:: New River WV: Home :: New River Gorge History: September 2016

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Posh Revolving Restaurant Overlooking the New River Gorge Once Envisioned

revolving restaurant
Imagine if you will, a mountain-top
revolving restaurant on the Gorge...
An elevated revolving restaurant providing breath-taking 360º views of the scenic New River Gorge was just one of the "development" suggestions described by Dr. Warden Lane, of the State Department of Natural Resources, during an early-1963 speech made in the W.Va. Turnpike's "Glass House" restaurant in Beckley. [1]

The location of the spinning eatery was to be one of the high cliffs overlooking the New River Gorge at Hawks Nest State Park, near the community of Ansted.  At that time, Hawks Nest was said to be the most visited state park in the state.

The inspiration for the whirling café was probably the revolving restaurant atop the "Space Needle" erected a year earlier for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. The "hovering disk" of the Space Needle that resembled a UFO was home to two restaurants: the Eye of the Needle, and Emerald Suite. Twenty thousand visitors a day had waited more than two hours for a chance to eat in the futuristic restaurant and even Elvis ate there. [2]

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Oak Hill's "Hotel Hill" Opened in 1928

Built by brothers William H. and Claude R. Hill, the hotel known as "Hotel Hill" opened for business in the Fayette County community of Oak Hill, in November of 1928.  The establishment provided accommodations for the traveling public for about 44 years, ceasing to function as a hotel in 1977.

Hotel Hill was built on the spot formerly occupied by an old two-story log cabin, built by John Kelley (Oct. 28, 1828--July 21, 1889), one of the town's early settlers, who owned the farmlands upon which most of Oak Hill's (west-end) business district was later developed.

Former Hotel Hill Building in Oak Hill, WV
Former "Hotel Hill" building on Main Street in Oak Hill, West Virginia

Suspension Span Design Once Proposed For the New River Gorge Bridge

A suspension bridge was one of proposed design alternatives considered in 1968 for the New River Gorge Bridge. In that year, the State Road Commission of West Virginia directed the consulting firm, Michael Baker, Jr., Inc., to proceed with the design of an 11-mile-long section of highway under the Appalachian Development Highway Program and including a 3,000-foot-long bridge spanning an 850-foot deep gorge, near Fayetteville, WV, in Fayette County.

By 1970, plans were being advanced for construction of the New River Bridge envisioned as a 2,400-foot long suspension span -- depicted in the artist/illustrator's rendering below. That same year, the photo was published in the March 10 edition of the The Charleston Gazette with a brief description of the suspension bridge that would be "the highest bridge east of Mississippi River.

Proposed New River Gorge Suspension Bridge
A suspension span was proposed for the New River Gorge Bridge in 1970