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Friday, December 30, 2016

The Story of How Mt. Hope Got Its Name (That You Probably Never Heard)

A commonly heard story, that attempts to explain how Mount Hope got its name, that involves Judge McGinnis, Egypt, pea vines, a school, and grazing cattle, might not actually be all that accurate.  A far simpler explanation outlined in a 1936 newspaper article suggests that the town was so named because Luther Warner, the first postmaster of the Mt. Hope, had moved here from a town named Mount Hope, located in the state of Rhode Island.  Since Postmaster Warner was probably called upon to supply the official name for the post office, he may have simply given the new post office the name of the town from which his family came.


Raleigh Register, "Named for King's City", August 23, 1936, page 11.  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fayette Memorial Building Dedicated July 4, 1952, First Used Christmas 1951

Although not formally dedicated until July 4th, 1952, the Fayette County Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Building in Fayetteville, W.Va. had first been used for a Christmas dance in 1951 under sponsorship of the American Legion. The building had its inception with the Fayetteville Businessmen's Association, whose members felt a memorial should be erected in the county in honor of those who had sacrificed so much in the service of their county.

Fayette County Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Building, in Fayetteville, W.Va.

Tiny Bank at Winona Was Robbed Four Times

The little bank in Winona, W.Va., was robbed on four separate occasions during its years of operation, a statistic which probably makes it the "most robbed bank" in all of Fayette County. Most tourists passing through Winona today, on their way to Nuttallburg, would probably be amazed to learn that Winona once had a bank, or that the town's population had grown to 1,100 persons by 1910, following the opening of several nearby coal mines in the mid-1890s. Following the demise of the area's mining operations in the mid-1950s, little evidence that Winona was once a vibrant and thriving community is left today.

Winona National Bank was organized on September 17, 1910, opening for business on December 1, 1910 in an attractive, but rather small one-story brick building, trimmed with cut stone, located near the middle of Winona. The bank operated successfully until 1959, when its assets were sold to a bank in Gauley Bridge, W.Va. Unfortunately, Winona's old bank building has since been torn down.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Bank of Fayette Opened Its New Home in Fayetteville in 1923

Back in 1923, when the Bank of Fayette officially opened its new home on Court Street in Fayetteville, W.Va., over 400 visitors signed the guest register, toured the building, and and enjoyed complementary ice cream, flowers, and cigars provided courtesy of the bank's managers.  One hundred and twenty two new accounts were opened that day, with new deposits totaling over $18,000

Bank of Fayette, Fayetteville, W.Va.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Mount Hope's YMCA Building Sold to Board of Education in 1933

The Loop Creek District Young Men's Christian Association building on Main Street in Mount Hope served thousands of men and women, boys and girls during the 1920s through the 1930s. The dedication and formal opening of the "Y" took place on Wednesday evening, February 15, 1922.

An indoor swimming pool was in service in the building, with regular gymnasium classes held during the winter months and tennis, "big ball," and other games during the greater part of the year. As built, the building contained a boy's department, ladies' department, swimming pool, bowling alleys, pool room, a 60x80 gymnasium fully equipped with a stage and dressing rooms, and a seating capacity for 500 spectators; spacious lobby, 18 dormitory rooms, a banquet hall, a completely equipped kitchen, and lockers and locker rooms.

Loup Creek District Y.M.C.A>in Mount Hope, W.Va.

In 1933, the Fayette County Board of Education purchased the building for $9,000, from The New River Company.  The original cost of the structure was said to be $111,000.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Mt. Hope's Two Surviving Company Store Buildings

Two of the New River Company's former company store buildings still survive in Mount Hope, W.Va. The building that housed the last company store in town is probably the better known of the two, which is located at the corner of Stadium Drive and Main Street, which is shown in the photo below.

Former Mt. Hope Company Store Building

The Day the Satellite Landed on the Fayetteville Courthouse Lawn

Vanguard 1 satellite image courtesy NASA
By mid afternoon, on that fateful day in the spring of '58, excitement ran high as word spread that a U.S. Naval satellite had landed on the courthouse lawn in Fayetteville, W.Va. It wasn't long before a crowd of lawyers, law enforcement officers, journalists, and concerned citizens gathered in the tiny sheriff's office anxious to catch a glimpse of the satellite, and to learn more about the object assumed to have fallen from space sometime overnight.

The crowd of onlookers soon learned that only a short while before, Dana Carte, a trusty at the Fayette County Jail, had discovered the strange object on front lawn of the Fayette County Courthouse.  Carte had immediately revealed his fantastic discovery to Jack Robertson, manager of the Fayette County sheriff's office.

Soon after photographers from three area newspapers began snapping pictures of the suspected satellite, a local official began to carefully examine every inch of the grapefruit sized object and the six antennas that extended from its body with a magnifying glass, finding a marking that read "Naval Research Laboratory."