Daily Archives: November 10, 2019

Celebrating my birthday with the Philippi Covered Bridge

 

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One of the perks to my job is getting to see this historic bridge almost every day and today ( Nov 1st) I got to celebrate my 51st birthday with the 175th birthday of the settlement of the community of Philippi and the covered bridge.

The Covered Bridge in Phillippi West Virginia is one of the last two-lane covered bridge in the U.S. and the only one that has a state highway passing through the double arches.  Making the bridge an icon for the town of Philippi, West Virginia and the location of the first land battle of the civil war.

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Historical Marker and pedestrian walkway at the Philippi Covered Bridge.

The original bridge was built in 1852 by a local builder Lemuel Chenoweth from Randolph County, West Virginia. The Philippi bridge stood for 137 years before being accidentally caught on fire in 1989 and burning the bridge to complete destruction.

Philippi Covered Bridge fire from appalachin blacksmiths website

The closed Philippi Covered Bridge after the fire. image from the Appalachian Blacksmiths website

The bridge we see today was rebuilt to the same standards as the original two years later and reopened to the public.  The new bridge does include two new features, not included in the original plans, a sprinkler system in the bridge and a pedestrian walkway outside of the bridge. Making the walkway a nice place to see the bridge, the river, and downtown from above the water in the Tygart River.

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View of the Tygart River looking at the Philippi Covered Bridge 2018

Since I enjoy taking photos of the bridge so much, over the years I have invited several friends and family members to join me in enjoying the bridge and downtown Philippi. Yet, this day I walked alone in the icy air to the bridge to share in the birthday celebrations with State Officials, County Representatives, and City Employees. Hundreds of cupcakes and cookies were shared with the community.

Barbour County,West Virginia, Philippi Covered bridge over the Tygart River

Barbour County, West Virginia, Philippi Covered Bridge

On this cold afternoon, our community was lucky to have Senator Shelly Moore Capito come from Charleston to speak to guests and remind us that Philippi is a strong resilient town and that even a flood and fire have not stopped us from creating a friendly, thriving, educated community.  Several other representatives from congress and the city spoke to guests on the future of Philippi and their deep love for the place they call home. It was such a pleasure to be part of the celebration of 175 years of this community and its bridge.

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Senator Shelly Moore Capito speaking at the Veterans Park next to the Philippi Covered Bridge.

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City Manager Jerry Drennon speaking alongside the City Council and Philippi West Virginia Mayor.

With my hands full of cupcakes, I walked back across the river on the walkway to my office on the main street. Thinking about how thankful I am to be working in and for this community. The City of Philippi and I not only shared our birthdays together, but we are also partners in making this small community better for everyone who lives, works or attends college here on the banks of the Tygart River. I am not sure there is a better way to enjoy my birthday than to share a cupcake with a friend and think about the story of this town and how I can be part of it for another year.

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Categories: Birthday Party, Covered bridges, Philippi, Philippi Covered Bridge, Uncategorized, West Virginia History | 1 Comment

Beverly Heritage Center Lantern Tours

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Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love to attend events like the Beverly Heritage Center’s Lantern Tours. Every mid-October the Beverly Heritage Center in Beverly, West Virginia has two evenings of living history storytelling tours. You spend a little over an hour walking the main streets hearing ghost stories of real events that happened in the town. Tour guides take visitors back in time to the frontier days, to the Civil War, and the beginning of the turn of the century.

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Karl Mulac tour guide for the Lantern Tours at the Beverly Heritage Center.                       

At each major stop on the tour, guests walk the streets with lanterns to the front porch of a building where you hear a little history about the building. Then a narration is given by a living history actor telling a ghost story about those who have died in the area.  Included in the tour is a stop at The Logan House where civil war doctor John Huff performed the 2nd amputation of the Civil War. A stop at the historic Randolph County Jail where you hear Stella Collett tell about a strange shooting and trial. Then visitors stop at the local antique shop, The Goff House, where you hear about its use as a Civil War hospital and the boneyard.  The tour then crosses the main street to stop at Laura Jackson Arnold’s house ( sister to Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson) where you hear about her son being drafted into the civil war and his fight to come home.  Then everyone gathers at a settler’s log cabin owned by Jacob Stalnaker and meets his son Adam. Here Adam shares about how he unknowingly built his own coffin and was killed by Indians. Then finally you head to Bosworth’s store (now the Randolph County Historical Societies Museum) where you hear about a young woman falling to her death from a second-story window.  In between each stop Karl, our tour guide, shares other interesting information about many of the buildings located along the main streets. 

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A local actor is telling the story of Dr. Huff saving a Civil War soldier’s life who had a leg amputated in the house.

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Visitors watch Stella Collett tell the story of a murder on Elliott Ridge. 

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View of the Randolph County Jail as the sunset.

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Visitors stop at the Laura Jackson Arnold house to hear a story told by her son Thomas Arnold. 

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 Actor portraying Adam Stalnaker who unknowingly built his own coffin. 

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Lantern on the porch of the Stalnaker Log Cabin in Beverly, West Virginia.

Beverly Heritage Center, Beverly WV, Bank, Courthouse, Store and home

Beverly Heritage Center, Beverly WV,  where the tours begin. 

Beverly is a unique place filled with history and wonderful stories. The fall lantern tours not only give visitors the chance to share spooky ghost stories but support the preservation of these buildings and the history of the area. With a small four-block downtown, the tour is accessible to just about everyone. The Heritage Center can make accommodations for those who need wheelchair access.

My son who was 11 on our visit was overwhelmed with excitement to be allowed to roam the streets of a small town by nothing but lantern light. Then at the end of the tour, he asked if we could come back again next year. He really liked hearing the tails told by the actors and it opened a door to West Virginia history in a way he had never experienced before. So we plan to do the tour again next year with my older son, daughter in law and granddaughter. So they can also walk the cool dark streets and hear the tails of a haunted Beverly.

Events like these give kids a new way of looking at important figures and places in our past. Unlike the museum experiences, you become part of the story if only for an hour.  For a very reasonable $10 dollar entry fee, we spent an evening with ghosts, learned a lot about the history of Randolph County and helped to provide income to Beverly Heritage Center for the future.

Categories: Beverly Heritage Center, Beverly West Virginia, family fun, family memories, ghost stories, Haunted House, historic locations, Historic Preservation, Uncategorized, West Virginia History | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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