone Park quickly became<br />

a popular recreation spot for residents, too.<br />

Named for the pioneer settler who had once<br />

lived opposite it, the eleven-and-a-half-acre<br />

park had 47 tables, two shelters, 10 fireplaces,<br />

two charcoal stoves, a playground, drinking<br />

water, and toilet facilities. A superintendent<br />

and three caretakers maintained the facilities,<br />

which attracted up to 1,500 visitors per day<br />

on summer weekends in the 1960s. Daniel<br />

Boone Park still exists, primarily as a boat<br />

launch with trailer parking and limited<br />

picnic facilities. Sharing the grounds is the<br />

Boy Scouts of America’s Buckskin Council<br />

headquarters, reconstructed Ruffner log<br />

cabin, and relocated Craik-Patton House.<br />

Amusement parks gained popularity at the<br />

dawn of the twentieth century, as leisure time<br />

and disposable income became a reality for<br />

the nation’s working classes—and <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

was no exception. Streetcar service for the<br />

new suburb of Edgewood resulted in building<br />

the first public amusement park in the<br />

West Side hills. According to newspaperman<br />

George Summers, Edgewood Park opened in<br />

1906 on the same day that the first streetcar<br />

ran the Edgewood route.<br />

Real estate developer Steele Hawkins, Jr.,<br />

owned much of the park, which was operated<br />

by Fred and Dave McCutcheon. Perched<br />

on the steep hillside below the streetcar<br />

tracks and platform, the park featured shaded<br />

walkways, a carousel, shooting gallery,<br />

penny arcade, picnic areas, and casino.<br />

Park policeman Pat Nugent kept a small zoo<br />

that featured caged opossums, groundhogs,<br />

raccoons, guinea pigs, foxes, ferrets, and the<br />

occasional owl, with visitors paying a nickel<br />

to see his animals. Elsewhere, vendors had<br />

booths where they sold peanuts, popcorn,<br />

ice cream, pop, and other refreshments,<br />

while “barkers” attempted to lure potential<br />

✧<br />

Streetcar service ran to Edgewood Park<br />

and connected the Edgewood development to<br />

downtown. Motorists traveling up Edgewood<br />

Drive can still trace the old trolley right-ofway<br />

to the top of the hill.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

8 3


✧<br />

Above: Short-lived Edgewood Park opened<br />

with the streetcar line in 1906, and closed<br />

around 1912. It was over the hill where<br />

modern Edgewood Drive begins its descent<br />

to Garrison Avenue.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF STAN COHEN.<br />

Below: Luna Park opened in 1912 and<br />

burned in 1923. Hundreds of thousands of<br />

patrons visited the park in its short<br />

existence. On busy summer days and nights,<br />

as many as 15,000 people came though the<br />

entrance on Park Avenue.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

HUMANITIES COUNCIL.<br />

customers. <strong>The</strong> featured attraction was<br />

the roller skating rink, complete with an<br />

in-house orchestra which accompanied<br />

skaters. Occasionally, park management<br />

booked professional skaters for exhibitions;<br />

ten-year-old twins, Gus and Okey Harmon,<br />

were local trick skaters who packed the<br />

rink. <strong>Charleston</strong> High School also played<br />

basketball on the versatile wooden floor.<br />

Business continued briskly at Edgewood<br />

Park for a few years, until a fight broke out<br />

between black and white youths at the skating<br />

rink one evening around 1912. <strong>The</strong> episode<br />

apparently ended in tragedy after a black man<br />

named Woods was killed by a shotgun blast.<br />

Later that night, fire destroyed the<br />

park. It is unknown whether the<br />

two events were related; however,<br />

the short history of Edgewood Park<br />

ended abruptly that night.<br />

In 1912, J. B. Crowley built a<br />

new and larger park along the<br />

north bank of Kanawha River on<br />

the west side of the Elk. It occupied<br />

a seven-acre tract of marshy, uneven<br />

ground delineated as “Reservation”<br />

and “Glenwood Park” on earlier<br />

maps, and most probably the site<br />

of Glenwood Athletic Club’s threehole<br />

golf course. Called Luna Park, it took<br />

its name from the spaceship in the 1901<br />

Pan-American Exposition ride “A Trip to<br />

the Moon” at Coney Island, New York;<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s park shared the name with<br />

dozens of others that have been built on<br />

every continent except Antarctica since<br />

1903. Frederick Ingersoll opened Luna Parks<br />

in Pittsburgh and Cleveland in 1905, the<br />

first two amusement parks to be illuminated<br />

with electricity. He eventually opened 44<br />

Luna Parks worldwide, and Lunapark is now<br />

a synonym for amusement park in many<br />

languages. <strong>Charleston</strong>’s Luna Park may have<br />

been an Ingersoll design.<br />

Like so many others, Luna Park<br />

was a trolley park. <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Interurban streetcars dropped visitors<br />

off at the main entrance on<br />

Park Avenue, while Park Drive<br />

(now incorporating parts of Lovell<br />

Drive, Park Drive and Grant Street)<br />

encircled the site in an amoeba-like<br />

pattern. Beyond the flag-adorned<br />

entrance, patrons walked on a footbridge<br />

that spanned the uneven terrain<br />

and led to the amusements,<br />

which included a merry-go-round,<br />

Ferris wheel, Royal Giant Dips<br />

Coaster, zoo, skating rink, boxing<br />

ring, and dance pavilion. A large<br />

“lumber and tin sheet” swimming<br />

pool was a major summer attraction.<br />

Visitors could play games of<br />

chance and skill on the midway, or<br />

picnic under shade trees. Other<br />

entertainment options included free<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

84


outdoor movies, hot air balloon rides, and<br />

trapeze artists. As many as 15,000 patrons<br />

visited the park on a daily basis—some<br />

walked or rode streetcars, while others<br />

traveled by excursion boats from Gallipolis<br />

and Point Pleasant.<br />

Luna Park had been open for a little more<br />

than a decade when the end came.<br />

On May 4, 1923, welders started a<br />

disastrous blaze that consumed the<br />

wooden Royal Giant Dips coaster and<br />

destroyed much of the park. Despite<br />

the owner’s promise to rebuild, the<br />

damage proved too extensive and<br />

Luna Park passed into history.<br />

Eventually, the site was cleared and<br />

a residential subdivision laid out in<br />

late 1923 by the Luna Park Land<br />

Company. Streets were laid out on the<br />

alignment of existing park trails that<br />

were simply widened and paved, and<br />

two new thoroughfares, called Simms<br />

and Hall Streets, bisected the new<br />

development. From a nearby office,<br />

developers sold lots with specific<br />

“building and racial restrictions.”<br />

Today, the Luna Park neighborhood<br />

maintains the old layout which is<br />

clearly visible on a modern map.<br />

Optimism prevailed as economic<br />

expansion surged in the decades after<br />

World War II. <strong>Charleston</strong> continued<br />

to prosper as a commercial, financial,<br />

and political center, as population<br />

grew to 73,501 by 1950 and 85,796<br />

ten years later. (Kanawha County<br />

approached 253,000 residents in<br />

1960.) Optimistic estimates predicted<br />

the capital city would exceed<br />

100,000 residents within a short<br />

time—a number which has never<br />

been reached. In reality, negative<br />

changes had already begun to impact<br />

the area, as thousands of mining and<br />

railroad jobs were lost in the 1950s.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, in the 1960s, urban renewal<br />

and interstate highway construction<br />

brought more reversals. Collectively,<br />

these factors contributed to a dramatic<br />

37 percent decrease in <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

population between 1960 and 1990.<br />

In 1967, the city got its first modern<br />

high-rise office tower when National Bank<br />

of Commerce erected the seventeen-story<br />

Commerce Square (now Huntington Square)<br />

in the International Style on the site of the<br />

Capitol Annex, which was razed in 1966.<br />

However, the greatest change in the city’s<br />

✧<br />

Luna Park Land Company divided the park<br />

site into building lots in 1923. <strong>The</strong> old park<br />

boundary is visible in the pattern of modern<br />

streets that are in the Luna Park<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> District.<br />

MAP COURTESY OF THE CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL, AUGUST<br />

19, 1923, ACCESSED ON WWW.NEWSPAPERARCHIVES.COM<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

8 5


✧<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s first urban renewal project<br />

cleared all the buildings in a three-block<br />

area to make way for new commercial<br />

development that included a hotel and<br />

bank tower.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

86<br />

physical appearance resulted from a federal<br />

program implemented during the Eisenhower<br />

administration that made direct federal loans<br />

and grants available for slum clearance and<br />

prevention through “urban renewal.” As early<br />

as 1952, city council had empaneled the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Slum Clearance and Development<br />

Authority to purchase blighted buildings, tear<br />

them down and sell the land to private<br />

entities for redevelopment, an idea which<br />

gave rise to the <strong>Charleston</strong> Urban Renewal<br />

Authority (CURA). At the time, the federal<br />

government provided a planning grant to<br />

complete preliminary investigations, but city<br />

council beat down attempts to select a site to<br />

begin clearance, with some members calling it<br />

a “socialism scheme.” However, more enlightened<br />

progressives saw urban development as<br />

a means of reclaiming land, “whose use and<br />

value has declined, and turning it into new<br />

purposes. It also means providing traffic and<br />

parking facilities within such areas and offers<br />

a vista for the future.” Proponents pointed to<br />

the fact that only two buildings “of any size”<br />

had been built in <strong>Charleston</strong> in the last<br />

twenty-five years—JCPenney and Stone &<br />

Thomas department stores.<br />

CURA was revitalized in 1957 after<br />

federal funds became available. Developers<br />

sold lots with specific “building and racial<br />

restrictions.” In July of 1958 the agency<br />

unveiled plans for the city’s first urban<br />

renewal project, a three-block area of<br />

Kanawha Boulevard and Virginia Street<br />

between Capitol and Court Streets. <strong>The</strong><br />

controversial proposal envisioned wiping out<br />

old buildings with the city reselling the<br />

vacant land for its best use. Under the plan,<br />

certain buildings could be exempt from<br />

demolition, depending on their condition.<br />

City council president John Shanklin spoke<br />

in support of the project, saying the city<br />

had reached a “crossroads where we either<br />

must consider ourselves a small town forever<br />

or cooperate to build a greater <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

May the public never say of this council that<br />

we were derelict in our duty in trying to lift<br />

the face of <strong>Charleston</strong>.”<br />

Architect Clarence Moran headed the<br />

urban renewal effort, hailed as the state’s<br />

first to be implemented. An ardent supporter<br />

of the project, Moran also advocated preserving<br />

“historical residences and other sites”<br />

elsewhere. Many buildings in the target area<br />

were over 100 years old, but considered<br />

blighted fire traps. <strong>The</strong>y included the<br />

infamous “sin corner” on Summers Street,<br />

described by one writer as <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

“Bowery,” a once-bustling commercial strip<br />

described as having “dingy buildings with<br />

turn of the century doorways, the dimly<br />

lit beer joints with raucous hillbilly music<br />

pouring out into the streets, the walk-up<br />

hotels with cramped, drab rooms, the steamy<br />

little restaurants with their kitchens just<br />

behind the counters.”<br />

In the end, city council voted 24-0 to<br />

approve the so-called “Summers Street plan,”<br />

which ultimately razed three city blocks,<br />

dislocated 137 families, and wiped out about<br />

fifty buildings—including some of the city’s<br />

most historic structures. Redevelopment<br />

would be limited to commercial uses only.


In June 1961, officials received confirmation<br />

of $4.5 million in federal grants and loans<br />

to implement the project. Following property<br />

acquisition, bulldozers leveled the site in<br />

1962 and 1963. <strong>The</strong> first new construction<br />

was the 12-story, 25-room <strong>Charleston</strong> House<br />

Holiday Inn (now Ramada Inn), which<br />

opened in 1967. <strong>Charleston</strong> National Bank<br />

followed with a 17-story building and plaza<br />

(now known as Chase Tower) in 1969. When<br />

the new facility opened, it cleared the way for<br />

demolition of the old bank at the corner of<br />

Capitol and Quarrier Streets, which allowed<br />

for the widening of Quarrier Street.<br />

Meanwhile in 1962 city officials laid plans<br />

for two more urban renewal projects; a 60-acre<br />

Triangle District redevelopment and 9-acre<br />

Government Square. Bounded generally by<br />

the Elk River, Washington Street, the K & M<br />

railroad right-of-way and Summers Street,<br />

the Triangle was considered dilapidated—<br />

officials claimed that more than ninety<br />

percent of the buildings were substandard,<br />

but a large percentage of the city’s African<br />

American population called the area home.<br />

Consequently, the Triangle redevelopment<br />

proposal met with fierce opposition.<br />

According to one former resident: “Black<br />

people were forced to move and they weren’t<br />

given anywhere to go. A way of life was being<br />

destroyed.” In the end, the Triangle District<br />

was segmented and its population dispersed.<br />

Some former residents moved to the East End<br />

or West Side, and others left the area. With<br />

their neighborhood gone—as blighted as it<br />

may have been—many former inhabitants<br />

harbored bitter resentment that heightened<br />

existing political and racial tensions over<br />

Vietnam, civil rights, and the assassination of<br />

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.<br />

✧<br />

This group of buildings at Court and<br />

Dryden Streets was among the dozens of<br />

structures demolished as part of the Triangle<br />

District redevelopment in the 1960s.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JERRY WATERS.<br />

HTTP://WWW.MYWVHOME.COM/FIFTIES/COURTST.HTML<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

8 7


✧<br />

Opened in 2003, the Clay Center for the<br />

Arts and Sciences houses performing arts,<br />

visual arts and science activities. It stands<br />

at the corner of Washington Street and<br />

Leon Sullivan Way.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA COMMONS,<br />

HTTP://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/FILE:CLAY_CENTER.JPG<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

88<br />

<strong>The</strong> third urban renewal area was called<br />

Government Square, which planners envisioned<br />

as a grand plaza surrounded by<br />

several modern towers housing city, county,<br />

and federal courts and offices. One plan put<br />

the complex on land now occupied by the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Town Center Mall. That proposal<br />

never materialized, but the project eventually<br />

cleared the way for office buildings like the<br />

United Center, Spilman Building, Robert C.<br />

Byrd Federal Courthouse, and about half the<br />

land for Town Center. Finally, CURA turned<br />

its attention to clearing twenty-five acres<br />

behind CAMC General Division for hospital<br />

expansion. Some of that land became Plaza<br />

East shopping center, and a parcel bordered<br />

by Lewis, Morris, Smith, and Brooks Streets is<br />

home to Appalachian Power Park.<br />

Around the same time the city’s first urban<br />

renewal plan started to take shape in 1958,<br />

the State Road Commission commenced<br />

studying options for routing Interstate 64<br />

through the capital city. Construction had<br />

begun on I-64 in Cabell County the previous<br />

year; by 1967, the highway reached Dunbar,<br />

about seven miles west of <strong>Charleston</strong>, where<br />

progress stalled for six years while officials<br />

decided whether the road should go through<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> or around it. Several alternatives<br />

existed, including one that went north of the<br />

airport and the city, another that went south,<br />

and one that went through the heart of the<br />

city. In the end, the highway came right<br />

through the capital city.<br />

Today, nobody argues the<br />

utility of the interstate highway<br />

system because it has<br />

clearly reduced through travel<br />

time to a matter of minutes<br />

and spurred economic development<br />

in some areas. But, it<br />

also dislocated a large number<br />

of area residents and segmented<br />

many low to moderateincome<br />

neighborhoods. Nearly<br />

half a century has passed since<br />

their relocation, and some of<br />

those affected feel it could<br />

have been better planned to<br />

ease the hardship on individuals<br />

and businesses.<br />

Local entertainment options were greatly<br />

enhanced in January 1959, when the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Civic Center opened on a formerly<br />

substandard parcel along the banks of<br />

Elk River between Lee and Quarrier Streets.<br />

Funding for the project came in a series<br />

of general obligation bonds approved by<br />

city voters. Originally, the Civic Center<br />

included a 6,000-seat arena and 750-seat<br />

Little <strong>The</strong>ater; expansion in 1964 added<br />

2,400 seats to the arena, as well as a paved<br />

parking lot and ice rink. A second, $20<br />

million upgrade became a reality in 1976,<br />

when city voters approved a bond sale<br />

matched by federal grant funds to build a<br />

13,000-seat coliseum, two-story lobby to<br />

connect the original facility with the new<br />

coliseum, and a new convention center. <strong>The</strong><br />

project was completed in 1980, two parking<br />

garages were added in 1983, and an exhibit<br />

hall replaced the outdated ice rink in 1994.<br />

Without a doubt, the Civic Center has<br />

greatly enhanced the quality of life for area<br />

residents who attend shows, concerts, and<br />

sporting events at the facility.<br />

Starting in 1962, <strong>Charleston</strong>’s schoolchildren<br />

have had the benefit of a local museum. For<br />

the first forty years, the former residence of<br />

Governor William A. MacCorkle housed the<br />

Sunrise Museum. Sunrise closed its doors in<br />

2003 after it became part of the Avampato<br />

Discovery Museum at the newly-opened<br />

Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in<br />

downtown <strong>Charleston</strong>.


C H A P T E R 6<br />

EPILOGUE—THE CITY IN TRANSITION<br />

1970-PRESENT<br />

In the mid-1970s, an estimated 13,600 persons worked at ten principal chemical<br />

manufacturing facilities in the Kanawha Valley. <strong>The</strong>y included: the Diamond Shamrock and<br />

DuPont plants in Belle; NL Industries in <strong>Charleston</strong>, FMC in South <strong>Charleston</strong>; Monsanto,<br />

Fike Chemical, Allied Chemical, and Avtex in Nitro; and Union Carbide operations in<br />

South <strong>Charleston</strong> and Institute. <strong>Charleston</strong> has had relatively few chemical production facilities<br />

within its borders, but it has certainly benefited from their nearby presence. However, change<br />

was about to engulf the chemical industry, beginning with the Bhopal, India, tragedy in 1984<br />

that contributed to the eventual demise of Union Carbide. <strong>The</strong>n, in the face of intensified<br />

competition from foreign producers, some Kanawha Valley plants curtailed operations, obtained<br />

new owners, or closed. By 1996 employment in the region’s chemical industry had fallen<br />

below 6,000. In 1999 the Dow Chemical Corporation bought Union Carbide, resulting in<br />

the merger or elimination of product lines and job losses at the Technical Center and in<br />

production facilities.<br />

✧<br />

In this c. 1978 view, the new Civic Center,<br />

parking garage and Greyhound bus station<br />

are under construction in the foreground,<br />

while the future Town Center Mall site<br />

awaits its fate. Court Street runs<br />

horizontally across the top of<br />

the photograph.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JERRY WATERS,<br />

HTTP://WWW.MYWVHOME.COM/SEVENTIES/MALL.HTML<br />

C H A P T E R 6<br />

8 9


Meanwhile, in the 1960s and 1970s,<br />

CURA had begun clearing land between<br />

Summers Street and Elk River. For about a<br />

decade, a large parcel remained undeveloped<br />

as two companies battled over where to<br />

build an indoor mall for <strong>Charleston</strong>. Forest<br />

City Enterprises of Cleveland, Ohio, opted<br />

for a downtown location, while the Cafaro<br />

Company of Youngstown, Ohio, proposed<br />

a site several miles south of town where<br />

the Shops at Trace Fork are now located.<br />

With the aid of state and local politicians,<br />

Forest City and Cafaro eventually joined<br />

hands to erect Town Center Mall, the largest<br />

downtown-based shopping mall east of the<br />

Mississippi River. <strong>The</strong> sprawling 933,000<br />

square foot complex covers twenty-six<br />

acres bounded by Quarrier, Lee, Court, and<br />

Clendenin Streets; it was designed by<br />

RTKL, an architectural firm of Baltimore,<br />

Maryland, and built at the cost of $100<br />

million. When it opened, it featured over<br />

130 specialty stores on three levels, restaurants,<br />

two parking garages and four anchor<br />

department stores—JCPenney, Kaufman’s,<br />

Montgomery Ward, and Sears. Forest City<br />

Enterprises is the majority owner and<br />

mall manager.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Town Center opened amidst<br />

much fanfare on November 4, 1983. Its four<br />

anchor stores remained unchanged until<br />

Montgomery Ward closed in 2000. After<br />

several failed attempts to fill the vacancy,<br />

BrickStreet Insurance located its offices there<br />

in 2006. A year later, Kaufmann’s became<br />

Macy’s after the acquisition of Kaufmann’s<br />

parent company. In 2011, WOWK-TV located<br />

its <strong>Charleston</strong> offices in the BrickStreet<br />

section of the mall.<br />

Some merchants and residents opposed<br />

the mall project at the outset, but public<br />

officials and business leaders embraced<br />

the plan as it moved forward. Downtown<br />

property owners and community leaders<br />

decided to act in order to prevent <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

from becoming a ghost town like so many<br />

other U.S. cities after mall construction. With<br />

help from the city and CURA, <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Renaissance Corporation was created to<br />

oversee a number of projects intended to<br />

revitalize downtown, including creation of<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

90


the Village District, Haddad Riverfront Park,<br />

Capitol Market, and Clay Center for the Arts<br />

and Sciences. Capitol Street demonstrates<br />

the positive changes brought about by<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Renaissance. Today, it bears little<br />

resemblance to how it looked in 1983, when<br />

concrete and inappropriate renovations<br />

dominated the streetscape. Capitol Street<br />

now features tree-lined, brick sidewalks<br />

and intersections, Victorian-era lampposts,<br />

and rehabilitated building façades that boast<br />

an appropriate historic appearance. A key<br />

element of the renaissance included design<br />

guidelines and a provision whereby business<br />

owners would agree to renovate their building<br />

façades in order to obtain a building<br />

permit. As part of revitalization efforts, the<br />

City of <strong>Charleston</strong> obtained a federal grant<br />

to construct Brawley Walkway, a pedestrian<br />

connector along the former Fife Street from<br />

Capitol Street to Town Center Mall. Although<br />

the plan had its detractors, in the end<br />

practically every building on Capitol Street<br />

underwent a substantial rehabilitation as<br />

part of the <strong>Charleston</strong> Village concept which<br />

laid the foundation for the vibrant mix of<br />

commercial, retail, and residential space that<br />

exists today.<br />

In 1974, <strong>Charleston</strong> found itself at the<br />

center of a major textbook controversy<br />

that divided the community and made<br />

national headlines. It began in the spring<br />

when the Kanawha County Board of<br />

Education recommended hundreds of books<br />

for use in public schools. <strong>The</strong> books were<br />

part of a new state curriculum that included<br />

for the first time the concepts of multiculturalism<br />

and egalitarianism in textbook<br />

writing. Most school board members saw no<br />

reason to question the state’s decision, but<br />

conservative board member Alice Moore<br />

was concerned by texts that she termed<br />

anti-Christian and un-American. Moore’s<br />

complaints included works by Allen<br />

Ginsberg, Sigmund Freud, and others, as well<br />

as titles like Animal Farm by George Orwell,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Crucible by Arthur Miller and <strong>The</strong><br />

Autobiography of Malcolm X.<br />

✧<br />

Opposite: During the 1974 Textbook War,<br />

a bomb damaged the Kanawha County<br />

Board of Education office on Elizabeth<br />

Street following a board meeting.<br />

Luckily, no one was hurt.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

CHARLESTON NEWSPAPERS.<br />

Above: Capitol Market.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE CHARLESTON,<br />

WEST VIRGINIA, CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU.<br />

C H A P T E R 6<br />

9 1


✧<br />

Above: Brick sidewalks with Victorian-era<br />

lampposts, and rehabilitated building<br />

façades that boast an historic appearance.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE CHARLESTON,<br />

WEST VIRGINIA, CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU.<br />

Below: Quality public transportation for the<br />

residents of Kanawha County.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE CHARLESTON,<br />

WEST VIRGINIA, CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

92<br />

<strong>The</strong> community took notice, and at the<br />

next school board meeting attended by<br />

hundreds of local residents members voted<br />

to approve the titles after a three-hour<br />

debate over the merits of teaching a liberal<br />

curriculum. Twenty-seven ministers publicly<br />

denounced the books, while ten other<br />

ministers and the West Virginia Council of<br />

Churches supported them. In general,<br />

those who opposed the books were from<br />

evangelical churches in rural parts of the<br />

county, whereas the ministers who supported<br />

the books mostly represented churches<br />

in <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

When the 1974 school year commenced,<br />

tensions escalated after conservative protestors<br />

called for a boycott of public schools. An estimated<br />

one-fifth of the county’s students stayed<br />

home from school, and thousands of miners,<br />

bus drivers, and other workers joined in the<br />

protest. Violence also increased, as radical protestors<br />

planted bombs at a school, dynamited<br />

another school, attacked school buses and the<br />

homes of children who continued to attend<br />

school. Even the Ku Klux Klan showed up to<br />

support the protestors. While most violent<br />

episodes occurred in outlying areas, fifteen<br />

sticks of dynamite were detonated at the<br />

Board of Education office on Elizabeth Street<br />

shortly after a board meeting had concluded.<br />

Miraculously, no one was injured in any of the<br />

incidents. However, area schools were closed<br />

several times to avoid further violence, and<br />

national media covered the events.<br />

Finally, on November 8, 1974, the Kanawha<br />

County School Board voted to reinstate the<br />

textbooks. <strong>The</strong> meeting was held at the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Civic Center to accommodate the<br />

anticipated crowd, however, less than 100


people showed up. By then, the<br />

unrelenting violence and negative<br />

publicity had begun to take its toll<br />

on the protest movement. In the<br />

end, many of the controversial<br />

books were placed only in school<br />

libraries and required signed<br />

parental permission to be checked<br />

out, and individual schools gained<br />

veto power over individual titles.<br />

<strong>The</strong> result was that the most controversial<br />

books never entered schools in<br />

conservative areas that had objected to them.<br />

In the final analysis, scholars view the 1974<br />

textbook controversy as a defining moment in<br />

educational and political history, arguing that<br />

it was the first major victory for conservative<br />

evangelical Christians in the politically polarizing<br />

“culture wars” that emerged in response<br />

to 1960s liberalism. Perhaps the greatest<br />

long-term impact of the textbook controversy<br />

has been the proliferation of local faith-based<br />

Christian schools, including several located in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, that stress conservative religious<br />

values in their teaching.<br />

Contrasting with the conservative reaction<br />

to the textbook controversy, which had a<br />

strong following in outlying rural areas,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> in the 1970s was a mainstream,<br />

mid-sized American city with a lively cultural<br />

and recreational life. In 1971 twelve-year-old<br />

Nelson Jones came up with the idea of a<br />

Sternwheel Regatta, which began as a three-day<br />

Labor Day river festival that attracted sternwheelers<br />

and other river craft. Within a few<br />

years, the Regatta exploded into a week-long<br />

party that attracted tens of thousands of revelers.<br />

Over time, the event became less about the<br />

river and more about the parties, which led to<br />

its ultimate demise in 2009. One enduring<br />

legacy of the Sternwheel Regatta is the fifteenmile<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Distance Run, which has been<br />

staged each Labor Day weekend since 1973.<br />

Amidst the youthful drug culture that<br />

flourished in the 1970s, <strong>Charleston</strong> gained<br />

legendary status after the infamous “pot<br />

plane crash” that took place on June 6, 1979.<br />

An old Douglas DC-6BF cargo plane carrying<br />

an estimated twelve tons of marijuana overran<br />

the runway at Kanawha (Yeager) Airport<br />

in the middle of the night and plummeted<br />

over the hillside, spilling hundreds of fiftypound<br />

bales of pot down the steep slope<br />

along Keystone Drive near Elk Two-Mile.<br />

When word about the mishap got out,<br />

pleasure seekers descended on the site in<br />

hopes of sampling the evidence—folks of a<br />

certain age still recall the memorable summer<br />

of 1979!<br />

✧<br />

<strong>The</strong>se contrasting images from 1890 and<br />

2012 depict <strong>Charleston</strong>’s evolution from a<br />

quiet river town to a vibrant capital city:<br />

Above: <strong>Charleston</strong>, 1890.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA<br />

UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES.<br />

Below: <strong>Charleston</strong> now.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JERRY WATERS,<br />

HTTP://WWW.MYWVHOME.COM/PHOTOS/GALLERY004/IMG<br />

PAGES/IMAGE007.HTML<br />

C H A P T E R 6<br />

9 3


Law enforcement officials struggled for<br />

days to dispose of the huge amounts of pot.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y doused the bales with fuel oil trying<br />

to burn them, and sprayed the hillside with<br />

herbicide. National Guardsmen patrolled the<br />

site, and for days the aroma of pot smoke<br />

hung thick in the humid air. <strong>The</strong>n came the<br />

trials, as long-time <strong>Charleston</strong> Gazette editor,<br />

James Haught, recounts:<br />

Inside the plane were three young men in<br />

their 20s: <strong>The</strong> pilot, David Seesing, a former<br />

Eagle Scout, was a Texas aircraft salesman<br />

who lived with the daughter of President<br />

Nixon’s ambassador to Australia. <strong>The</strong> copilot,<br />

Dana Anderson, had previously served<br />

drug terms in Morocco and Colombia, and<br />

had vanished from New York after his name<br />

surfaced in the murder of a top model’s<br />

lover. Waiting on the ground in yellow<br />

Ryder rental trucks, ready to unload the<br />

cargo, were five others, including Leon<br />

Jacques Gast and Shahbaz “Shane” Zarintash.<br />

Gast was a movie producer who called his<br />

company Gassed Films. Zarintash was an<br />

Iranian immigrant who had attended West<br />

Virginia Tech and worked as an engineer<br />

for the state Division of Highways. Also nearby,<br />

in an unmarked police car, was Kanawha<br />

County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Chadwick.<br />

His father, Sgt. Jim Chadwick, was at the<br />

county police headquarters.... Trials finally<br />

began the following winter. Four suspects<br />

pleaded guilty, including director Gast. He<br />

said he and Zarintash were trying to make a<br />

documentary movie about a boxing match by<br />

Muhammad Ali in Africa.... When the verdicts<br />

finally came down, four more smugglers were<br />

convicted, and all got five-year sentences.<br />

Sgt. Chadwick was found innocent, and his<br />

son’s trial ended with a hung jury.<br />

In a bizarre twist of fate, the would-be<br />

getaway truck driver-turned-movie director,<br />

Leon Gast, finally finished his film about<br />

Muhammad Ali, a chronicle of the legendary<br />

boxer’s 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” versus<br />

George Foreman titled When We Were Kings—<br />

which won the 1996 Academy Award for best<br />

documentary! Shane Zarintash is credited as<br />

being “location sound recordist” on the film.<br />

In <strong>Charleston</strong> and elsewhere, the freewheeling<br />

culture of the 1970s gave way to a<br />

more conservative era which signaled a day<br />

of reckoning for some area lawbreakers.<br />

Among those brought down was <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

mayor, Mike Roark, who resigned his post<br />

after pleading guilty to cocaine possession in<br />

1987. Roark was a former Kanawha County<br />

prosecutor and one-time assistant U.S. attorney<br />

in Pittsburgh who gained the nickname<br />

“Mad Dog” for his dogged pursuit of drug<br />

dealers. By the time he was elected mayor in<br />

1983, rumors spread of his own drug use.<br />

Despite the allegations, Roark won a second<br />

term but resigned shortly after reelection<br />

in 1987. City council then selected Chuck<br />

Gardner to fill the unexpired mayoral term.<br />

Following Mike Roark’s release from prison,<br />

he left the area and became an advocate for<br />

prison reform before his death in 1999.<br />

Although Kanawha County leans heavily<br />

Democrat in state elections, <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

has shown far more balance in local politics.<br />

<strong>The</strong> current city council prides itself in its<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

94


ipartisan politics, and places strong emphasis<br />

on public art and planning efforts which<br />

are highly visible throughout the city.<br />

Mayoral elections between 1983 and 2011<br />

were won by Republicans Mike Roark (1983,<br />

1987), Kent Hall (1991), Democrats Kemp<br />

Melton (1995) and Jay Goldman (1999), and<br />

Republican Danny Jones (2003, 2007, 2011).<br />

In 2007 <strong>Charleston</strong> was selected to participate<br />

in the Home Rule Pilot Program authorized<br />

by the West Virginia Legislature to grant<br />

broad-based home rule authority to participating<br />

municipalities (Bridgeport, <strong>Charleston</strong>,<br />

Huntington, and Wheeling) by allowing them<br />

to implement ordinances, acts, resolutions,<br />

rules and regulations that have successfully<br />

increased revenue, streamlined administrative<br />

matters, strengthened city fee collections<br />

practices, simplified business licenses, and<br />

more. As a result, city leaders have taken<br />

significant steps to address unfunded pension<br />

liabilities and healthcare costs.<br />

After peaking at 85,796 in the 1960s,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s population steadily decreased to<br />

51,400 by 2012. Presented with the prospect<br />

of aging baby boomers and only a slight<br />

increase in young adult age groups, a number<br />

of recent projects have helped reshape<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> into a smaller, yet vibrant, cultural,<br />

recreational, and commercial capital.<br />

Visible changes include dramatic lighting of<br />

downtown bridges, a public mural project<br />

utilizing interstate piers, an outdoor dining<br />

ordinance, dog parks, creation of a Land<br />

Trust Commission, a riverbank stabilization<br />

project with the U.S. Army Corps of<br />

Engineers, new hospital facilities, the Robert<br />

C. Byrd Federal Building, and two West Side<br />

elementary schools.<br />

Following the demise of the Sternwheel<br />

Regatta, the city launched FestivAll, which is<br />

held annually in June, as well as free concerts<br />

and other special events that draw large<br />

crowds to renovated Haddad Riverfront Park.<br />

In 2012, <strong>Charleston</strong> created a progressive<br />

tax incremental financing (TIF) district and<br />

later passed a half-cent sales tax to fund a<br />

$50 million addition and renovation to the<br />

✧<br />

Above: Haddad Riverfront Park hosts<br />

weekly Live on the Levee free concerts<br />

during the summer months.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

CITY OF CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA.<br />

Below: A public mural project utilizing<br />

interstate piers.<br />

C H A P T E R 6<br />

9 5


✧<br />

Above and below: Appalachian Power Park<br />

is the current home field for the West<br />

Virginia Power professional baseball team.<br />

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE<br />

CITY OF CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Civic Center. At about the same<br />

time, some $50 million in private investments<br />

have resulted in significant renovations to the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> House Hotel, <strong>Charleston</strong> Town<br />

Center Mall, and several historic downtown<br />

properties. <strong>Charleston</strong> Renaissance Corporation,<br />

responsible for the transformation of Capitol<br />

Street in the 1980s, is now part of a larger<br />

organization known as <strong>Charleston</strong> Area<br />

Alliance that includes the former BIDCO and<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Area Chamber of Commerce.<br />

Increased attention has been directed to the<br />

Washington Street corridor renewal through<br />

the East End Main Street and West Side Main<br />

Street programs.<br />

Ever since the city’s first minor league<br />

game was played in 1910, area baseball fans<br />

have cheered the variously named Statesmen,<br />

Senators, Indians, Charlies, Alley Cats and<br />

Wheelers. In 2005, the West Virginia Power<br />

made its debut in a new East End ballpark,<br />

Appalachian Power Park, which preserved<br />

professional baseball in the city. <strong>The</strong> facility,<br />

which replaced the aging Watt Powell Park,<br />

incorporates the century-old Lewis, Hubbard<br />

and Company warehouse into its design.<br />

Attendance at the venue set a record of<br />

233,143 in 2005, eclipsing the old Watt<br />

Powell Park standard by about 48,000.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

96


✧<br />

Above: <strong>The</strong> Clay Center for<br />

the Arts and Sciences.<br />

C H A P T E R 6<br />

9 7


✧<br />

Completed in 1922, <strong>Charleston</strong> City Hall<br />

was designed by prominent local architect<br />

Rus Warne. It is an important architectural<br />

landmark that features heavy classical<br />

treatments, refined detail, and<br />

marked symmetry.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

CITY OF CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA.<br />

Public housing is also being transformed<br />

through de-densification and replacement<br />

housing. To achieve its goal, city leaders<br />

worked with a developer from Chicago, a<br />

metropolis which is at the forefront of a<br />

national trend to more pedestrian friendly<br />

transit-oriented townhouses, duplexes and<br />

private public housing. As a result, the<br />

former Spring Hill Apartments (Renaissance<br />

Circle) has been transformed into Vista View<br />

Apartments with new, cleaner, and more<br />

secure units. Likewise, Washington Manor,<br />

Littlepage Terrace, and Orchard Manor have<br />

seen similar transformations.<br />

Like cities nationwide, <strong>Charleston</strong> is paying<br />

increased attention to alternative modes<br />

of transportation and the quality of life benefits<br />

that come by emphasizing the needs of<br />

bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Since 2005, a<br />

contentious debate has simmered between<br />

the auto-centric world and those who<br />

endorse an alternative trend to emphasize<br />

complete streets with pedestrian and bicycle<br />

friendly amenities. A major disagreement is<br />

centered on the debate over recommendations<br />

to reduce the four-lane Kanawha<br />

Boulevard that parallels Kanawha River.<br />

Many would like to see it become more<br />

connected and accessible to pedestrians<br />

through traffic calming and other reducing<br />

measures. Supporters of an updated vision<br />

argue that construction of the interstate<br />

system through <strong>Charleston</strong> in the 1970s<br />

made the high capacity thoroughfare no<br />

longer relevant for its original purpose, a<br />

claim that is supported by recent daily traffic<br />

counts on two-lane Washington Street West<br />

that were three times higher than Kanawha<br />

Boulevard. Conversely, some opponents point<br />

to the convenience of zipping from one end<br />

of town to the other with few traffic signals,<br />

and others seek to preserve the boulevard’s<br />

historic significance. One compromise plan<br />

calls for two four-foot bicycle lanes to be<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

98


constructed next to the existing pedestrian<br />

walkway from Patrick Street Plaza to Magic<br />

Island, while maintaining four vehicular<br />

lanes by reducing their significant width and<br />

eliminating the medians.<br />

Today, <strong>Charleston</strong> is a moderate-sized capital<br />

city with a small town ambience. Trade, utilities,<br />

government, medicine, and education<br />

play a central role in the economy. Downtown<br />

has been revitalized into a destination where<br />

traffic jams are a thing of the past, tree-lined<br />

streets shade historic buildings, and residents<br />

are known for their warmth and hospitality.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>ians value the past and proudly celebrate<br />

the rich heritage of our historic capital<br />

city, which has weathered great change over the<br />

past <strong>225</strong> years and remains a vibrant place to<br />

live, work and visit in the twenty-first century.<br />

✧<br />

North (rear) elevation of the<br />

West Virginia State Capitol, which was<br />

completed in 1932. <strong>The</strong> towering 293-foot<br />

dome pictured here is five feet higher than<br />

the dome of the U.S. Capitol.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE CHARLESTON,<br />

WEST VIRGINIA, CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU.<br />

C H A P T E R 6<br />

9 9


✧<br />

Dramatic night-time lighting<br />

of downtown bridges.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

CITY OF CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

100


C H A P T E R 6<br />

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BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />

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Present Time. <strong>Charleston</strong>: West Virginia Journal, 1876. Reprint Elkview: West<br />

Virginia Genealogical Society, 1994.<br />

Bumgardner, Stan. <strong>Charleston</strong>, West Virginia: Postcard History Series. <strong>Charleston</strong>, South<br />

Carolina: Arcadia Publishing Company, 2006.<br />

Chambers, S. Allen, Jr. Buildings of West Virginia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Chamber of Commerce. <strong>Charleston</strong> 1907: A Souvenir of the City of <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

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Cohen, Stan and Richard Andre, Research Associate. Kanawha County Images: A Bicentennial<br />

History, 1788-1988. <strong>Charleston</strong>: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1987.<br />

Cohen, Stan, Richard Andre and William D. Wintz. Bullets and Steel: <strong>The</strong> Civil War in<br />

the Kanawha Valley. <strong>Charleston</strong>: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1995.<br />

Cook, Roy Bird. <strong>The</strong> Annals of Fort Lee. <strong>Charleston</strong>: West Virginia Review Press, 1935.<br />

Cox, Jacob D. Military Reminiscences of the Civil War, 1900. http://www.gutenberg.org/<br />

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Dayton, Ruth Woods. Pioneers and <strong>The</strong>ir Homes on Upper Kanawha. <strong>Charleston</strong>: West<br />

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DeGruyter, Julius. <strong>The</strong> Kanawha Spectator. Volume I, <strong>Charleston</strong>: Jarrett Printing<br />

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DeGruyter, Julius. <strong>The</strong> Kanawha Spectator. Part II, Parsons: McClain Printing Company,<br />

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Eichleay Corporation. “How Did <strong>The</strong>y Do It? Twelve Homes Float Across the Kanawha<br />

River.” http://www.eichleay.com/history/charleston2.htm<br />

FMC Chemicals Division. <strong>The</strong> Salt Industry in the Kanawha Valley. n.d.<br />

Gibbons, J. A. <strong>The</strong> Kanawha Valley: Its Resources and Developments. <strong>Charleston</strong>: Gibbons,<br />

Atkinson & Co., 1872. Reprint Augusta Press, n.d.<br />

Hale, John P. History of the Great Kanawha Valley. 2 Volumes, Madison: Wisconsin:<br />

Brant, Fuller & Co., 1891. Reprint Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 2000.<br />

Harris, V. B. Great Kanawha: An <strong>Historic</strong>al Outline. <strong>Charleston</strong>: Jarrett Printing Company,<br />

1976.<br />

Hale, John P. Trans-Allegheny Pioneers: <strong>Historic</strong>al Sketches of the <strong>First</strong> White Settlements<br />

West of the Alleghenies. Third edition, Radford, Virginia: Sheridan Books, Inc., 1971.<br />

History of the Presbytery of Kanawha, 1895-1956. <strong>Charleston</strong>: Jarrett Printing Co., 1956.<br />

Howe, Henry. <strong>Historic</strong>al Collections of Virginia: Containing a Collection of the Most<br />

Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes. Babcock & Co., 1845.<br />

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=noHiPFl32X4C<br />

Kay, Trey, Deborah George and Stan Bumgardner. Books and Belief: <strong>The</strong> Kanawha County<br />

Textbook Wars. American RadioWorks, American Public Media. http://american<br />

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King, Edward. <strong>The</strong> Great South; A Record of Journeys in Louisiana, Texas, the Indian<br />

Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina,<br />

North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. Hartford,<br />

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Laidley, William S. History of <strong>Charleston</strong> and Kanawha County, West Virginia, and<br />

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Memory Collection. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/snhome.html<br />

Lowry, Terry, <strong>The</strong> Battle of Scary Creek: Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-<br />

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MacCorkle, William A. <strong>The</strong> Recollections of Fifty <strong>Years</strong>. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1928.<br />

Morgan, John G. <strong>Charleston</strong> 175. <strong>Charleston</strong>: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Charleston</strong> Gazette, 1970.<br />

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Reniers, Perceval and Ashton Woodman Reniers. <strong>The</strong> Midland Trail Tour in West Virginia.<br />

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Rice, Otis K. <strong>Charleston</strong> and the Kanawha Valley: An Illustrated History. Woodland Hills,<br />

California: Windsor Publications, 1981.<br />

Rice, Otis K. and Stephen W. Brown. West Virginia: A History. Lexington: University Press<br />

of Kentucky, 1993.<br />

Stealey, John E. III. <strong>The</strong> Antebellum Kanawha Salt Business and Western Markets. Lexington:<br />

University Press of Kentucky, 1993.<br />

Stutler, Boyd B., West Virginia in the Civil War. <strong>Charleston</strong>: Education Foundation, Inc., 1963.<br />

West Virginia Humanities Council. <strong>The</strong> West Virginia Encyclopedia (e-wv). www.wvenc<br />

clopedia.org<br />

Sutphin, Gerald W. and Richard Andre. Sternwheelers on the Great Kanawha River.<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1991.<br />

Summers, George W. Pages from the Past: Recollections, Traditions and Old Timers’ Tales<br />

of Long Ago. <strong>Charleston</strong>: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Charleston</strong> Journal, 1935.<br />

Sunday Gazette-Mail (<strong>Charleston</strong>, West Virginia).<br />

West Virginia State Road Commission. Road Map of West Virginia. 1936.<br />

Wintz, William D. Annals of the Great Kanawha. <strong>Charleston</strong>: Pictorial Pictures Publishing<br />

Company, 1993.<br />

West Virginia Writers’ Project. West Virginia, A Guide to the Mountain State. New York:<br />

Oxford University Press, 1941.<br />

Williams, Samuel. “Leaves from a Portfolio,” <strong>The</strong> Ladies Repository (1851-54).<br />

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ang.af.mil/history/<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

102


SHARING THE HERITAGE<br />

H i s t o r i c p r o f i l e s o f b u s i n e s s e s , o r g a n i z a t i o n s ,<br />

a n d f a m i l i e s t h a t h a v e c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e<br />

d e v e l o p m e n t a n d e c o n o m i c b a s e o f C h a r l e s t o n<br />

Kanawha Stone Company, Inc.<br />

Terradon Corporation<br />

Terradon Communications Group, LLC .....................................1 0 4<br />

West Virginia State University ......................................................1 0 8<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Area Alliance..............................................................1 1 1<br />

William L. Harris, M.D., PLLC .....................................................1 1 2<br />

Karen H. Miller, Attorneys at Law .................................................1 1 5<br />

<strong>The</strong> Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation ........................................1 1 6<br />

Trivillian’s Pharmacy and Old Fashioned Soda Fountain ....................1 1 8<br />

Andrews Floor & Wall Covering Company .......................................1 2 0<br />

Appalachian Tire Products, Inc. ....................................................1 2 2<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Gazette......................................................................1 2 4<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Daily Mail .................................................................1 2 5<br />

MRC ®<br />

McJunkin Red Man Corporation .................................................1 2 6<br />

F. M. Pile Hardware Co., Inc. .......................................................1 2 8<br />

Agsten Construction Co., Inc. .......................................................1 3 0<br />

United Bankshares, Inc. ...............................................................1 3 2<br />

Saint Francis Hospital. ................................................................1 3 4<br />

Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC ...................................................1 3 6<br />

Holiday Inn & Suites <strong>Charleston</strong> West ............................................1 3 8<br />

Harris Brothers ..........................................................................1 4 0<br />

Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP .........................................................1 4 1<br />

Buzz Products, Inc. .....................................................................1 4 2<br />

Mardi Gras Casino & Resort .........................................................1 4 3<br />

Holroyd & Yost ...........................................................................1 4 4<br />

ZMM Architects & Engineers ........................................................1 4 5<br />

Columbia Gas/NiSource ...............................................................1 4 6<br />

E. L. Harris & Son, Inc. ..............................................................1 4 7<br />

Ernst & Young, LLP.....................................................................1 4 8<br />

BB&T Corporation ......................................................................1 4 9<br />

Embassy Suites ...........................................................................1 5 0<br />

SPECIAL<br />

THANKS TO<br />

Cyclops Industries, Inc.<br />

City of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 0 3


KANAWHA STONE<br />

COMPANY, INC.<br />

✧<br />

Above: A reclamation project in Belle,<br />

West Virginia.<br />

Bottom, left: Art and Virginia King on their<br />

wedding day.<br />

Bottom, right: Art and Virginia King during<br />

the early days of the company.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

104<br />

Kanawha Stone Company,<br />

Inc., first began in March 1973<br />

when cofounder, Art King and<br />

his partner, Phil Currence,<br />

began excavating and crushing<br />

calcium sulfate (a type of gypsum)<br />

for use as road base. <strong>The</strong><br />

calcium sulfate was a byproduct<br />

of the chemical process used<br />

to produce hydrochloric acid,<br />

and was extracted from ponds<br />

created by Allied Chemical.<br />

Kanawha Stone’s operations<br />

and sales office was located<br />

at their plant in Nitro, West<br />

Virginia. Thus, the name “Kanawha Stone”<br />

came from its beginnings as a stone quarry.<br />

“In the early years there were seven<br />

employees in addition to Art and Phil and<br />

they all wore different hats,” recalls Virginia<br />

King, Art’s wife, who has been with the<br />

company from the early days. “On any given<br />

day, Art might be overseeing the office<br />

and quarry, crushing stone and loading<br />

customer’s trucks.” This multitasking ability<br />

continues to be a prominent feature of<br />

the company’s employees today. <strong>The</strong> first<br />

employee hired was Warren M. Skaggs, who<br />

is still with the company forty years later.<br />

When it became evident that excavating<br />

rock from the ponds and crushing it would<br />

not provide an adequate supply of stone to<br />

meet future demands, the company developed<br />

an innovative technique for its excavation<br />

methods—scientific blasting. Few companies<br />

used controlled blasting in those days, but<br />

Kanawha Stone was surrounded by three<br />

chemical plants and uncontrolled blasting was<br />

not an option.<br />

Throughout the 1970s, Kanawha Stone’s<br />

facilities consisted of the ponds, a crusher, a<br />

couple of loaders, an air track drill, and the<br />

scale house, which was a converted one-room<br />

mobile home that served as the office as well.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company began to abandon used equipment<br />

and purchase new and more sophisticated<br />

machines around 1975. One such piece of<br />

equipment was a set of computerized scales,<br />

which were state-of-the-art at the time. This<br />

encouraged the company to use current technologies<br />

to gain a competitive advantage.<br />

Kanawha Stone survived a dispute between<br />

its two owners in 1978 when Phil decided to<br />

move on to other ventures. After months of<br />

negotiation, Phil filed a minority stockholder<br />

suit against the company. In 1980, on March<br />

13, only one day before the company was to<br />

be put up for sale on the courthouse steps—<br />

Art bought Phil out at the price that had been<br />

offered eighteen months earlier.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company also faced other challenges at<br />

the time. Despite efforts to maintain the quarry,<br />

sales were declining at an alarming rate<br />

because the initial stock of one million cubic<br />

yards of calcium sulfate that came with the<br />

quarry was dwindling. Kanawha Stone could<br />

sell only that which it excavated itself. It<br />

became evident that the company needed to<br />

move in a new direction if it were to survive.<br />

Art saw construction as the new horizon.


In an effort to seek out new opportunities<br />

for the company, the Kings attended a meeting<br />

of the Contractors Association in Florida<br />

at the beginning of 1981. It was during this<br />

meeting that the company had its first opportunity<br />

to break into the construction market.<br />

During their absence, the office received only<br />

one phone call. However, that one call was<br />

the Department of the Interior’s Office of<br />

Surface Mining (OSM) contacting Kanawha<br />

Stone about a controlled blasting project.<br />

Reclamation of abandoned mines was a new<br />

field in 1981. A media spotlight on the subject<br />

soon created demands for cleaning up<br />

dangers left behind when mines closed. One<br />

such danger was at Tank Rock in Mingo<br />

County, West Virginia, where rocks left from<br />

mining threatened to topple and fall onto the<br />

neighborhood below.<br />

<strong>The</strong> project called for scientific blasting<br />

and Kanawha Stone was awarded the job. <strong>The</strong><br />

Tank Rock Project paved the way for many<br />

OSM jobs over the next few years. At the same<br />

time, the company obtained blasting, utility<br />

and tunneling jobs in conjunction with W. L.<br />

Thaxton Construction and affiliated company,<br />

A. L. King, Ltd. It was during this era that the<br />

company hired Delbert, Richard and Dwight<br />

Sayre as its first construction crew.<br />

At the suggestion of its bonding company,<br />

Kanawha Stone computerized its office in<br />

1983. <strong>The</strong> computers of that era were slow and<br />

difficult to operate by today’s standards, but the<br />

technology allowed the company to become<br />

much more efficient. With experienced<br />

personnel and technology, Kanawha<br />

Stone began to form departments with<br />

specific areas of expertise. In 1984,<br />

Virginia was in charge of accounting,<br />

and Art controlled equipment and<br />

operations. Danny R. Pritt, was hired<br />

that year as the company’s first professional<br />

project manager and estimator.<br />

As reclamation work began to<br />

decline, Kanawha Stone once again<br />

looked for new markets. Pritt introduced<br />

the company to construction<br />

opportunities by bidding on and<br />

receiving the company’s first highway<br />

construction job, the Capon Bridge at<br />

the mouth of the eastern panhandle.<br />

Disastrous floods hit West Virginia in<br />

November 1985 creating the state’s biggest<br />

cataclysm since the Civil War. With most of<br />

Pendleton County’s roads washed out by the<br />

floods, state officials abandoned the normal<br />

bid process and doled out clean-up jobs to all<br />

the contractors with equipment in the area.<br />

Kanawha Stone was given the job of rebuilding<br />

Route 33 and 220. George Phipps was<br />

hired on as superintendent and he recruited<br />

many experienced construction people like<br />

Ike Lewis to run work and Jed Rollins, Sr.,<br />

to do the blasting. <strong>The</strong> project enabled the<br />

company to triple its size in three weeks<br />

and elevated the company to one of the major<br />

highway construction firms in the area.<br />

In January 1986 the company moved from<br />

its office trailer on Allied Chemical’s property<br />

to their new office building at #4 Plant Road<br />

in Nitro, West Virginia.<br />

✧<br />

Above: Drilling rigs preparing a site for<br />

blasting operations.<br />

Below: Excavation for <strong>The</strong> Shops at Trace<br />

Fork in South <strong>Charleston</strong>, West Virginia.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 0 5


TERRADON<br />

CORPORATION<br />

✧<br />

Above: Excavation for the Nitro<br />

Marketplace Shopping Center in Kanawha<br />

County, West Virginia.<br />

Below: Nightshift mechanics working at<br />

<strong>The</strong> Summit Bechtel Family Scout Reserve<br />

project in Fayette County, West Virginia.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY HARTLEY.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

106<br />

Kanawha Stone’s reputation for changing<br />

and adapting to the times was further<br />

enhanced in 1989 with the formation of<br />

Terradon Corporation. <strong>The</strong> Kings joined<br />

forces with Ron Potesta, former DNR Director<br />

for the State of West Virginia, an expert in<br />

environmental regulation and compliance.<br />

Initially, the idea was that Terradon would do<br />

work for Kanawha Stone and help generate<br />

environmental related construction work. But<br />

as the market for environmental consulting<br />

work expanded, it became evident that<br />

Terradon should grow in that direction.<br />

Potesta exited the business abruptly in 1997<br />

to start his own firm. Today, Terradon has<br />

incorporated engineering, landscape design,<br />

and surveying departments, in addition to<br />

performing environmental compliance work.<br />

This era also saw Kanawha Stone enter<br />

two additional markets; barge unloading and<br />

trucking. <strong>The</strong> company unloaded barges at<br />

Allied Chemical’s dock and trucked the material<br />

to its final destinations in West Virginia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> operation began in 1987 and expanded<br />

in 1988. During this era, the company began<br />

to focus on equipment management, adding<br />

Floyd “Pee Wee” Campbell and Steve Dolin<br />

to the employee roster.<br />

When Allied Chemical<br />

abandoned West Virginia<br />

in 1989, Kanawha Stone<br />

moved its operations to<br />

its current location at<br />

Rock Branch Industrial<br />

Park in Poca, West<br />

Virginia. <strong>The</strong> new facility<br />

provided a larger shop,<br />

larger offices, larger yard<br />

and river access with its<br />

own unloading dock.<br />

<strong>The</strong> early 1990s saw the addition of<br />

William H. Hilborn, Jr., as chief estimator<br />

and project manager. He pushed for<br />

computerized estimating for project bidding<br />

and a more structured safety program. It<br />

was during this period that Kanawha Stone<br />

began work on the Corridor G development<br />

area. <strong>The</strong> company went on to perform<br />

virtually all the site development work<br />

including the South Central Regional<br />

Jail, Postal Service Distribution Center and<br />

the entire Corridor G shopping mall<br />

areas—Southridge Center, Dudley Farms and<br />

Trace Fork.<br />

Increased competition that had an emphasis<br />

on gross sales over maximized profit<br />

margins resulted in lean years for Kanawha<br />

Stone from 1993 to 1995, but business<br />

began to turn around after 1996. During this<br />

period, Kanawha Stone’s operations grew<br />

into larger mass excavation projects. In 1998,<br />

David W. Lawman joined the company as<br />

Vice President of Estimating and he and his<br />

estimating group began pursuing larger site<br />

preparation, highway and landfill projects.<br />

In the early 2000s, Rockard H. Brogan, Jr.,<br />

headed up operations. Kanawha Stone surged<br />

forward with large excavation projects.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company saw revenues grow while<br />

working on West Virginia Department of<br />

Transportation projects, site development<br />

for private commercial industry, coal and<br />

landfill work. Among the firm’s high profile<br />

jobs were Corridor H and Route 35 for the<br />

West Virginia Department of Transportation.<br />

Impressive site preparation continued to be<br />

a key part of the company business, with<br />

completion of projects at University Towne<br />

Center Mall and surrounding areas in<br />

Morgantown, West Virginia.


During this period, Kings’ son, Tom<br />

Kittredge, was working on computer website<br />

design in Denver, Colorado, where he had<br />

graduated from the University of Denver. He<br />

was recruited to join Kanawha Stone but his<br />

dream was to start up a web company. <strong>The</strong><br />

Kings purchased a small company and created<br />

a division that developed websites and other<br />

computer-based projects. This firm was split<br />

off from Terradon Corporation in 2001 and<br />

became Terradon Communications Group,<br />

LLC (TCG). TCG operates as an affiliate, does<br />

website and content management design for<br />

such firms as Whirlpool and other Fortune 500<br />

companies as well as smaller, regional clients.<br />

In 2005, with market indications showing<br />

strong signs of an impending slowdown, the<br />

company formed an executive management team<br />

(EMT). Through strategic planning sessions, the<br />

EMT began implementing a plan to diversify the<br />

company’s services to offset the dwindling workload<br />

in the large excavation market. Kanawha<br />

Stone identified energy, utilities, and civil construction<br />

as potential markets. This strategy situated<br />

the company well to perform the work on<br />

the Boy Scouts of America camp, the Summit<br />

Bechtel Family Scout Reserve in Fayette County,<br />

West Virginia, a legacy project for the company.<br />

Throughout its history—and in all its division—Kanawha<br />

Stone has always maintained<br />

a strong emphasis on safety. As Virginia puts<br />

it, “Safety is our culture, not a regulation.”<br />

Kanawha Stone will never compromise when<br />

it comes to an employee’s safety and health.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company views safety not as an unachievable<br />

philosophy, but as a practical and manageable<br />

process. <strong>The</strong> strong safety culture at<br />

Kanawha Stone has resulted in an excellent<br />

safety record for four decades.<br />

“Our philosophy is based on respect,”<br />

explains Virginia. “We respect our employees,<br />

customers, subcontractors, and vendors.<br />

We are very dedicated to paying our vendors<br />

on time and not shopping our sub’s quoted<br />

prices. We try to be very respectful to local<br />

communities where we go and do work,<br />

and we always tell our employees to treat<br />

people fairly.”<br />

Kanawha Stone believes in giving back to<br />

the community and its first priority is programs<br />

that assist the children of employees,<br />

such as baseball leagues and school activities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Kings are very involved with a number of<br />

community boards and organizations, which<br />

includes Art’s service as president of the<br />

Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts and<br />

Virginia’s service on Marshall University’s Board<br />

of Governors for ten years. She currently serves<br />

on <strong>Charleston</strong>’s Clay Center Board of Directors<br />

and Art remains active with the Contractors<br />

Association of West Virginia (CAWV).<br />

<strong>The</strong> plan for the company’s future is to<br />

continue to be the “Company of Choice” for<br />

its customers and employees and to seek<br />

opportunities as a family-owned and operated<br />

enterprise. <strong>The</strong> company has a strong<br />

group of officers in Dave Lawman, Frank E.<br />

“Dusty” Williams and Howard T. Winters. A<br />

successful succession to the second generation<br />

is expected with their leadership and<br />

mentorship of Art and Virginia’s son, Tom,<br />

and two daughters, Ashley and Amelia, who<br />

plan to operate as a sibling team. <strong>The</strong> year<br />

2013 is Kanawha Stone’s fortieth anniversary.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s vision is now focused on the<br />

next forty years.<br />

For more information, check the company<br />

website at www.kanawhastone.com.<br />

TERRADON<br />

COMMUNICATIONS<br />

GROUP, LLC<br />

✧<br />

Bottom, left: A protective cover being placed<br />

at the <strong>Charleston</strong> landfill.<br />

Bottom, right: Erection of a bridge abutment<br />

frame before a concrete pour at <strong>The</strong> Bechtel<br />

Summit Reserve in Fayette County,<br />

West Virginia.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY HARTLEY.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 0 7


WEST VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY<br />

Founded in 1891 to provide<br />

agricultural and mechanical<br />

arts education for black citizens,<br />

West Virginia State University<br />

has evolved into a fully<br />

accessible, racially integrated<br />

and vibrant, multi-generational<br />

community in which those who<br />

work, teach, live and learn do<br />

so in an environment that<br />

reflects the diversity of America.<br />

West Virginia State University, located in<br />

Institute, offers its more than 3,200 students<br />

distinguished baccalaureate programs in<br />

business, liberal and creative arts, professional<br />

studies, sciences and social sciences. <strong>The</strong><br />

university offers Master’s Degree programs<br />

in media studies, biotechnology and law<br />

enforcement administration.<br />

<strong>The</strong> school has been described as, “A living<br />

laboratory of human relations,” a community<br />

of students, staff and faculty committed to academic<br />

growth, service, and preservation of the<br />

racial and cultural diversity of the institution.<br />

WVSU has a rich and colorful history that<br />

began with passage of the Morrill Act of 1890,<br />

which provided for establishment of landgrant<br />

institutions for black students in the<br />

seventeen states that had segregated schools at<br />

the time. <strong>The</strong> noted African-American educator<br />

and statesman, Booker T. Washington, was<br />

instrumental in having the institution located<br />

in the Kanawha Valley. Dr. Washington visited<br />

the campus often and was the speaker at the<br />

school’s first commencement program.<br />

<strong>The</strong> site chosen for the institution was in a<br />

community known as Piney Grove. <strong>The</strong> name<br />

was later changed to Institute, in honor of the<br />

new school.<br />

<strong>The</strong> school site itself has a colorful history<br />

worthy of a Hollywood movie. Institute, now<br />

the largest predominantly black town in West<br />

Virginia, is situated on the Kanawha River,<br />

nine miles west of <strong>Charleston</strong> on land that was<br />

once a plantation owned by Samuel Cabell.<br />

Cabell, a wealthy early settler, established<br />

the rich plantation and chose one of his<br />

slaves, Mary Barnes, for his lifelong mate. He<br />

and Mary had thirteen children and the white<br />

plantation owner took elaborate legal steps<br />

to guarantee that his slave and their mulatto<br />

children would inherit all his money and land.<br />

<strong>The</strong> situation created a scandal during<br />

those Civil War days and Cabell was killed by<br />

a mob of angry neighbors in 1865. From all<br />

indications, Cabell was devoted to his slave,<br />

remained loyal to her throughout his life,<br />

accepted her children proudly and went to<br />

great lengths to guarantee they had full legal<br />

rights as his sons and daughters. He wrote<br />

four different wills to protect his darkskinned<br />

family, and also filed papers setting<br />

each member free from slavery.<br />

From 1891 through 1915, the school—then<br />

known as West Virginia Colored Institute—<br />

provided the equivalent of a high school education,<br />

along with vocational training and<br />

teacher preparation for the segregated public<br />

schools of that era.<br />

Many of the innovative education techniques<br />

pioneered by Booker T. Washington at<br />

Tuskegee Institute in Alabama were utilized at<br />

the new West Virginia school. Students built<br />

all the buildings, performed janitorial duties<br />

and studied everything from agriculture to<br />

sewing. Dr. Washington was also influential in<br />

the selection of the Institute’s first president,<br />

noted educator Byrd Prillerman. It was during<br />

Prillerman’s presidency that the name of<br />

the college was changed to West Virginia<br />

Collegiate Institute. In 1915 the Institute was<br />

given authority to grant college degrees.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

108


Under the leadership of President John W.<br />

Davis, the academic program was expanded<br />

and new buildings were constructed. In 1927<br />

the institution was accredited by the North<br />

Central Association.<br />

<strong>The</strong> name of the institution was changed<br />

again in 1927 when it became known as<br />

West Virginia State College. Dr. Washington<br />

had such an influence on the development of<br />

the school that a bill was introduced in the<br />

West Virginia legislature in 1933 to change<br />

the name of the school to Booker T. Washington<br />

State College. <strong>The</strong> bill was defeated, however,<br />

because pride in the college was so tremendous<br />

that alumni, faculty and students vigorously<br />

protested the name change.<br />

Over the next few decades, WVSC became<br />

recognized as one of the leading public institutions<br />

of higher education for African-Americans.<br />

In 1939, WVSC became the first of six<br />

historically black colleges to be authorized by<br />

the Civil Aeronautics Authority to establish an<br />

aviation program. <strong>The</strong> program dramatically<br />

increased the small number of black pilots<br />

available to the Army Air Corps in 1939 to<br />

the thousands who were trained and fought<br />

during World War II. Several graduates<br />

from the WVSC program joined the famed<br />

Tuskegee Airmen during the war.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 1954, U.S. Supreme Court decision<br />

outlawing school segregation had a profound<br />

effect on WVSC. <strong>The</strong> school changed from a<br />

black college to an integrated institution serving<br />

a predominantly white, commuting and<br />

older student population. This shift in student<br />

population was due in part to demographics,<br />

and in part because of efforts by the college<br />

administration to reverse a decline in student<br />

enrollment during the early 1950s.<br />

Enrollment quadrupled during the<br />

following decades. However, WVSC<br />

lost its land grant status, in part due<br />

to desegregation efforts. Although land<br />

grant university funding is governed<br />

by federal laws, the federal aid is<br />

conditioned on matching state funds.<br />

<strong>The</strong> West Virginia State Board of<br />

Education voted to end the matching<br />

funds in 1957.<br />

With the assistance of West Virginia’s<br />

U.S. Senator, Robert C. Byrd, the land<br />

grant status was restored in 2001.<br />

<strong>The</strong> school’s community college,<br />

established in 1953, was separately accredited<br />

in 2003 as the West Virginia State Community<br />

College, but remained administratively linked<br />

to West Virginia State College.<br />

WVSC gained university status in 2004,<br />

becoming West Virginia State University,<br />

and began offering graduate degrees in<br />

Biotechnology and Media Studies.<br />

In 2008 the state legislature fully separated<br />

the community and technical college from the<br />

university, although both schools continued<br />

to share the same campus. <strong>The</strong> name of the<br />

community college was changed in 2009 to<br />

Kanawha Valley Community and Technical<br />

College and, in the fall of 2012, KVCTC moved<br />

to a new location in the former Dow Chemical<br />

research facility in South <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 0 9


Brian O’Harold Hemphill became the tenth<br />

president of West Virginia State University<br />

in May 2012 following a nationwide search.<br />

Hemphill’s predecessor, Hazo W. Carter, Jr.,<br />

the first to lead the school under university<br />

status, was named President Emeritus.<br />

West Virginia State University offers<br />

encouragement and education through flexible<br />

course offerings in traditional classrooms,<br />

in non-traditional education settings, and<br />

through distance learning technologies. With<br />

the goal of improving the quality of its student’s<br />

lives, as well as the quality of life for<br />

West Virginia’s citizens, the University forges<br />

mutually beneficial relationships with other<br />

educational institutions, businesses, cultural<br />

organizations, governmental organizations,<br />

and agricultural and extension partners.<br />

In addition to its academic pursuits,<br />

WVSU fields successful athletic teams in<br />

men’s football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis<br />

and track & field; and women’s basketball,<br />

cheerleading, golf, softball, tennis, track &<br />

field and volleyball. <strong>The</strong> sports teams are<br />

known as the Yellow Jackets.<br />

<strong>The</strong> university is also well known for its<br />

music program, which includes the marching<br />

band, and wind and jazz ensembles. <strong>The</strong> band<br />

marches in ‘corps-style’ fashion, in contrast to<br />

the ‘show-style’ bands featured at other<br />

schools. Over the past few years, the Yellow<br />

Jackets March Band, known as the “Marching<br />

Swarm,” has broken enrollment records by<br />

more than 800 percent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs<br />

concerts at the end of the Fall Semester and<br />

two during the Spring Semester. <strong>The</strong>re are<br />

also concerts for student conductors in the<br />

conducting programs.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Jazz Ensemble is one of the most visible<br />

groups performing for various events<br />

both on and off-campus. In 2007 the Jazz<br />

Ensemble traveled to Austria for concerts in<br />

Vienna, Graz and Salzburg. In 1912 the Jazz<br />

Ensemble played two concerts for the 150th<br />

Emancipation Day Celebrations at the Lincoln<br />

<strong>The</strong>atre in Washington, D.C.<br />

Notable graduates of West Virginia State<br />

University include Katherine Johnson, who<br />

has made significant contributions to America’s<br />

aeronautics and space exploration; jazz<br />

saxophonist Chu Berry; movie writer and<br />

director Antoine Fuqua; Earl Lloyd, the first<br />

African-American to play in the National<br />

Basketball Association; actor and theatrical<br />

director Lou Myers; Will Robinson, the<br />

first African-American Division I basketball<br />

coach; civil rights leader Leon Sullivan; jazz<br />

drummer Butch Miles; and Harriet Elizabeth<br />

Byrd, first African-American to serve in the<br />

Wyoming Legislature.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

110


Jobs. Community. People. <strong>The</strong>se are the<br />

building blocks of a brighter future, and<br />

these are what drive the <strong>Charleston</strong> Area<br />

Alliance, a multifaceted economic, business<br />

and community development organization as<br />

well as the largest regional Chamber of<br />

Commerce in West Virginia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alliance builds on the legacy of three<br />

organizations that came together in 2004 to<br />

promote economic opportunity and community<br />

enhancement in our region: Business &<br />

Industrial Development Corporation (BIDCO),<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Renaissance and the <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Regional Chamber of Commerce.<br />

Now with more than 600 members representing<br />

40,000 employees, the Alliance provides<br />

a wide range of innovative programs,<br />

services and policy leadership to help people,<br />

businesses and community succeed. Our<br />

efforts are guided by Vision 2030, a twenty<br />

year roadmap to a stronger and more vibrant<br />

future that was developed with the input of<br />

more than 400 diverse community members.<br />

As the largest regional economic development<br />

organization in the state, the Alliance<br />

works to attract new jobs to our region and<br />

help existing businesses grow and prosper.<br />

Whether it is helping West Virginia companies<br />

identify export opportunities or guiding<br />

a start-up through licensing issues, the<br />

Alliance is a trusted partner for businesses of<br />

every age and size.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alliance offices are located in the<br />

former <strong>Charleston</strong> Hardware building. <strong>The</strong><br />

four story warehouse now functions as a<br />

small business incubator, providing affordable<br />

rent, and access to the West Virginia<br />

Small Business Development Center, local<br />

offices of the U.S. Export Agency and other<br />

key government resources that are also<br />

located in the building.<br />

Recent renovations to the building include<br />

office expansions, conference room upgrades,<br />

energy-efficient improvements and other<br />

amenities to create a fresh and professional<br />

environment that promotes innovation and<br />

collaboration for businesses on the way up.<br />

Since the incubator opened its doors in<br />

September 1986, more than 130 companies<br />

have come through the incubator creating<br />

approximately 339 jobs.<br />

Creating a community that we can be<br />

proud to call home is central to our mission.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alliance is a catalyst that brings government,<br />

business, community and citizens<br />

together to advance major initiatives that make<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> a great place to live, work and<br />

play. Building on the legacy of our<br />

predecessor organization, <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Renaissance, which spearheaded<br />

projects including the Capitol Market<br />

and Capitol Street renovations,<br />

the Alliance championed the Mary<br />

Price Ratrie Greenspace and is a<br />

leading partner with the City of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> on “Imagine <strong>Charleston</strong>,”<br />

the city’s comprehensive and downtown<br />

development plan.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Alliance also provides premier<br />

programs and networking opportunities<br />

that connect people, businesses<br />

and opportunity. <strong>The</strong>se include<br />

Generation <strong>Charleston</strong>, Elevations<br />

Professional Women’s Network,<br />

Inclusion=Innovation, Leadership<br />

Kanawha Valley, Speed Networking<br />

with the Stars, <strong>Charleston</strong> Business<br />

Showcase, to name just a few.<br />

At the <strong>Charleston</strong> Area Alliance,<br />

we understand that the future is too<br />

important to be left to chance, and are proud<br />

to carry on the tradition of those who came<br />

before us to forge a new path of opportunity<br />

and prosperity for the next generation.<br />

CHARLESTON<br />

AREA ALLIANCE<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 1 1


WILLIAM L. HARRIS, M.D., PLLC<br />

When I think about cities, it has always<br />

been the capitol dome that sets <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

apart from the others. Most of West Virginia’s<br />

fine cities are like <strong>Charleston</strong>, built around<br />

confluences of rivers, destined to become<br />

hubs of commerce, agriculture, and industry.<br />

But it is <strong>Charleston</strong>’s unique place as our state<br />

capital and center of government that has<br />

beckoned the people to come down out of<br />

the mountains to taste, smell, see and feel her<br />

glory as a masterpiece of what hill people can<br />

accomplish in the nearly century and a half<br />

we have been a state.<br />

My connection with the city of <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

began at an early age. Even with a twin brother,<br />

I was the only one of four brothers who<br />

had to have braces on my teeth. I came every<br />

six months to the Medical Arts Building on<br />

Quarrier Street to see Dr. Cleek from the time<br />

I was five until I went away to West Virginia<br />

University. I had to get up early and leave by<br />

6 a.m. to make the first morning appointment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> old roads from my home in<br />

Fenwick, near Richwood, were narrow and<br />

curvy. By the time mother bounced me over<br />

Route 39 to reach Gauley Bridge, I was ready<br />

to upchuck, always near Glen Ferris where a<br />

retaining wall higher than the car prevented<br />

any chance of pulling off the road.<br />

Coming on down Route 60 beside the<br />

Kanawha River in thick morning fog, I was<br />

always delighted to turn that last curve and<br />

see through the haze a beaming capitol dome.<br />

‘Look, Mom! We’re here.’ What a wonderful<br />

day my mother, sometimes twin Bob, and<br />

I would spend in <strong>Charleston</strong>. After the<br />

orthodontist finished his ‘machinations,’ we<br />

were free to spend the day doing what my<br />

mother loved to do best—shop ‘til we<br />

dropped in <strong>Charleston</strong>’s great downtown.<br />

We put the car in the garage, Firestone,<br />

where it would be serviced and kept all<br />

day free of parking fees, and easily available<br />

to load up the back seat and trunk with<br />

every conceivable form of merchandise. <strong>The</strong><br />

anchor stores were first: JCPenney, Sears &<br />

Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, then off to<br />

mom’s favorites, <strong>The</strong> Diamond, Stone &<br />

Thomas, Frankenbergers, Cox’s, and always<br />

Fulwiders for her new pair of work shoes.<br />

In the middle of all this came lunch at the<br />

old Quarrier Diner where I was known as<br />

the funny kid who liked ketchup on his<br />

macaroni and cheese. At day’s end, the car<br />

overloaded, we would stop at Shoneys on<br />

the Boulevard or the Tip Top Drive-In just<br />

east of the city for our last meal of the day.<br />

Driving by the capitol dome on our way<br />

out of town, we could see her bask in the<br />

evening sunlight like a beacon for a city on<br />

the hill.<br />

I was thrilled when I found out I could<br />

spend my last two years of WVU’s medical<br />

school in <strong>Charleston</strong>. I felt like I was back<br />

home when <strong>Charleston</strong> Area Medical Center<br />

chose me for this newly created three-year<br />

residency in family medicine, a first for West<br />

Virginia. I was taught not only the science<br />

but also the art of medicine under the<br />

tutelage of two exceptional family physicians,<br />

Dr. Carl Tully and Dr. Marshall Carper.<br />

As one of three doctors, the first residencytrained<br />

family physicians in West Virginia,<br />

I began a love affair with private practice<br />

that has lasted thirty-five years. I have been<br />

privileged to treat governors, Supreme Court<br />

justices, many members of the state House<br />

and Senate, wealthy members of <strong>Charleston</strong>’s<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

112


oldest families, famous people from all<br />

walks of life including world-renowned<br />

Union-Carbide engineers and Hollywood<br />

movie stars. I have found the same joy in<br />

serving the poor, the uninsured, and the<br />

unemployed coal miner. As my practice<br />

aged, I received further training and became<br />

board certified in geriatrics. I am now one of<br />

only 2,000 practicing geriatricians in the<br />

United States.<br />

as an editor for the Travel Channel in<br />

Washington, D.C., and gave us our eight<br />

month-old grandson. Will, Jr., our youngest,<br />

finished at Southern Methodist University<br />

in Dallas, Texas, the first master’s degree<br />

in video game development in the world.<br />

He now lives and works in San Diego, and<br />

is one of the contributing designers for<br />

the blockbusters, Call of Duty: World at War;<br />

Call of Duty: Black Ops; and Halo: Reach.<br />

I met my lovely wife Ann here. She was<br />

a clinical psychologist and went back to<br />

school at the University of <strong>Charleston</strong> to<br />

become a nurse in order to work by my<br />

side. All three of our children were born<br />

at <strong>Charleston</strong> Memorial Hospital, attended<br />

Kanawha City Elementary, Horace Mann,<br />

George Washington, and <strong>Charleston</strong> Catholic<br />

Schools. Like many West Virginia families,<br />

my wife and I have had to see our children<br />

leave the state for employment in their<br />

respective fields. Our daughter Jane, mother<br />

of our three and a half year old twin<br />

granddaughters, is an award-winning graphic<br />

design artist in Hollywood. Our middle<br />

son, Andrew, graduated with a master’s<br />

degree in screenwriting from the American<br />

Film Institute in Los Angeles. He works<br />

Living and raising our children in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> has been so wonderful for my<br />

wife and me. Through our involvement in<br />

politics, the arts, and the numerous charitable<br />

organizations of the community, we<br />

have had rich and rewarding experiences.<br />

We would never have believed we would<br />

someday have dinner with Don Knotts, Ella<br />

Fitzgerald, or Betty White, to name just a few,<br />

or to be trapped in a dressing room with<br />

President Gerald Ford for an hour during a<br />

security breach at the Civic Center. We could<br />

never have imagined I would someday headline<br />

a concert at the Clay Center, play the<br />

piano and sing You Are So Beautiful to Ann, a<br />

five year breast cancer survivor. We built our<br />

home and developed twenty-eight acres of<br />

forested yard and gardens on Chappell Road<br />

✧<br />

Left: William L. Harris, M.D.<br />

PORTRAIT PAINTED BY CHARLESTON ARTIST,<br />

ARTHUR EVANS.<br />

Right: Ann Harris, R.N.<br />

PORTRAIT PAINTED BY CHARLESTON ARTIST,<br />

ARTHUR EVANS.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 1 3


at the entrance to Foxchase. When we come<br />

down the street, the first thing we see is that<br />

beautiful capitol dome. We see it when we<br />

park our cars at CAMC, and we say good-bye<br />

to it in the evening before we come home to<br />

our little Garden of Eden.<br />

In the next thirty or so years, my wife and<br />

I will be taken back to the city of my birth,<br />

Richwood, and will be buried with generations<br />

of Harrises on the hill over-looking the<br />

town. We will leave behind the memories of<br />

our fruitful life in this great city. Our children<br />

love to come back to visit and bring the<br />

grandchildren. My son-in-law calls it “the<br />

West Virginia experience.” My descendants<br />

will come to see where their forefathers lived,<br />

prospered, and died. <strong>The</strong>y can enjoy the<br />

beauty of a city with its timeless monument,<br />

the capitol building with her splendid dome<br />

to shine and welcome them home.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

114


For nearly thirty years, the law firm of Karen H.<br />

Miller, Attorneys at Law has specialized in the area<br />

of labor and employment law in West Virginia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> lawyers at Karen H. Miller are knowledgeable<br />

in all types of general civil litigation<br />

in state and federal courts, including cases<br />

involving wrongful termination, breach of<br />

contract, business litigation, wage and hour<br />

matters, NLRA Act, medical malpractice<br />

defense, credentialing, worker’s compensation<br />

and occupational health and safety.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm was founded by Karen H. Miller<br />

in 1984 after she received a master’s degree in<br />

Industrial Relations and a law degree from<br />

West Virginia University. She practiced for<br />

two years before starting her own law firm.<br />

A pioneer in her field, Miller was the only<br />

solo female law firm in the 1980s to defend<br />

corporations in employment and labor law<br />

matters. She also negotiated union contracts<br />

and enjoyed litigating human rights cases.<br />

During a period of intense labor unrest,<br />

including shootings and other violence, Miller<br />

was often present on the picket line with<br />

her clients. She even tried cases in Federal<br />

Court when Federal Marshalls were required<br />

because of fears that violence might spill over<br />

into the courtroom.<br />

Labor violence has lessened in recent years<br />

because of laws that now protect employees,<br />

and make unions less necessary. Accordingly,<br />

the Karen H. Miller firm has become more<br />

employment law oriented.<br />

Miller, the firm’s principal attorney, emphasizes<br />

in-house training and frequently presents<br />

seminars to companies and groups throughout<br />

the state. While the purpose of these seminars<br />

is lawsuit prevention, the firm also litigates<br />

when necessary. <strong>Historic</strong>ally, professionals<br />

have learned from these comprehensive seminars<br />

how to deal with distressing legal issues<br />

arising from everyday personnel matters such<br />

as hiring and firing, wrongful termination,<br />

sexual harassment, etc.<br />

In 1988, Miller showed her faith in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s Renaissance District (Capitol Street)<br />

by purchasing and renovating an old shoe store<br />

for her firm’s offices. Although the street was<br />

almost empty at the time, several other lawyers<br />

soon followed. Although her practice has since<br />

moved to the Miller Building on Hale Street,<br />

KAREN H. MILLER, ATTORNEYS AT LAW<br />

she is proud to have been an early supporter of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>’s efforts to rebuild its downtown area.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm of Karen H. Miller currently consists<br />

of three attorneys, an investigator, an accountant<br />

and three support staff members. <strong>The</strong> firm<br />

strongly supports such community activities<br />

as <strong>The</strong> Gabriel Project, <strong>The</strong> WVU Foundation,<br />

Sacred Heart Cathedral, the Clay Center,<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Ballet, West Virginia Symphony<br />

League, West Virginia University College of<br />

Law, <strong>Charleston</strong> Catholic High School, and<br />

the American Heart Association. Miller is a<br />

past president of the Kanawha County Bar<br />

Association and has held several other offices<br />

in professional and civic organizations.<br />

For more information about Karen H.<br />

Miller, Attorneys at Law, check their website<br />

at www.karenmillerlaborlaw.com.<br />

✧<br />

Top and above: Karen H. Miller.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 1 5


THE GREATER<br />

KANAWHA VALLEY FOUNDATION<br />

For half a century, <strong>The</strong> Greater Kanawha<br />

Valley Foundation has granted approximately<br />

$90 million to various nonprofit agencies<br />

serving those in need, as well as providing<br />

scholarships for students to attend college.<br />

A charitable community trust, <strong>The</strong> Greater<br />

Kanawha Valley Foundation was organized<br />

in 1962 to accept contributions, create<br />

and administer funds, and make grants for<br />

the benefit of the people of the Greater<br />

Kanawha Valley. <strong>The</strong> Foundation is a collection<br />

of many separate funds varying in size<br />

from $10,000 to more than $7 million. Each<br />

fund, over 400, is separate with its own<br />

agreement, its own donors, and its own<br />

philanthropic purposes.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Foundation, through its trustee banks<br />

and managers, invests the principal of<br />

each fund for the continued production of<br />

distributable income. It distributes that<br />

income to a wide variety of organizations<br />

and individuals in accordance with the<br />

provisions of the instrument creating each<br />

fund. Areas in which the Foundation<br />

makes these grants include arts and culture,<br />

education, health, human services, land<br />

use, recreation, or other charitable areas<br />

of interest.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Foundation serves the counties of<br />

Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln<br />

and Putnam.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Foundation was established on April 3,<br />

1962, with a single fund, the Frank A. Knight<br />

Memorial Fund, which was established with<br />

proceeds from the North-South Football<br />

Game. When the game was discontinued, its<br />

assets of about $45,000 were redirected to the<br />

Foundation by the Circuit Court of Kanawha<br />

County for the benefit of the Children’s<br />

Museum and Planetarium, now known as the<br />

Avampato Museum.<br />

During the past fifty years, the Frank A.<br />

Knight Memorial Fund has given away<br />

$146,937 to provide a children’s museum for<br />

the community. <strong>The</strong> principal, which cannot<br />

be spent, has grown from the original $45,000<br />

to more than $85,000.<br />

During 1971, fourteen new funds were<br />

established within the foundation by Fred<br />

Haddad, Stanley Loewenstein and Mr. and<br />

Mrs. W. E. Chilton, III. As a result of these<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

116


and other gifts made to the Foundation, the<br />

assets were increased to more than $291,000.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Foundation’s 25th Annual Report<br />

in 1987 was dedicated to W. E. “Ned” Chilton<br />

(1921-1987) in appreciation of his efforts<br />

in promotion of the Foundation’s growth<br />

from its inception to the time of his<br />

death. Chilton not only made his own gifts<br />

to the Foundation, but encouraged the<br />

local newspaper to finance the cost of<br />

publishing the Annual Reports. Thirty new<br />

funds were established by the end of<br />

1987 and the Foundation’s assets exceeded<br />

$21 million.<br />

Twenty-five years later, the 2010 Annual<br />

Report reported assets of $133,099,970 and<br />

approximately 500 funds.<br />

In addition to granting approximately<br />

$90 million to various nonprofit agencies<br />

over the past fifty years, the Foundation<br />

has been fortunate to have a cadre of<br />

informed, connected and skilled donors.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se donors have reinforced the<br />

foundation’s values and culture and<br />

encouraged the Foundation to take the lead<br />

in a variety of community issues, ranging<br />

from providing a safety net for basic human<br />

needs in a six county region, to facilitating<br />

community development in the East End<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> District of <strong>Charleston</strong>, to helping<br />

build such facilities as the Schoenbaum<br />

Family Enrichment Center on the west side<br />

of <strong>Charleston</strong> and the Clay Center for the<br />

Arts and Sciences downtown.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Foundation offices are located in<br />

downtown <strong>Charleston</strong>, the capital city of<br />

West Virginia, and the organization is<br />

currently staffed by nine employees.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation<br />

is a ‘community foundation’ not only<br />

because of its service to the community, but<br />

also by definition. A ‘community foundation’<br />

is a collaboration of diverse interests,<br />

organized for permanence, which attempts<br />

to strengthen a geographically defined<br />

community by providing services and<br />

nurturing leadership among charitable<br />

donors, nonprofit organizations and the<br />

community at large. No one person, family,<br />

business or group can control the governance<br />

or activities of a community foundation.<br />

Community foundations are particularly<br />

suited to assume leadership roles because<br />

the donors, volunteer board and staff<br />

often have special insights into community<br />

issues and needs. <strong>The</strong> Foundation is<br />

pleased to have initiated a cross-sector<br />

partnership with the business community<br />

to work in a coordinated fashion to<br />

bring about growth and stability in<br />

our community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Sustainable Kanawha Valley Initiative<br />

was created in 2005 by thirteen local<br />

funders to provide support for projects<br />

that simultaneously achieve economic,<br />

environmental and social goals. Aimed at<br />

Kanawha and Putnam Counties, the Initiative<br />

established three broad issue areas that<br />

would allow the communities to manage,<br />

protect and build upon the region’s<br />

unique social, ecological and economic<br />

assets. <strong>The</strong> issue areas are 1) community<br />

education and participation; 2) human<br />

dignity/human services; 3) open space and<br />

land use. <strong>The</strong> initiative has generated<br />

100 proposals since its inception, with<br />

sixty-four grants awarded for a total<br />

of $565,930.<br />

A “New <strong>Charleston</strong>” initiative has identified<br />

priority areas to improve the economic<br />

climate for the underserved. <strong>The</strong> goal is<br />

to make <strong>Charleston</strong> the commercial,<br />

educational and cultural capital of the<br />

Appalachian region.<br />

In addition the Foundation has revitalized<br />

the Council on Philanthropy and established<br />

a Safety Net Initiative in 2009 when the<br />

nation’s economic crisis was becoming a<br />

stark reality for the Greater Kanawha Valley.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation<br />

is poised to join with other sectors of the<br />

community in undertaking the long-term<br />

process of social change. It is no longer<br />

enough to fund an innovative solution<br />

created by a single nonprofit, or to build<br />

that organization’s capacity. Instead, the<br />

Foundation will create and sustain a<br />

collective process that will enable crosssector<br />

coalitions to arise and thrive.<br />

For more information about <strong>The</strong> Greater<br />

Kanawha Valley Foundation, check the website<br />

at www.tgkvf.org.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 1 7


TRIVILLIAN’S<br />

PHARMACY<br />

AND OLD<br />

FASHIONED<br />

SODA FOUNTAIN<br />

<strong>The</strong> pharmacy, now known as Trivillian’s,<br />

has been in the <strong>Charleston</strong> area in one form<br />

or another since 1896. <strong>The</strong> year before, in 1895,<br />

Fred G. Klostermeyer graduated pharmacy school<br />

in Ada, Ohio, and came to <strong>Charleston</strong> to open<br />

a pharmacy with George Ord at 1034 Quarrier<br />

Street. Four years later, in 1900, Klostermeyer<br />

became the sole owner of the pharmacy.<br />

While Klostermeyer was building his business,<br />

the second key player, Nick Trivillian, was<br />

born in March 1909 to an Italian family living<br />

in Cabin Creek, just up-river from <strong>Charleston</strong>.<br />

Nick’s childhood was uneventful until August 9,<br />

1916 when a disastrous flood swept through<br />

Cabin Creek and Nick’s mother and older sister,<br />

Mary, were killed along with seventy-one others.<br />

Shortly after, Nick’s father left for Italy to find<br />

another wife leaving his three surviving children<br />

in the care of a close friend in Cabin Creek.<br />

When he returned from Italy with his new<br />

bride, the family settled in South <strong>Charleston</strong>,<br />

a sparsely settled community adjacent to<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>. Nick showed an early talent for<br />

business; his first job was in a bank. From there<br />

he went to Klostermeyer’s Pharmacy, where<br />

he started as a soda jerk at the fountain<br />

and stocking clerk. Throughout his tenure<br />

Klostermeyer trained Nick in all aspects of<br />

operating the pharmacy. At the end of the<br />

1930s, Klostermeyer offered the business to<br />

Nick if he would take over the debts the<br />

business had been accruing throughout the<br />

Depression. Sam Suppa, Sr., Nick’s brother-inlaw<br />

signed the note for Nick to get him started.<br />

Nick began building a staff, hiring Arch<br />

Kreig as his first pharmacist. He married<br />

Mary Agnes Young (Miss Mountain Lion from<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> High School) the next year and<br />

she began her career as the bookkeeper for<br />

Trivillian’s. He added her father, Joe Young, who<br />

was working at Stowers Grocery as a butcher,<br />

as his cook. A few years later (1946) Nick<br />

knocked a hole through the wall of the pharmacy,<br />

adding more seating for his growing<br />

restaurant trade. <strong>The</strong> addition gave him<br />

another fifteen tables. Above the pharmacy,<br />

Nick added a little club room where doctors<br />

could gather, eat, make phone calls and get free<br />

coffee. When the doctors were not using it for<br />

lunch, Mary Agnes used the space for her office.<br />

Nick initiated the policy of handing out<br />

leather covered appointment books as<br />

Christmas presents to all the doctors in the<br />

Valley and had linen prescription books<br />

printed for each of them, which contained<br />

the directions on the bottom of the page to<br />

have the prescription filled at Trivillian’s.<br />

Business continued to grow and, within<br />

five years, Nick added Hollis Gray and Harry<br />

Lynch as pharmacists to work with Kreig who<br />

worked in the back compounding prescriptions.<br />

One of their major products contained<br />

charcoal and due to a quirk in the air conditioning<br />

system the charcoal was blown all<br />

around the room. Worse yet, another compound<br />

contained cocaine. So, by the end of<br />

the day, Kreig was black from the charcoal and<br />

smiling from ear to ear from the cocaine<br />

powder he had inhaled all day.<br />

Business was so good that Nick began<br />

looking for a second location where he might<br />

open another pharmacy. He found his<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

118


location at the foot of the Thirty-fifth Street<br />

Bridge in Kanawha City where he opened the<br />

new Trivillian’s on December 2, 1950. Hollis<br />

Gray became the first pharmacist while Harry<br />

Lynch and Roger Griffith ran the Quarrier<br />

Street store. Mary Agnes said that the 1034<br />

location was the goose that laid the golden<br />

egg, which became the Kanawha City store.<br />

Nick continued to manage both stores. In<br />

1954, Suppa became the pharmacist for the<br />

Quarrier Street store. <strong>The</strong> next year Lynch left<br />

to open Lynch Pharmacy on Oakwood Road.<br />

Roger Griffith transferred to the Kanawha City<br />

store working with Gray. George Haddad<br />

and Findley Seldomridge were hired for the<br />

Quarrier Street store. Suppa left to open<br />

Sammy’s Pharmacy in Cabin Creek. Trivillian<br />

passed away in 1964. Findley Seldomridge<br />

bought the 1034 Quarrier Street store, renaming<br />

it Findley’s Pharmacy. Phil Haddad opened<br />

the Medicine Shop in Kanawha City with<br />

his brother George as the pharmacist. Griffith<br />

bought the Kanawha City Trivillian’s Store.<br />

In 1968, a young pharmacist, Paula<br />

Butterfield, came to work for Haddad at the<br />

Medicine Shop in Kanawha City. Paula, a native<br />

of Marmet, West Virginia, graduated from the<br />

Medical College of Virginia School of Pharmacy,<br />

and returned home in 1968. She worked for<br />

Haddad at the Medicine Shop for five years<br />

leaving to join Griffith in 1973. She worked<br />

for Trivillian’s until 1976 when she left for<br />

Youngstown, Ohio. Hearing that Griffith was trying<br />

to sell Trivillian’s, she returned to <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

and bought the store on September 20, 1978.<br />

In order to compete with the major chain<br />

pharmacies that were beginning to come into<br />

the area, Paula focused on providing top notch<br />

individualized service, which was Trivillian’s<br />

hallmark. She also began building the lunch<br />

trade, expanding the small soda fountain and<br />

bringing in Maida Sharp as her cook. Paula<br />

also began selling gifts and focused on compounding<br />

drugs for children, adults and pets,<br />

a skill that today is still relatively rare in<br />

drugstores. <strong>The</strong> combination of individualized<br />

service, compounding and high quality food<br />

has stood her in good stead over the years.<br />

In 2007, Paula began a major renovation of<br />

the pharmacy, installing new clean rooms for<br />

her compounding operation that had outgrown<br />

its space. She installed a robot for her most<br />

commonly dispensed drugs, created a more<br />

spacious working area for her staff and a more<br />

user-friendly area for pickup and delivery of<br />

orders. <strong>The</strong>se modernizations placed Trivillian’s<br />

at the leading edge of the independent pharmacies<br />

in the Kanawha Valley and bodes well<br />

for Trivillian’s Pharmacy’s continuing future<br />

and the perpetuation of the Trivillian name.<br />

✧<br />

Opposite, clockwise starting from the top:<br />

Nick Trivillian with his father and sisters<br />

before the flood.<br />

A birthday party for the boss at<br />

Trivillian’s Pharmacy.<br />

Paula Butterfield (third from right) visiting<br />

with Flossie Kourey (second from right)<br />

who was the best french fry cook at Kourey’s<br />

Restaurant on East Washington Street.<br />

Flossie along with her husband Louis<br />

ran their restaurant in the 1960s.<br />

Top: Trivillian’s Pharmacy as it looks today.<br />

Above: Compounding prescriptions.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 1 9


ANDREWS<br />

FLOOR & WALL<br />

COVERING<br />

COMPANY<br />

Andrews Floor & Wall Covering Company,<br />

a family owned business for more than sixty<br />

years, is the one-stop shop for carpet and<br />

flooring in the <strong>Charleston</strong> area.<br />

Andrews Floor & Wall Covering is committed<br />

to providing the same quality materials<br />

and professional installations <strong>Charleston</strong> area<br />

residents have depended on for six decades.<br />

We ensure complete customer satisfaction<br />

by always guaranteeing both the product and<br />

the installation.<br />

thing lacking was capital. You can make<br />

money and still go bankrupt. I substituted<br />

labor for capital. People would leave me to<br />

start a business, but they didn’t all make it.<br />

I made it because I worked myself to death.<br />

“I put a cot in the office when they started<br />

that plant in Ravenswood and were doing a<br />

lot of building up there. I would go up there<br />

and get back at 11:00 p.m. at night and go to<br />

sleep on the cot.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> local distributor wouldn’t sell to me<br />

because of another floor covering store in<br />

town. Another distributor would sell to me,<br />

but only on a cash basis. I had to prove that<br />

we were a qualified company with good<br />

installers. I learned that you have to be fair<br />

with people. Our policy has always been that<br />

customer satisfaction is key—we built a good<br />

trade. We have a good reputation.”<br />

Dewey Wilson Mann lived, practiced and<br />

taught by these principles: Work hard, be honest<br />

and fair, the customer is always right, give<br />

back to the community, treat employees with<br />

respect, don’t expect ‘something for nothing’,<br />

a hard day’s work is a good day, never overextend<br />

resources (don’t go into debt), be modest,<br />

practice a strong work ethic.<br />

✧<br />

Above: Prior location of Andrews Floor &<br />

Wall Covering Company in the early days<br />

on West Washington Street, 1950s.<br />

Right: Dewey W. Mann, president, with his<br />

wife of sixty plus years, Ruth Skaggs Mann.<br />

She has always been the “matriarch” of the<br />

Mann family at home and in business.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

120<br />

<strong>The</strong> company was founded in 1950 by<br />

Dewey Wilson Mann, a native of Oak Hill,<br />

West Virginia. A graduate of Hampden Sydney<br />

College, Mann fought with the U.S. Army’s<br />

36th Division in France, Germany, and Italy<br />

during World War II. Rising to the rank of<br />

Captain, Mann also led Company B of the<br />

142nd Infantry. After serving from 1941 to<br />

1945, he remained in the military as part of the<br />

occupation force in Japan from 1945 to 1949.<br />

Following his discharge from the Army,<br />

Mann returned to the United States and<br />

completed the first year of law school at West<br />

Virginia University. However, a summer job<br />

as a salesman with Andrews Floor & Wall<br />

Covering Company led to a complete change<br />

in his career plans and he purchased the<br />

company in July of 1950.<br />

In Mann’s own words: “I started out over<br />

on Virginia Street, across from Woodrum’s. I<br />

didn’t know a thing about the business. <strong>The</strong><br />

main way I learned was by doing. <strong>The</strong> only<br />

Mann married Ruth Ellen Skaggs on<br />

November 24, 1950, and her children say she<br />

is, and always will be, the matriarch of the<br />

family. Her children say that even though her<br />

age and health are beginning to show, their<br />

mother has always been the ‘silent partner’;<br />

not only in the success of Andrews Floor &


Wall Covering Company, but also at<br />

home. “<strong>The</strong> three of us were raised by<br />

the ‘pros’—we have been blessed and are<br />

ever so thankful,” say her children.<br />

In post-war America, families were<br />

working and living the American dream<br />

and Andrews Floor & Wall Covering<br />

grew in the thriving economy of the<br />

1950s, 1960s and 1970s. <strong>The</strong> Kanawha<br />

Valley was booming due to chemical<br />

industry giants such as Union Carbide,<br />

FMC, and Monsanto. Housing and building<br />

construction were at an all-time high<br />

and with no ‘box stores’ or wholesale<br />

distributors selling to the general public,<br />

Andrews Floor & Wall Covering did well.<br />

Some of the important individuals<br />

who helped the company grow in the early<br />

years were sales managers Denzil Stonestreet<br />

and Bruce Grady, accountant William Wyatt,<br />

business/sales manager Kenneth Mann<br />

(nephew), and office manager Virginia Janney.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y were assisted by many excellent and<br />

skilled professional floor installers, including<br />

Charles Lowther, Gary Gregg, George Shamblin,<br />

Scott Meadows, Kevin Holstine, and Kim Slater.<br />

Together, they have more than 150 years work<br />

experience with the company.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company moved to West Washington<br />

Street in 1956 and to its current location<br />

at 505 Central Avenue on the Westside/Five<br />

Corners in 1961.<br />

Mann always provided part-time summer<br />

jobs for his three children, nephews, nieces<br />

and grandchildren to teach them the value of<br />

working and developing a good work ethic. It<br />

is a trait all the family learned and practiced.<br />

Mann retired in 1994 and his nephew,<br />

Kenneth R. Mann, continued as the long-time<br />

store manager until his semiretirement in 2007.<br />

In 1993, Mann’s youngest daughter, Linda<br />

Mann Kelly, left her position as assistant state<br />

director of Adult Education with the West<br />

Virginia Department of Education, to manage<br />

the company and continue the business into<br />

the second generation.<br />

In 1997, daughter Ellen Mann, a dental<br />

hygienist by profession, began working parttime<br />

at Andrews Floor & Wall Covering and, in<br />

2000, Dr. Dewey Wilson Mann, DDS—the son<br />

of Dewey and Ruth and a dentist by profession,<br />

began to contribute to the continued success<br />

of the family business. Sales manager Chad<br />

Spencer, and a close family friend, joined the<br />

staff in 2007.<br />

In 2003 the three children assumed ownership<br />

and management of the firm, continuing<br />

the legacy of Andrews Floor & Wall Covering.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Kanawha Valley has lost thousands in<br />

population in recent years and competition<br />

and the cost of business has escalated greatly,<br />

but Andrews Floor & Wall Covering continues<br />

to thrive. “This small company supports<br />

twelve to fifteen families, pays its bills and<br />

has no debt,” comments Linda. “Our father<br />

taught us well, we learned from the best!”<br />

✧<br />

Above: A young Dewey W. Mann,<br />

president, Andrews Floor & Wall Covering<br />

Company, 1960s.<br />

Below: Current location of Andrews Floor &<br />

Wall Covering with Kenneth R. Mann<br />

nephew of Dewey W. Mann and sales<br />

manager for forty years, 1970s.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 2 1


APPALACHIAN<br />

TIRE PRODUCTS,<br />

INC.<br />

✧<br />

Above: Walter and Jennifer Dial.<br />

Appalachian Tire Products, where customers<br />

always find the right tire for the right price,<br />

was founded in Mount Hope, West Virginia, in<br />

1948 and opened its first store in Lewisburg,<br />

West Virginia.<br />

Walter Dial, who had been a Goodyear sales<br />

representative, joined ATP in 1959 when the<br />

company had only two stores. Dial moved the<br />

company’s home office to <strong>Charleston</strong> in 1962.<br />

Now eighty-seven years old, Walter serves as<br />

chairman of the board and is still active in the<br />

everyday operations of the business. Walter’s<br />

daughter, Jennifer Dial, joined ATP in 1997<br />

and became president in 2003.<br />

ATP now operates twenty-two stores in<br />

six states. Fifteen of the stores are located<br />

in West Virginia, including 2 in <strong>Charleston</strong>,<br />

1 in Pennsylvania, 1 in Tennessee, 1 in Ohio,<br />

2 in Kentucky, and 2 stores and a state-ofthe-art<br />

retread plant in Virginia.<br />

Eight stores are strictly retail, selling<br />

passenger and light truck tires and providing<br />

automotive repair services. <strong>The</strong> other stores<br />

also sell truck, industrial, farm, underground<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

122


mining and earthmover tires. <strong>The</strong> customer<br />

base is primarily coal companies and firms<br />

engaged in construction and trucking.<br />

ATP’s full-service retail stores provide<br />

complete under-car and tire services including<br />

alignments, engine diagnostics, lube and<br />

oil services, tune-ups, air conditioning and<br />

brake service and many other services. ATP’s<br />

well-trained employees work hard to provide<br />

value composed of quality products, excellent<br />

service and a great price.<br />

In all its stores, Appalachian Tire Products<br />

strives to provide services in a clean, welcoming<br />

and comfortable atmosphere. <strong>The</strong> retail locations<br />

have flat screen televisions, Wi-Fi, and<br />

shuttle service to accommodate the customers.<br />

Most tire dealers specialize in either retail<br />

or commercial, but ATP sells anything from a<br />

4-inch wheelbarrow tire to a 57-inch earth<br />

mover tire that stands 12 feet high. Servicing<br />

large, off-the-road tires requires special<br />

equipment and highly trained technicians,<br />

and ATP maintains a large, well-equipped<br />

fleet to provide this service. ATP’s objective is<br />

to help customers achieve the lowest cost per<br />

hour or cost per ton for their tire and wheel<br />

expenditures. Tire surveys, pressure checks,<br />

work condition studies and custom wheel<br />

selection help ATP select the best tire, tread,<br />

compound and wheel for its customers.<br />

In the consumer line, ATP sells Goodyear,<br />

Michelin, Kelly, Toyo, Cordovan and all other<br />

brands available through wholesalers. In<br />

addition, ATP sells Goodyear, Kelly, Dunlop<br />

and Toyo medium commercial truck tires,<br />

Goodyear and Super Grip underground mine<br />

tires and Goodyear and Titan earthmover tires.<br />

A subsidiary, Mountain Mining and Supply,<br />

is located on Westmoreland Avenue in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> and wholesales the Super Grip<br />

underground mine tire line to customers<br />

throughout North America.<br />

Appalachian Tire also sells various types<br />

of industrial tires, including forestry tires,<br />

skid steer, solid tires, airport ground<br />

support equipment tires, even golf cart<br />

tires. Goodyear farm tires produced by<br />

Titan Tire come in a large array of sizes to<br />

meet any possible agricultural need. <strong>The</strong><br />

world’s largest OEMs, including John Deere,<br />

Case, AGCO and New Holland depend<br />

on Titan’s quality, durability and unique<br />

tread designs.<br />

Appalachian Tire Products has approximately<br />

240 employees and maintains a<br />

fleet of more than 120 vehicles. More than<br />

ten percent of the employees have been<br />

with ATP twenty years or longer, providing<br />

stability and expertise for the company.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir longevity translates into knowledge,<br />

which is essential when working with<br />

larger tires. Heavy equipment must run on<br />

tires with the right tread and compound<br />

for the conditions and ATP associates<br />

are trained in the proper applications<br />

depending on the weights haul lengths and<br />

road conditions.<br />

ATP also provides its customers with fleet<br />

surveys and other computer-generated reports<br />

that track tire performance for medium<br />

commercial truck and earthmover tires. ATP’s<br />

philosophy is that if we can keep our<br />

commercial customer’s tire cost as low as<br />

possible, we should never lose that customer.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 2 3


CHARLESTON<br />

GAZETTE<br />

✧<br />

Above: A Gazette delivery truck from<br />

the 1930s is believed to be an REO<br />

Speedwagon model.<br />

Below: Gazette employees gather outside<br />

the newspaper office in this photo, believed<br />

to have been shot in the early years of<br />

the 1900s.<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

124<br />

Charles B. Webb founded the weekly<br />

Kanawha Chronicle in April 1873, marking the<br />

beginning of the <strong>Charleston</strong> Gazette. Publication<br />

began at Kanawha and Summers Streets.<br />

In 1877, James Pemberton, later mayor of<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, and John W. Jarrett, bought the<br />

Chronicle and changed its name to <strong>The</strong><br />

Kanawha Gazette. About 1884, Moses W.<br />

Donnally, an oil well producer, acquired an<br />

interest in the paper and later purchased it<br />

from Pemberton. Operations<br />

were moved to 15 Summers Street<br />

and ultimately to 79 Capitol<br />

Street. <strong>The</strong> name was changed to<br />

<strong>The</strong> Daily Gazette.<br />

George Byrne became editor<br />

about 1901. In 1905 the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Publishing Co. was<br />

formed. <strong>The</strong> paper’s name was<br />

changed to the <strong>Charleston</strong> Gazette<br />

on January 29, 1907.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Chilton family first acquired<br />

formal interest in the paper about<br />

1912. Incorporators of the Daily<br />

Gazette Co. that year were J. E. Chilton, Charles<br />

Ashcraft, T. S. Clark and former Governor<br />

William MacCorkle. Not listed was W. E.<br />

Chilton, who began a six-year term as U.S.<br />

Senator in 1911, and later became publisher.<br />

In November 1912 the newspaper moved<br />

to 909 Virginia Street East. On May 18, 1918,<br />

fire consumed the building, and the Gazette<br />

moved to 227 Hale Street, where it remained<br />

for more than forty-two years.<br />

W. E. Chilton, Jr., son of the senator,<br />

became president of <strong>The</strong> Daily Gazette Co. in<br />

1922 and managing editor in 1924. He died<br />

November 7, 1939.<br />

After World War II, Robert L. Smith, Sr.,<br />

was elevated to publisher after the death of<br />

W. E. Chilton, Jr., on September 21, 1950.<br />

On January 1, 1958, the Gazette entered<br />

into a consolidation agreement with the<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Daily Mail to form Newspaper<br />

Agency Corp. <strong>The</strong> name was changed to<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong> Newspapers on July 1, 1973.<br />

On September 6, 1960, the Gazette left 227<br />

Hale Street and moved into an addition of the<br />

Daily Mail Building at 1001 Virginia Street East.<br />

W. E. Chilton III succeeded Smith as<br />

publisher, following the latter’s death on<br />

October 6, 1961. William E. “Ned”<br />

Chilton III, whose self-professed<br />

sense of “sustained outrage” at<br />

government’s shortcomings shaped<br />

the Gazette into a crusading<br />

newspaper, died of a heart attack<br />

in 1987 at the age of sixty-five.<br />

Robert Smith, Jr., was named<br />

publisher and president of the<br />

Gazette in March 1987. In 1992,<br />

illness forced him to retire early.<br />

Smith was succeeded by CN<br />

general manager Craig Selby as<br />

publisher, and by Elizabeth E.<br />

Chilton as president. Smith died<br />

in June 1994 at 65.<br />

In May 2004 the Daily Gazette Co.<br />

purchased the economic interest in CN from<br />

Media News Group, followed in September<br />

2004 with the announcement that Elizabeth<br />

Chilton would be the Gazette’s publisher, a<br />

position she still holds today.


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Charleston</strong> Daily Mail’s oldest predecessor,<br />

the Evening Call, was founded by<br />

F. R. Swann and George Warren and began<br />

publication in June of 1881. <strong>Charleston</strong> only<br />

had about 5,000 residents at the time, but the<br />

population was growing and competition was<br />

fierce. <strong>The</strong> Evening Call was going toe-to-toe<br />

with no fewer than nine other newspapers.<br />

Stretched finances and high costs of production<br />

led several papers to consolidate.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Evening Call, renamed the <strong>Charleston</strong><br />

Star, merged first with the State Tribune in 1893<br />

and then later with the Daily Mail’s namesake<br />

paper around 1898. <strong>The</strong> consolidated Mail-<br />

Tribune’s major advantage in the market was<br />

ownership of a linotype machine, which greatly<br />

reduced the time and costs of production.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Daily Mail name would return later<br />

under the operation of Walter Eli Clark. Clark<br />

was a polymath who worked as a reporter, a<br />

teacher, a gold prospector and the governor of<br />

Alaska. He traveled to <strong>Charleston</strong> in the early<br />

1900s with the intent of buying a newspaper.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mail-Tribune, renamed <strong>The</strong> News-Mail,<br />

was in dire straights before it was purchased<br />

by Clark on April 6, 1914.<br />

“It was in an awful state of bankruptcy,”<br />

Clark later wrote, “but I thought I could see<br />

why. It deserved to be so.”<br />

Despite its weak position at the time of<br />

purchase, the paper flourished under Clark’s<br />

management. It went through its last name<br />

change in 1920 when a Sunday edition was<br />

inaugurated, and <strong>Charleston</strong> Daily Mail became<br />

a permanent masthead. In 1927 the Daily Mail<br />

moved across the street into a new building at<br />

1001 Virginia Street, East.<br />

Clark continued to be involved with the<br />

paper until his death in 1950. His commitment<br />

to journalistic integrity was kept alive<br />

by his successors.<br />

Lyell B. Clay became publisher in 1968.<br />

Clay would later use proceeds from the sale<br />

of the Daily Mail to Thomson Newspapers<br />

to co-found the Clay Foundation, a group<br />

that contributed millions to fundraising and<br />

building efforts in the state.<br />

In 1975, Editor Jack Maurice won the<br />

Pulitzer Prize for a series of editorials about<br />

a Kanawha County school textbook controversy.<br />

Maurice is the only West Virginia<br />

journalist to receive this honor.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Daily Mail changed hands several<br />

times during the following decades but<br />

stayed true to Clark’s vision. Today, it is<br />

one of the state’s largest newspapers. <strong>The</strong><br />

paper’s dedication to fair journalism is<br />

summed up well by its longstanding motto<br />

chosen by Clark, which quotes Lord Byron’s<br />

Don Juan—“Without, or with, offence to<br />

friends or foes, I sketch the world exactly<br />

as it goes.”<br />

CHARLESTON<br />

DAILY MAIL<br />

✧<br />

Above: Walter Eli Clark.<br />

Below: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Charleston</strong> Daily Mail building<br />

at 1001 Virginia Street, East.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 2 5


MRC ®<br />

MCJUNKIN<br />

RED MAN<br />

CORPORATION<br />

McJunkin Supply Company was founded<br />

February 15, 1921, in <strong>Charleston</strong>, West<br />

Virginia. More than ninety years later the<br />

company still maintains deep roots in the<br />

community where it all began.<br />

Brothers-in-law Jerry McJunkin, Bernard<br />

Wehrle and George Herscher built a company<br />

based on integrity, hard work, and customer<br />

service. Descendants of the three founding<br />

families played leading roles in guiding the<br />

company’s prosperity for<br />

more than eight decades.<br />

Customers in the thriving<br />

oil and gas industry of<br />

the 1920s came to depend<br />

on the McJunkin Supply<br />

salesmen in their vehicles<br />

with bright red fenders<br />

to meet all their supply<br />

needs in the field.<br />

With this focus on customer service,<br />

McJunkin soon became a leading supplier of<br />

pipe and other products for the oil and gas<br />

industry, and the small, one room operation<br />

grew from its first location on Hansford<br />

Street to three branch offices, a forge shop<br />

and warehouse in only three years. <strong>First</strong> year<br />

sales totaled $450,000 and grew to one<br />

million dollars in the company’s second year.<br />

In 1934 the Great Depression hit the<br />

company and sales dropped dramatically<br />

until World War II helped the nation’s<br />

manufacturing sector rebound. By 1941,<br />

McJunkin’s locations had been repurposed to<br />

produce bomb casings and tracks for<br />

amphibious vehicles to support the war<br />

effort. This boost in manufacturing activity,<br />

allowed McJunkin to expand its existing<br />

operations in West Virginia and Kentucky by<br />

opening new locations in Ohio.<br />

<strong>The</strong> later part of the century proved to be<br />

full of growth. <strong>The</strong> company changed its name<br />

to McJunkin Corporation, expanded to twentynine<br />

branches in eighteen states by the end<br />

of the 1960s and in 1971 McJunkin established<br />

a central warehouse in Nitro, West Virginia.<br />

And, in 1982, the company moved into its<br />

new headquarters at 835 Hillcrest Drive in<br />

<strong>Charleston</strong>, West Virginia. But with all of<br />

this success, the McJunkin Corporation family<br />

also experienced heartbreak when a tragic<br />

corporate plane crash took the lives of four key<br />

executives and two company pilots in 1975.<br />

McJunkin Corporation continued to grow<br />

in the 1980s through three major acquisitions:<br />

Appalachian Oilfield Supply Company, Grant<br />

Supply and Republic Supply of California.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se three acquisitions gave McJunkin a<br />

H I S T O R I C C H A R L E S T O N<br />

126


strong presence across the United<br />

States. <strong>The</strong>n, in 2001 McJunkin<br />

solidified their position in the<br />

Midwest by acquiring Joliet Valves.<br />

<strong>The</strong> biggest change for the<br />

family-run business came in<br />

2007, when Goldman Sachs<br />

acquired a controlling interest<br />

in McJunkin Corporation. This<br />

paved the way for the next phase<br />

of significant growth. Shortly<br />

after, McJunkin Corporation<br />

entered into a “merger of equals”<br />

with Red Man Pipe & Supply Company.<br />

Red Man Pipe & Supply Company was<br />

founded in 1977 by Lewis ‘Lew’ Ketchum<br />

and his wife, Betty. Lew, a Delaware Tribe<br />

Native American Indian, saw an opportunity<br />