“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Webster Springs in Webster County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Webster Springs Hotel

Webster Springs Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, March 15, 2015
1. Webster Springs Hotel Marker
Inscription.  Built here by Johnson Camden in 1896. This hotel had 265 rooms and was the second largest wooden structure in WV. Equipped with an electric power plant and the first elevator in WV. Guests arrived on the WV Midland R.R. to visit Mineral Springs Resort. The hotel burned on July 20, 1925.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable PlacesRailroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1917.
Location. 38° 28.659′ N, 80° 24.774′ W. Marker is in Webster Springs, West Virginia, in Webster County. Marker is on McGraw Avenue near Main Street and Courthouse Square (West Virginia Route 15), on the right. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 96 N Main St, Webster Springs WV 26288, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Webster Springs Hotel (here, next to this marker); Webster Springs (within shouting distance of this marker); Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Steven Paul Mollohan
Webster Springs Hotel Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, March 15, 2015
2. Webster Springs Hotel Markers
The hotel was located in the area behind and to the left of the markers.
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(within shouting distance of this marker); Webster County Court Square (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First National Bank of Webster Springs (about 300 feet away); Coal Block (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Webster Springs.
Also see . . .  Wikipedia entry for Webster Springs. In 1897, Senator Johnson Newlon Camden had built a 265-room hotel of Victorian style architecture, which was larger than The Greenbrier Hotel built in 1913, which only has 250 rooms, named the Webster Springs Hotel. The hotel contained a tennis court, horse stables, garden, bowling alley, power plant, and Russian and Turkish baths, where visitors could enjoy the "medicinal" qualities of its salt sulfur waters. The hotel was also the largest wood frame hotel in West Virginia.

When first built, the hotel was a three-story dark colored building. After it was completed, construction began on a new, much larger section of the hotel, adding more rooms, and a new exterior color, white. The new section of the hotel contained up-to-date Turkish bath equipment, where guests could have sulfur water bath, window shutters, For many years, filled to capacity by guests and a greatly increased overflow which necessitated the building
Webster Springs Hotel Postcard image. Click for full size.
From J.J. Prats Postcard Collection
3. Webster Springs Hotel Postcard
Undated photo postcard with no legend. Postcard writer identifies the hotel in the message and says it “burned in 1926.”
of smaller hotels in the town. The hotel also raised its own cattle and provided some of its own food and milk. The hotel's ice house, according to Elizah Hedding Gillespie, His Ancestors, Descendants and Their Families, was capable of holding 150 tons of ice. The hotel was heated by steam.

In 1903, Colonel McGraw purchased the hotel and expanded it by 115 rooms, completed in the spring of 1904. Of the 89 "non-guest" rooms in the new section, 40 were for salt sulfur baths, which took up the entire first floor of one wing. The entire southern wing of the hotel was given to bath rooms, including; "the plunge," Turkish, Russian, Needle, Shower, and Steam baths. Of which they were offered in both fresh and salt-sulfur water.

On the interior, it contained stuffed bears, elks, and other wildlife of the local county in realistic poses. (Submitted on April 11, 2015.) 
Additional commentary.
1. Passenger Service on the West Virginia Midland Railway
The December 1925 Official Guide of the Railways, published after the hotel burned, shows one round trip a day Between Webster Springs and Holly Junction, where there was a connection with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. At 7:00 a.m. the train left Webster Springs and arrived
Today's Mineral Springs Motel and Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, March 15, 2015
4. Today's Mineral Springs Motel and Markers
at Holly Junction in Braxton County at 9:10 a.m. In the afternoon the train left Holly Junction at 4:00 p.m. and arrived in Webster Springs at 6:12 p.m.

The West Virginia Midland Railway is shown on the Guide as a non-standard gauge railroad, which means that railroad cars from other railroads could not travel on it. All passengers would have to change trains at Holly Junction.

Holly Junction was on a secondary Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line from Pittsburgh through Morgantown and Clarksburg to Richwood. You would have to take the 11 p.m. overnight B&O train from Pittsburgh to Clarksburg, lay over in Clarksburg from eight to noon, then board a second train to Holly Junction arriving in time for the WV Midland 4:00 p.m. train to Webster Springs. Clarksburg was also on an east-west main line, but you would have to spend the night at Clarksburg to take the noon train to Holly Junction. The salt-sulfur springs baths must have been a great draw because getting here was not easy or fast.

Neither the WV Midland Railway nor the B&O line from Pittsburgh is in existence today. Holly Junction has returned to forest and in no longer shown on current maps. It was south of present-day Newville, near the Holly River, now Sutton Lake.
    — Submitted April 12, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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Credits. This page was last revised on August 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 11, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 634 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 11, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   3. submitted on April 12, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   4. submitted on April 19, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Apr. 1, 2023