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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]

Three months later, the governor and West Virginia's two senators jointly announced that the  Area Redevelopment Administration (ARA) would be providing a $14-million federal grant and loan package for tourism and recreational development of the New River Gorge region.

According to a 1963 newspaper article, construction of the revolving restaurant was to be paid for with the ARA funds [3], but for some reason the project was scraped and the fantastic restaurant was never built.


[1] Beckley Post-Herald, "Revolving Eatery Is Eyed",March 5, 1963, p1

[2] A Moveable Feast: A Brief History of the Revolving Restaurant

[3] Beckley Post-Herald, "ARA Seen Boon For New River Gorge Plans",  Jun 27, 1963

Space Neddle image credit: By Seattle Municipal Archives (Flickr: Space Needle at World's Fair, 1962) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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