kpanek on March 20th, 2012

March 20, 2012: SPRING IS ALMOST HERE!!!! I know it is true! No, I have not seen any ramps for sale yet, but the marquee at the Sunset-Ellis Drive-in proclaimed :

Drive-in opens April 20

Flea Market opens April 21

Need I say more?

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kpanek on March 10th, 2012

March 10, 2012: MountainFest 2012 will take place as usual in July. However, it pains me to inform all there will be NO VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE SHOW at MountainFest.  John Panek’s paintings will not be exhibited.

Tom McKee, the organizer of the Vintage Motorcycle Show will be holding some Vintage Events at his McKee Sky Ranch in Terra Alta, West Virginia – just a few miles from Morgantown. Go to this new web site for details of events and contact information. It is a beautiful place. I have been there and can attest to it!

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kpanek on March 9th, 2012

March 09, 2012: Today the sky is blue, the sun is out, and the American flag on our porch is waving in a gentle breeze. This is a day to turn one’s thoughts to the up-coming Arts & Crafts Festival in Shinnston. The second annual Arts & Crafts Festival will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 10 AM to 3 PM in Downtown Shinnston. Crafters and artists should contact Nathan Drain, Recreation Coordinator, at 304-592-6058 for more information and to register for a table. Registration fee for a table is $10. (In case of liquid sunshine, everything will be in the Lighthouse on Rebecca Street.)

The turnout for the first annual Arts & Crafts in Shinnston was such a rousing success of showcasing area crafters, artisans, and artists – in spite of the liquid sunshine we were blessed with (read about it on our previous blogs)  – that we expect bigger and better in 2012. A request has been submitted for a warm, sunny day on April 28. We hope to see YOU there!

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kpanek on March 4th, 2012

March 4, 2012: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 there were torrential rains, high winds, and flash floods all around north-central West Virginia. By Saturday, March 3, people were cleaning up the mess, the rain had stopped, the sun was out, and the water levels of the rivers and lakes were receding but the water was muddy brown and COLD! The temperature was 51 degrees but it felt a lot colder due to the steady breeze that was blowing – and this was so for people standing around in jackets – dry jackets!

The fourth annual Polar Plunge fundraiser for the Clarksburg Mission was held at Maple Lake yesterday. It was not as bad as a few years ago when they had to use a chain saw to cut through the ice so they could plunge, but it was to quote Laugh-In, “nippy on the bippy”! This year the theme was “Freezin’ For a Reason” and once again, Reuben Perdue was putting himself on the line for charity.

Making room for more root beer

This part of "Chugging" had a &100 pledge

Reuben has Chugged for Charity, chugging 64 oz. of root beer in 15 minutes, twice he has downed hot Buffalo Wings – these for Untied Way of Harrison County, and now, for the second time, he was doing the Polar Plunge for the Clarksburg Mission.

Today, on his 36thbirthday, Reuben has a smile on his face because he made his goal of raising $1300 in pledges. He announced that the person with the highest pledge could “dress” him for the plunge. Candidate for the Harrison County Board of Education Tina Canon stepped up to the plate. Although there were others who pledged more later, they ceded that to Tina. 

Getting his makeup on

Accessorized with his Manchester City scarf, Tina applies makeup

Reuben went down to the locker room with the outfit Tina brought and then returned for the completion by Tina, posing for a few photos when she was finished.

Reuben strikes a coy pose

A sweet, coy pose. Isn't he fetching?

There were several interesting costumes – a cowboy, a man in a tutu, Reuben in his (he was so cute), and Minnie & Mickey Mouse.

Mickey & Minnie Mouse jump in the lake

Too late to change your mind, Minkey!

Wave after wave of jumpers went in, monitored by the Bridgeport Fire Department for safety. Gillum House was on hand, as Reuben put it – his people – standing by with a robe as he emerged and then posed for the cameras.

Reuben after the jump

Muddy lakes ruin your makeup!

There was a nice lunch for all present in the Club House after everyone got out of the lake. The pulled pork was excellent!.

It was a very successful day of Freezin’ For a Reason. We will look for you in February 2013 at Maple Lake for the next Plunge.

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kpanek on February 29th, 2012

February 29, 2012: Through the centuries and right up to current times, there have been religious wars. Countries and towns divided by the religious of residents. What brought this to mind? An observation of a Shinnston tradition today is what.

In the book, The History of the City of Shinnston by Lena Poling Golden, it is documented that in the early days of Shinnston all the various congregations used one building for their services prior to building their own churches. They did not have “religious wars” then nor now.

Today is the second Wednesday of Lent. Each year either the First United Methodist or the First Baptist Church (located side by side in Downtown Shinnston) hosts the Lenten Services due to their central location and ample parking. The Community Good Friday Service is held in a different church each year. For Lent 2012, the First Baptist Church is host.

Rev. Bart Wheeler, a Nazarene minister who lives in Shinnston but pastors a church in New Martinsville, WV has the Bible Study in the Library of the Baptist Church at 11:00 AM every week. Ash Wednesday, Pastor Kevin Nuzum of the First Baptist Church did the Noon Lenten Service and his congregation provided the crock pots of soups for the soup & cracker lunch after the Service. Today, the second week of Lent Father Karl Wohinc of St. Ann’s Catholic Church did the Service and the soups were provided by his congregation.  Next week, Rev. Tammy Phillips, a Methodist minister will do the Service. There is a different minister every week with citizens of Shinnston and surrounding area attending the Service every week. Good Friday, all will gather at Family Life Fellowship Church in Enterprise, WV.

Christ Methodist Church

Christ Methodist Church, Shinnston

As President of the Shinnston Area Council of Churches (no one else will take the job), it is my duty to get the schedule filled. Being relatively new to Shinnston at the time and never being involved with the Council prior to saying OK to being President, I scheduled Father Karl for the THIRD WEEK of Lent. He did it, BUT he let me know he ALWAYS does the second week – so he can correct what was said the week before. (It is a funny for those who do not know Father Karl.) I have never made that mistake again! 

Charles Dtreet Christian Church

Charles Street Christian Church

You may ask, what the heck does this have to do with a Bed & Breakfast? What it has to do with is one of the many reasons I am so proud of my City of Shinnston, West Virginia! It is the only City in West Virginia with a Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, now in its 12thyear, which in itself is remarkable, but to illustrate the uniqueness of this Chapel let me tell you the Saturday night schedule I am aware of.

Chapel of Perpetual Adoration

Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, Shinnston

 At 9:30 PM the city’s Optometrist (a Methodist) will relieve the person who has been keeping vigil since 8:00 PM. He will be there until 11:00 when this Presbyterian relieves him. At Midnight a Catholic will relive me and keep the vigil until 2:00 AM. There are also Baptists and several other religions keeping the vigil for something we in Shinnston consider too important to let it go – the hours WILL be filled. Come visit our Chapel – it is a place to pray, meditate or just sit down and say, “Ahhhhhhhh.” There may be religious wars elsewhere, but not here in Shinnston.


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kpanek on February 15th, 2012

February 15, 2012: The Shinnston High School Alumni Association has announced to 2012 Homecoming Celebration schedule.  Gillum House Bed & Breakfast is located in the heart of Downtown, near everything. This will be a weekend full of activity and seeing old friends and family!   

Shinnston High School

Shinnston High School looks down on the City

July 20 – The Celebration begins with a Parade at 7:00 PM. (Remember how Shinnston loves a Parade?) To Participate in the Parade, contact Alice Bowman or Carl Felosa (Gillum House has their numbers). To be with the Community Band contact Gillum House. At 8:00 PM the party moves to the parking lot at Lincoln High School for a free catered party until Midnight (food until 10).

July 21: From 8 AM until Noon, there will be a Pancake Breakfast at the Baptist Fellowship Hall – all you can eat $5 (proceeds benefit the Baptist Youth).

At 10 AM and 11 AM there will be free trolley tours of historical points of interest led by Bobby Bice. Shinnston High School is the starting place. Pre-registration required.

1:00 PM enjoy a Concert performed by the Shinnston Community Band at the Fire Department. Local “garage bands” will perform after the Community Band Concert.

Noon to 4 PM there will be an Open House at the Women’s Club with teachers from Shinnston High School as Guests of Honor.

5:30 PM to Midnight Dinner and Dancing at Village Square. See the Shinnston Alumni web site for more information on photographs, menu, and costs.

July 22: 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM come to the FREE POOL PARTY for Alumni and family so be sure to bring your swimsuit

The Levi Shinn Log house will be open all weekend and the Alumni Room at the Museum will have hours during the weekend. Contact Debbie (Sawyer) Malone or visit the Shinnston Alumni web site for more information.

For room reservations call 888-592-0177 or book online at Gillum House.

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kpanek on January 23rd, 2012

January 23, 2012: I grew up in West Virginia, on a farm in Brooke County (Northern Panhandle), 5 miles from everything. We had a Wellsburg address (RD#3), a Follansbee phone number, and went to grade school in Colliers. The phone was an 8-party line – we were R4 and Granny was J3. St John’s Road was dirt until about 1957.

Since I was a girl, I could not hitchhike to the pool in Follansbee and girls did not go swimming in the strip mines (water holes that remained after an area was strip mined for coal). I got to pick 100 potato bugs for a penny, help weed the garden, bring in the cows for milking (later I got to milk them – by hand, no milking machine) and take them back to the pasture, and in the Fall, help with the canning.

I also got to roam the pasture fields, ride my bike up and down the 3 ½ miles of St John’s Road, read books, learn to cook, bake, and sew, and practice my saxophone (I actually became quite good). I would sit on a sawhorse and practice and look up at the contrails of the planes from the Pittsburgh airport thinking, I do not care where you are going, I wish I were on you. In 1970, not on a plane - I drove, going  to my Mother’s home territory – Chicago!

After 3 ½ years of flatland, I knew I had to go HOME. A week later I met the man and 5 kids that would keep me there another 19 years, bringing an infant son with me. I was more fortunate than a lot of the West Virginia exiles, I was given a reward for bringing up our “2-legged animals” and got to come HOME!! I am now in Shinnston in the North-Central region, Mountaineer Country, but it is West Virginia with a bed & breakfast I opened in 1996. I get to live in a house that is 100 years old this year, a house that was the “home place” to the Gillum family for 60 years. A house at least one of the Gillum grandsons still comes home to, the house his Dad was born in.

This reminiscing was brought on by an article a friend sent to me,  Native son writes a love letter to West Virginia . It was a story similar to mine, but different in that I got to go home.

Come see our West Virginia (his Paden City is on one of my routings) for yourself. Come see our hills, valleys, rivers, and more that hold our hearts. Don’t be surprised if they win yours also.

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kpanek on January 16th, 2012
Gillum House photo

Happy Birthday 35 Walnut Street

January 16, 2012: Thanks to the grandson of Troy and Anna Gillum, we have their original deed to the property at 35 Walnut Street, Shinnston, West Virginia.  From this deed ownership of the property can be traced back to 1877. We have good evidence the house currently located on that property was built in 1912. Troy and Anna Gillum purchased the house in 1918 for the magnificent sum of $2906.25. The bed & breakfast is only Sweet Sixteen this year, but the house is 100 years old! 

The lady who was across the street when we bought the house told us her house was built in 1911 and our house was built in 1912. Corroborating evidence is that electricity came to Shinnston in 1913 – and the light fixtures were both gas and electric. Our electrician found the last of the fixtures with gas a few years ago when rewiring them for us. This is the history of the house to say our Gillum House, although a bed & breakfast only since 1996, has a birthday this year – it is 100 years old! A CENTURY!! That deserves a celebration.

So we are giving the birthday present to our guests in 2012. Any reservation of 3 days or more will have the 3rd night for $19.12 + tax.  The rate for the third night will be adjusted at confirmation of the reservation. Come celebrate with us! Reserve online or call us at 888-592-0177.

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kpanek on December 31st, 2011

December 31, 2011: As we watch 2011 fading into the past, we reflect upon the changes to the Gillum House and to Shinnston.

When Kathleen returned from visiting her brother in Europe (and John from spending that month with kids and grandkids in Iowa), the Gillum House was given some attention. Rosi’s Room not only got cable, but also a flat screen TV with DVD. Then the full-size bed was replaced with a queen-size bed without losing the spaciousness of the room. A bench was added at the foot of the bed for better seating. The Harris Room was upgraded to a new flat screen TV and a Dolby sound DVD player. With the installation of the queen bed in Rosi’s Room, we added a new option for our guests – choose from our Menu of Sheets.  All rooms now have the option of choosing cotton, micro-fiber, flannel, or fleece sheets when they make their reservation.

Gillum House staircase

New carpet stair treads

We also added new stair treads on the staircase for beauty and quiet. We hope you think they are as nice as we do.

Shinnston has some new businesses and a well-established business relocated. Shinnston Plumbing moved from Pike Street to their new building on Charles Street. The new building is very nice. It is easier for customers to park and get into – not fighting traffic to get out of the car and no ramp to enter as the entrance is at street level. It is totally customer convenient. Duane Gump sold the old building to the City (thank you, Duane) and on November 7, 2011 the walls came down. Once the Shinnston Plumbing building was down, the demolition of the Rice Building could begin. Many people in the City did not believe the Rice Building would ever be torn down.

Shinnston Plumbing is down

Rubble all that remains of old Shinnston Plumbing

We photographed the stages of demolition from November 7 to the end. December 24, 2011 both buildings were totally gone and grass seed and straw covered the site of the future Community Building. The last of the equipment was removed from the site on December 26.

 Watch this site for updates on what is happening in Shinnston. Better yet, come see for yourselves what a City on the move looks like as the revitalization continues without losing what makes Shinnston – The Heart Among the Hills.

The new Shinnston Plumbing building

Shinnston Plumbing on Charles St.

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kpanek on November 23rd, 2011

November 23, 2011: There is an eerie quiet in Shinnston these days. Old-time residents no longer know when there is a call for the Volunteer Fire Department or the Emergency Squad. Thursdays at 8 PM are now silent. Guests at the B & B no longer have to be assured there is no tornado warning in the night.

Shinnston Plumbing and the Rice Building

Corner of Pike and Main on Dec 30

 For decades, there was a siren atop the highest building in Shinnston, the Rice Building alerting the Volunteer Firemen there was a fire call. Although they have been equipped with the latest technology for years, the siren has sounded. The siren is no longer.

Several years ago, the Rice Building was given to the City of Shinnston by the Rice family. It was determined the building was not able to be rehabbed for another use. Shinnston had no facilities to hold Shinnston class reunions or Shinnston resident’s functions IN Shinnston. City Council and the Blueprint/ON TRAC/Shinnston Development Authority determined Shinnston needed a Community Building. The Shinnston Seniors wanted a place of their own to meet and offered $100,000 toward the new building. City Manager Herndon stated that gift would be accepted – when the funding is in place for the new building. Shinnston received a Loan/Grant to acquire the Shinnston Plumbing building and demolish that building and the Rice Building for the location of the future Community Building. Shinnston Plumbing  has moved to a new building on Charles Street.

Nov 7, 2011 Demolition starts

Demolition Day 1 - Nov 7, 2011

November 7 the demolition began. We have kept a running pictorial of the demolition. There will be more photos taken this weekend, but this is what the site looked like on November 21, 14 days after demolition started.

The Rice Building on Nov 21

The Rice Building - Nov. 21, 2011

Yesterday, in the rain, our City Workers put up Shinnston’s Christmas lights. The City is beautiful with the lights up and the shop windows decorated.

Come to Shinnston and see what we are doing next. We will be building a Band Shell at the Park in the near future. Come see what a small City can do!

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kpanek on November 17th, 2011

November 17, 2011: Unfortunately, the Lincoln Cougars put up a good game, but were overcome by the experience of the Chapmanville Tigers. Lincoln had a wonderful season of 9 wins, 1 loss, and 1 play-off loss, a record many schools envy. Shinnston is very (and rightfully) proud of them.

Speaking of experience – once again, the Lincoln Cheerleading Squad will be going to State Competition in December. Anyone who thinks cheerleaders are not athletes needs to watch a competition! The hours of practice, the acrobatics they do… I NEVER could have done those moves the girls do, the jumps and tumbles! So just as we cheered the Football Team to the Play-offs, we will be cheering for the Lincoln Cougar Cheerleaders on December 10 as they compete for another State Championship, something they have won more than a few times in the past (at one point 3 out of 5 years). Go CHEERLEADERS!!!

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kpanek on November 12th, 2011

November 12, 2011: I was not born in Shinnston, nor did I grow up here. I am proud of having grown up on a small farm in Brooke County West Virginia (northern panhandle for geographic reference). I got to Shinnston as quickly as I could.

I was side-tracked with following the mantra a West Virginia kid hears – “there is nothing for you here”, which by the way is not true – and migrated to Illinois, to the Burbs of Chicago. I had a lot of family there since my Mom came from Chicago, but it did not take long for the call of West Virginia to tug my heart strings. One week after deciding I had to go home I met a widower with 5 children to add to my one. I was given, as a reward for taking them on, West Virginia! Anywhere I wanted in West Virginia. I honestly feel we were guided to Shinnston.

Why am I so proud of Shinnston? It is a small city that reveres GOD and Country – in that order. This city has never had “religious wars”. ALL the Churches work together, supporting the Lord’s Pantry Food Bank (organized under the umbrella of the Shinnston Area Council of Churches), funding the work of the Council of Churches, and ALL the Churches have members keeping vigil hours at the Chapel of Perpetual Adoration now in its 12th year and the only one in West Virginia.

Shinnston Veterans Memorial

Shinnston Veterans Memorial

Country! Shinnston loves this Country and has pride in their contribution to it. During WWII and for years after, there was a Veterans Memorial at the corner of Pike and Clement Streets, at the bottom of the hill leading to the High School. Over time it rotted and collapsed. Mr. Dwayne Hardman and the Sons of the American Legion decided it needed to be replaced. Through volunteer work and fundraising, a beautiful memorial to our military from the French & Indian War on was erected with plaques, In Honor of or In Memory of, placed on the walls. A Service is held there every Memorial Day.

Yesterday was Veterans Day. Downtown Pike Street was lined with American Flags. The Parade sponsored by the Lions Club started at 11 AM with the four honorees of 2011 as Grand Marshalls. The Color Guard from Lincoln High School’s NJROTC led the Parade followed by the Honorees.

Victor Andrick - WW II

WW II Veteran Victor Andrick


Victor Andrick who served in WW II led, followed by Jackson Anderson from the Korean War, and David Feathers from the Viet Nam War. The last Honoree was represented with a horse with no rider led by a soldier in

Korean War Veteran Jackson Anderson

Korean War Veteran Jackson Anderson

fatigues. This Summer, Samuel Murray finally came home from Korea, no longer MIA, now KIA.



Viet nam Veteran David Feathers

Viet Nam Veteran David Feathers



Riderless Horse - Cpl Samuel Murray

MIA/KIA Cpl Samuel Murray, Korean War

Jeremiah, Katie, and their daughter Laina were unable to stay for the Parade. Jeremiah was one of the Veterans the Gillum House was given the privilege of providing a room for B & Bs For Vets, a nationwide program. Eric and Sara were the other couple. Soccer Mom Sara had their chairs in the car. Both of these young men refused to be in the Parade saying they were not heroes. Both served this Country and their wives held down the fort while they served.

Eric is someone I want to tell about. Sara had told me he was an amputee but the stairs were no problem. We assumed he had been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. No, he told us, it was during a Special Forces training jump – BETWEEN tours in Afghanistan. His leg got caught in the lines as he jumped and it ripped his leg off. After he got his prosthesis, he went back to Afghanistan. After contracting Mersa, he lost a bit more of that leg and is now retired Special Forces. He is just one of the West Virginia boys who per capita, are the most wounded or killed of any State in the Union in every war since we became a State. Thank you, Veterans. Because you served, we are FREE.

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kpanek on November 4th, 2011

November 4, 2011: It is an exciting night in Mudville!! The Lincoln High School Cougars won tonight in their final regular season game. It was a hard-fought game with a final score of Lincoln 23 and Notre Dame Irish 20.  We ended the season 9 and 1. Lincoln was #3 tonight. We have to await the new standings to find out who we play in the play-offs. Congratulations Cougars. 

Gillum House is extremely proud to say the grounds of the Gillum House are tended by Lincoln receiver JJ Harrison. The hero of the game tonight was Key Club member Austin Weaver.

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kpanek on October 31st, 2011

October 31, 2011: Another Halloween is almost past. We had our first snow – just a dusting, thank goodness, that disappeared quickly. But Old Man Winter is eying us hard. The furnace has been running.

Although we are past peak with the leaves and many trees, especially along the tops of the hills and ridges, have shed their finery, I noticed today there are still many pretty leaves along the rail-trail and along the river. Down on the hillsides, protected from the wind are trees that have leaves that are not in full glorious color, but are still quite strikingly pretty.  The covered bridges are waiting for our guests to view the leaves along the road to them and around them.

Tree on US Rte 19

Shinnston tree in its glory!

The tree in this picture no longer wears this “Saturday night date” finery, but across the river on the West Fork River Rail-Trail are many that are still “dressed up” in their “Sunday go-to meeting” leaves.

We have a bit of a warm-up promised by the weathermen for mid-week. The sun was welcome and beautiful today. I am looking forward to the 60s by Wednesday. Book now for what will probably be the “last gasp” of leaf peeping.

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kpanek on October 15th, 2011
View from Rte 250

Looking across the ridges

October 15, 2011: Tuesday we took a ride on US Rte 250 north again. This is one of my favorite routes for our guests, whether in a car or on a motorcycle – except in winter! It has the twists, turns, and hills that make it interesting for motorcycles and the scenery that has everyone saying, “WOW!” In Spring and Summer there are shades of green as you climb to the top of the ridges and ride along trying to see how many ridges you are actually seeing in the distance. It is beautiful.

But in the Fall – LEAF SEASON!!! – it is in its glory. With greens mixed in to highlight the color! It is breathtaking. Even on a less than bright, shining day, the color comes through. From the road look across at fields, stands of trees, pastures…. It just gets more beautiful by the mile.

Then go down the grades (there are several 9% and even an 11%) seeing all the glorious color around the barns and out buildings.   

Coming down the hils

On a downgrade on US Rte 250 North

Then, as if all this color was not reward enough for taking this trip, go into Wheeling to Centre Market (24th Street) for lunch at Coleman’s Fish Market. Dirty Harry said it right when he said, “Make my day!”

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