This is the Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg. Beautifully restored, it has (in my opinion anyway) lost some character in the process--but it's still incredibly beautiful and would be a great place to spend a weekend.
When Mr. Tompkins inserted his tube, the water gushed out so forcibly, that instead of applying the pump, he only lengthened his tube above the well. The stream followed it with undiminished velocity to his water-cistern, sixty feet above the level of the river. (Early Industry in Kanawha County, Historical Collections of Virginia (1845) by Henry Howe. Excerpted from a longer article at the WV Culture and History website.
Here are a few pics from inside the museum. Doesn't it look like an interesting place?
We decided to journey on up the Ohio River to Sistersville, which was quite an oil and gas boom town in the late 19th-early 20th century. At one point, according to a town employee I spoke with last month, the town had more millionaires per capita than any other place in the world. Unfortunately, Sistersville languishes today, one of many small towns off the interstate track that is slowly losing industry and population. But in its day, Sistersville was a booming place. And it is still a beautiful place to visit.
We stopped at my favorite place in Sistersville, The Wells Inn. Rumor has it that the hotel is haunted; although I've stayed there twice, I have to admit I've seen nothing to make me a believer. But stories abound. On our visit this trip, several staff members told stories about things they've experienced, and we toured rooms that visitors have claimed to be disturbing or haunted.
The hotel is currently for sale; for a mere $425,000, you could own a haunted hotel. Truthfully, I'd love to own and run it, but practically speaking I think it would be very difficult to make the place pay its way. Its huge, old and probably an energy sink as far as heating and cooling. But it is so lovely, with each room decorated in a unique vintage style, and the old Wooden Derrick bar in the basement and the grand dining hall. I hope someone will buy the place and bring it into its glory.
Then the ferry ride to Ohio...
and lunch at Marv's Place
where Hannah enjoyed good ice cream and sarsaparilla soda.
a street called Diamond that had to be explored. We stopped to investigate this tall chimney...
Then back across the Ohio on the ferry to visit Greenwood Cemetery again (photos from there in a later post). In Sistersville we saw...
And down inside, the remains of some type of furnace. Was this a glassmaking factory? a coke plant? charcoal oven? I'll need to do more research to find out. But the place is lovely in its own way, a reminder of work, heat and people long past.
And finally home at the end of a long, interesting day.