Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Point Pleasant West Virginia’

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.


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. 

Mysterious Mothman Museum Keep Your Eyes on the Sky

“Something bad is going to happen. Don’t go back.” “Be careful girl, I’ll get you.” These were just a couple of the messages received by residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia after the appearance of what locals call “The Mothman”.

First stop on your Mothman adventure in downtown Point Pleasant will probably be the statue of Mothman at the corner of Main and Fourth Streets. This stainless steel sculpture by artist Robert Roach was unveiled in 2003 in what is now called Mothman Park. Red eyes are one of the outstanding features of this life size creature and are set to glow at night.

Today a visit to Mothman Museum will review the story of this unexplained mystery through videos, recordings, newspaper clippings of Mothman sitings, photos of the Silver Bridge collapse, and props from the Mothman Prophecies movie.

In 1966-67, over a hundred appearances by Mothman in the surrounding area frightened residents to the point that they were afraid to go out at night.  A seven foot tall figure would first be seen appearing to have wings with feathers, which had a ten foot wingspan. As it got closer the glow of its fiery red eyes seemed to be one of its most frightening features. Those who saw it would have terrible headaches, dreams, and visions.

At nearly the same time, UFO’s were also seen in town. Law enforcement as well as local residents were searching for Mothman and the UFO’s at night with search lights, as though they were searching for Frankenstein. The UFO’s were said to be disc shaped objects in the night sky with red lights encircling them.

Another mystery was the arrival in town of Men in Black. Really!  These men dressed in black suits would threaten those who had seen Mothman to silence…or else.  One newspaper reporter said the Men in Black visited her or phoned her and told her not to publish any more stories about the Mothman or UFO’s. One curious thing about them was that they never blinked their eyes. The government denied any involvement. These same Men in Black were seen crawling around the bridge before its collapse. This same reporter had visions of many Christmas packages floating in the Ohio River, which actually happened at the time of the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967.

When the Silver Bridge collapsed, witnesses reported it came down like dominoes. A loud cracking sound was heard and in less than a minute, the entire bridge collapsed into the icy waters of the Ohio River. Forty-six people died when the bridge completely disappeared under the water.  Mothman had appeared 13 months prior to the collapse, which occurred at Pier 13. Several possible reasons were given for the disastrous bridge collapse: 1) structural failure, 2) a sonic boom, or 3) the Curse of Chief Cornstalk.

While structural failure seems the most likely, could a sonic like boom have been caused by the sinister Men in Black crawling over the bridge shortly before it collapsed, or by Mothman’s wings?  Or was Chief Cornstalks’s curse responsible? Chief Cornstalk worked hard to keep his people neutral and was a member at treaty councils. When Chief Cornstalk surrendered in 1774 at the Battle of Point Pleasant, he signed a peace treaty with the Virginia militia, but a couple years later Cornstalk and his son were executed by the British. At this time, Cornstalk is said to have placed a curse of death and destruction on the town of Point Pleasant, as recorded in part here:

“I came to the fort as your friend and you murdered me. You have murdered by my side, my young son…. For this, may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this land. May it be blighted by nature. May it even be blighted in its hopes. May the strength of its peoples be paralyzed by the stain of our blood.”

However, after careful review, it was found that a weak eyebar was the most probable cause of the collapse, perhaps stressed by the additional weight of all the rush hour holiday traffic.

Many feel that the Mothman was a Prophet of Doom, warning the people that a tragedy was going to happen, as there are no stories of him attempting to harm anyone.  Fascinating Mothman appearances don’t seem to be limited to this one spot as there have been sightings around the world from Cincinnati to Afghanistan before major tragedies, for example: the earthquake in Mexico City, and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

Before leaving town  If you walk up the street a half block to the Ohio River you can also see along the Riverwalk a stone set at the place of the original Silver Bridge, which is just up the river from today’s bridge crossing the Ohio River to the Gallipolis area. During this visit, the American Queen can be seen docked between the two points.

After the Silver Bridge collapsed, there were no further sightings of Mothman, the UFO’s or the Men in Black.  Just mere chance? You decide. Best to keep an open mind as someday it could happen to you.  What will you do if YOU see Mothman?

Mothman Museum, one of the sidewalk shops of the famous Lowe Hotel, is along the Ohio River in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  Across the street from the Mothman Statue on Main Street, the museum is open every afternoon.

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