Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Kanawha River’

The Old Mansion House Museum at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park

The Mansion House at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Point Pleasant, WV

The Mansion House at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Point Pleasant, WV

A promise of “I will build you a mansion” resulted in the construction of this Mansion House at Point Pleasant, WV at the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War. Back in1796,  Walter Newman built this log-hewn house – the first in the Kanawha Valley – so his wife would have a beautiful Mansion House when she arrived in Virginia.

While he waited for the arrival of his wife, the house was used as a tavern and also had rooms for weary travelers.  The cost for a room per night was fifty cents, which most considered highway robbery.

As you enter through the back door of the house, the gift shop and information center are right inside the door. There are helpful people inside to tell you information regarding the house and the people who used to live there.

Square Grant Piano

Square Grant Piano

Don’t let the appearance of the house fool you. Inside there are more floors and rooms than you might imagine. Four levels in all are present in this old house: basement, first floor, second floor, and attic. The side of the house where the gift shop is located was the original tavern.   As you go up a few stairs and down a few more, you arrive at the side where the family lived. This has been restored to its original nature with colonial and early American furnishings. Included in the parlor is a square baby grand piano, which was one of the cherished treasures early Americans brought over the Alleghenies. It seems likely that Walter Newman thought this was a necessity for his wife’s mansion.

Parlor where Daughters of American Revolution meet today

Parlor where Daughters of American Revolution meet today

Their former sitting room is today the place where the regular meetings of the Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are held. Colonel Charles Lewis and his brother,General Andrew Lewis, were both heroes of that long ago battle of Point Pleasant. In 1901 a branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution restored the house to its original style with the assistance of the citizens of Point Pleasant. Their goal was to preserve the way of life that was prevalent in the 1790’s on the Ohio and Grand Kanawha Rivers.  Today this Old Mansion is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Basement kitchen at The Mansion House

Basement kitchen at The Mansion House

Heading to the basement, you discover the kitchen! In high-status families, food was often prepared in the lowly kitchen, often located in the basement of the house. The fireplace for the kitchen located at this low level, most likely kept the rest of the house warm during the winter. A handmade braided rug rests in front of the fireplace with kitchen pans and tools hung nearby. The wooden rocking chair was placed near enough to gather warmth from the fire, and would have been used by visitors or the man of the house, as the women didn’t have much time to sit and rock. Then the food would be carried up to the first floor to be served in a more dignified room.

Four-poster bed over 150 years old

Four-poster bed over 150 years old

On the second floor were several bedrooms, probably those earlier used as the rooms rented to travelers, and later used by the family.  Here were small rooms for the children as well as a beautiful four poster bed, which is over 150 years old. An old-fashioned spinning wheel is displayed near the window.

Still going upward on even narrower steps now, you arrive at the attic where there is a large display of Indian artifacts, books and clothes from that era, plus other interesting objects. It is definitely worth the climb!

Today the Mansion House remains along the Ohio River as part of the Tu-Endie-Wei State Park. Daughters of the American Revolution are frequently on hand in colonial dress to give informative tours.

Mothman Hug

Mothman Hug

While in Point Pleasant, don’t forget to visit some of the area’s other interesting places. This is the place of the famous Silver Bridge Collapse in 1967. You will find a monument marking the spot of the original bridge as you walk the artistic Riverwalk with floodwalls painted with scenes of Point Pleasant history. Don’t forget to visit the Mothman statue and the Mothman Museum to learn more of the unusual and unexplained happenings in this town years ago.  You might even get a hug from the Mothman himself.

The Mansion House is located at Tu-Endie-Wie State Park in Point Pleasant, WV at the end of Main Street where the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers meet. The Mansion House Museum is opened May through October. Hours are Mon-Sat. 10:00-4:30, and Sun. 1:00-4:30. There is no cost, but donations are accepted.

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“The Point Between Two Waters” Tu-Endie-Wei State Park

Bridge over Kanawha River where it joins the Ohio River.

View of bridge over Kanawha River while relaxing on the banks of the Ohio RIver.

Located at the junction of the Ohio River and Kanawha River, Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Mount Pleasant, West Virginia  marks the spot where the Battle of Point Pleasant was fought during the Revolutionary War. Here in 1774 the Virginia militia, led by General Andrew Lewis, fought hand-to-hand with warriors from the Northwestern Confederated Tribes under the leadership of renowned Indian Shawnee chief, Cornstalk.

The Congressional Declaration states:  “This plan, however, as the world now knows, was thwarted as to the place of conflict, when the traitorous Dunmore failed to join Lewis at the mouth of the Kanawha River and they to march together into the enemy’s country.” The original plan called for Governor Dunmore and General Lewis to have the two wings of their Virginia militia meet at the mouth of the Kanawha and pursue the Indians back into their own country, north of the Ohio River. Some feel perhaps Dunmore purposely didn’t arrive in hopes that the Shawnee would defeat the militia, since Dunmore soon became a prominent leader of the British War effort during the Revolutionary War.

This 84' granite oblisk commemorates the Birginia militiamen who gave their lives during the battle.

This 84′ granite obelisk commemorates the Virginia militiamen who gave their lives during the battle.

An 84-foot tall granite obelisk stands in the center of the park in remembrance of the Virginia militiamen, who lost their lives during the battle. At the base of this statue is a figure of a frontiersman. The importance of this battle stretches far beyond that one day encounter as it put to rest Indian wars on the frontier and prevented an Indian alliance with the British.

Throughout the park, several smaller memorials have been placed dedicated to some of the main heroes in this battle that many claim was the first battle of the Revolutionary War.

Chief Cornstalk Monument

Chief Cornstalk Monument

Keigh-tugh-qua, better known as Chief Cornstalk, was a well respected leader in the Ohio Valley. Both Indians and white men knew Chief Cornstalk as a man who wanted peace with the white men.  But he felt forced to defend his people on this spot at Point Pleasant, against who he called “Long Knives”, the colonists of Virginia. At that point he wanted to turn the frontier red with the Long Knives’ blood.  Although the Indians were defeated, Chief Cornstalk did survive this battle.

In 1777, Cornstalk returned to Point Pleasant to warn the settlers that the British were trying to incite his tribesmen to attack.  Fearing an unpleasant encounter, Cornstalk and companions were imprisoned at Fort Randolph, where he was killed by a dozen rifle shots while standing at the doorway of his room. After moving his burial place several times, his remains were brought back here for their final resting place near the field of his most famous battle.

Statue of Mad Anne Bailey along the Ohio River

Statue of Mad Anne Bailey along the Ohio River

One interesting monument marks the burial spot of Mad Anne Bailey, whose husband, Richard Trotter, was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant. This statue along the Ohio River shows frontier scout Mad Anne dressed in buckskins as she delivered messages to remote places throughout the Virginia area to avenge her husband’s death. “Mad” escapades in fighting the red savages on the frontier earned her the nickname of “Mad Anne”. Later she married John Bailey, who was stationed at Fort Lee (Charleston). Mad Anne has been given credit for saving Fort Lee from destruction as she rode alone at nearly fifty years of age for gunpower to Fort Savannah (Lewisburg), which was a two hundred mile trip. Her reward ? The black horse she rode. At the age of seventy, Mad Anne lived in a cave until her son William, who she left with friends at the age of seven, found her and took her to Gallipolis to live in a tiny cabin near his family.

Mural on floodwall along the Ohio River

Mural on floodwall along the Ohio River

Murals depicting the meeting of the tribes and various battlefield scenes line the floodwalls of the Riverwalk along the Ohio River. Painted by artist, Robert Dafford, these scenes bring to life the memory of that one-day battle so long ago that changed the course of history. The inscription above one of those murals explains: Each was fighting for his own way of life.

Today, like in times throughout history, we each continue to fight for what we believe. May your battles be a little less severe.

Tu-Endie-Wei State Park is located at Point Pleasant, West Virginia  at the end of Main Street where the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers meet. Take a stroll down the Riverwalk to enjoy the beautiful Ohio River, the floodwall murals, and many statues along the way. Frequent festivals throughout the year are held here and it is often a stopping point for riverboats. 

A “Pleasant Point” Along the Ohio River

“A pleasant point” was the description given by surveyor, George Washington, when he arrived at the confluence of the Great Kanawha  and Ohio Rivers. Today the town that grew there is called Point Pleasant in West Virginia. The beautiful Riverfront Park is a pleasant surprise here and a wonderful place to take a leisurely stroll with the Ohio River on one side and large murals depicting the town’s history on the other.You can glimpse the Silver Memorial Bridge close to  the point where the Great Kanawha River joins the Ohio River near the end of the Riverwalk in the State Park, Tu-Endie-Wei, which adjoins.

The Ohio River peacefully flows carrying boats of various sizes for many purposes.  There are coal barges, speedboats, riverboats, and luckily this day the spectacular American Queen, the largest steamboat even built in the world. Built in 1995,  this beautiful riverboat is a  six-deck re-creation of a classic Mississippi Steamboat.  Its flat-bottomed style makes it possible to even continue if the waters become shallow.

Murals are painted on the floodwalls flanking the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers representing scenes from the Battle of Point Pleasant as well as other pieces of Point Pleasant history, including the Indian settlements of earlier days. Each large mural, measuring from 100-250 feet long, has one single monumental scene painted by artist Robert Dafford. His murals can be found in several cities along the Ohio River from here at Point Pleasant, West Virginia to Paducah, Kentucky.

One depicts the 19-year old George Washington surveying the wilderness where he met Benjamin Franklin and some land speculators, who were founders of the Great Ohio Company. This group intended to found a new colony called Vandalia that would have encompassed most of today’s West Virginia and Kentucky.  What a surprise to learn that on the eve of the American Revolution, there were thoughts of creating a fourteenth colony with Point Pleasant as its capital.

On the other side of the murals is the historic Lowe Hotel, the largest landmark in Point Pleasant. Built in 1901 of Cleveland Berea stone and red brick, this monument was originally called the Spencer Hotel in honor of J.S. Spencer, friend and financial backer of the Smith brothers who owned the hotel.  At that time, traffic on the Ohio River was heavy, so a place to spend the night became an important attraction at Point Pleasant.  Today that  hotel is said to be haunted by guests who decided not to check out, one of those being Captain Jim who is waiting for his steamboat.

Two unusual metal statues of Chief Cornstalk and Colonel Andrew Lewis caught my eye along the Riverwalk. These were the two combatants in what many say was the first battle of the Revolutionary War…the Battle of Point Pleasant. The Virginia Militia led by Andrew Lewis defeated Chief Cornstalk, the Shawnee leader, and his braves, thus preventing the Native Americans from forming an alliance with the British. This in turn had a major influence on the outcome of the War of Independence. Their statues are located in front of a mural depicting the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774.

By late afternoon, the American Queen paddlewheels begin turning and the riverboat slowly, almost magically, floats away from the shore. Calliope music fills the air and seems to take one back in time to a happier, more peaceful way of life. This is a great spot to sit down in a swing and watch the river and your cares drift away.

The Riverwalk at Point Pleasant, West Virginia is located just a half block from Main Street and of course, along the Ohio River. Frequent festivals throughout the year are held here and it is often a stopping point for riverboats. 

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