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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!!
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.
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 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
fatigues. This Summer, Samuel Murray finally came home from Korea, no longer MIA, now KIA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
October 7, 2011: We have spoken in the past about MountainFest and the paintings of John Panek. Today, I am telling how one can hear about your hosts at the Gillum House – in their own voices. We recently had a call from Mr. Z also known as Matthew Zanoskar, who is a very experienced motorcyclist and effective communicator. He wanted to interview us after seeing the article by Ed Youngblood on http://www.motohistory.net/.
He posted the podcast on his web site so go to http://biker.us.com/past.html and click on September 30, 2011 to hear the podcast of that date, the interview of Bikes, Bed, and Breakfast with John and Kathleen Panek. He interviews about John’s history with motorcycles and art and the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast.
A fun story about the interview – truth – John came into the Library/office as we were doing the podcast via Skype and sat in the “captain’s chair”.
John has a foot rest under his drawing table and moved his foot around to find one under the desk in the office. Well into the interview, the computer went dead! But it came right back up. The uninterruptable power source should have prevented that if it was a power glitch. Why didn’t it? We got reconnected and continued – but it happened again, TWICE more! At that point, I figured out what was happening. He was hitting the switch on the power strip and turning everything off!! We moved his foot and were able to finish. Mr. Z and his technician were wonderfully understanding. We had a great laugh.
Thank you, Mr. Z. It was a pleasure talking to you
September 24, 2011: There is no joy in Mudville, the Cougars lost last night!
The 1-3 Webster County Highlanders were coming to play the 4-0 Lincoln Cougars of Shinnston. It was a very strange night, one that would have thrown anyone off-kilter! First the Highlanders’ bus broke down on the way to the game. Thank you Lewis County, you came to the rescue to bring the Webster County team to Stydahar Field. That delayed kick-off. (Strike one!)
Then the scoreboard and game clock did not function properly. (Strike two!)And the PA system failed and the rains came – making Stydahar Field a true Mudville! Rueben Perdue was broadcasting the game – when the phone lines did not go dead and interrupt him. Per Reuben on his broadcast, time was being kept in the Press Box.
By the end of the first half, the score was Webster County 20, Lincoln Cougars 0. In the second half, Lincoln held Webster County to no score in the second half and rallied, but not quite enough. With a passing game and a muddy field and slippery football (Strike three!), our Cougars finished the game with a score of Webster County 20 – Lincoln Cougars 13.
Next week – Homecoming! Lincoln vs Grafton!
September 20, 2011: On Saturday, September 17, 2011 the Miss Frontier Days Pageant was held. The young lady chosen as Miss Frontier Days will compete in the Miss West Virginia pageant in Charleston.
Chosen to represent Shinnston Frontier Days 2011 as Miss Frontier Days is Chelsi Wade of Blacksville, West Virginia. Miss Frontier Days will reign over the activities taking place during Frontier Days 2011 starting with the Car Show Sunday, September 18 and the Gospel Sing Wednesday evening thru the Parade and activities Saturday, September 24, 2011.
Chelsi is currently a student at West Virginia University majoring in Nursing.
September 1, 2011: That is what Ed Youngblood titled his News & Views entry of 8/24/2011 – Bikes, Bed, and Breakfast. He starts the entry with this: “In 1952, Jonas Salk developed a vaccine that contributed eventually to 99 percent immunity to the polio virus, which had been the cause of the most dreaded childhood disease epidemic in America during the first half of the 20th century. John Panek, born in Chicago in 1940, was one of the generation born a bit too soon. The same year that Salk created his vaccine – but three years before it went into extensive distribution – Panek contracted poliomyelitis. But it did not seem to keep him from enjoying a normal and active childhood. Though he walked with a full leg brace and a crutch, and had partial paralysis in his right arm and hand, Panek became an expert marksman and by 14 was riding a motorcycle.”
Ed Youngblood is the premiere motorcycle historian and an author of several books and many, many articles. There is a bio of Ed on his web site and click here to go to News & Views, just scroll down to the 8/24 entry. Thank you, Ed!
August 31, 2011: As September stands poised and August says goodbye for another year, the nights are getting cooler. My favorite season is coming. The color season will soon be upon us. Our daytrip routings for scenic drives or motorcycle rides are beautiful in any season as this photo from the top of the ridges of one of our routes shows from just last week.
But in October, this is a gloriously beautiful riot of colorful leaves. Can you count the ridges you are seeing?
And then there are the covered bridge tours. The countryside around the bridges themselves is beautiful, but the routes between the wineries and covered bridges are totally awesome. And the setting at the wineries is
worth the trip even without the chance to taste the wines and shine! Even in the pictures one can see how the road winds through the walls of color. Do you want to see for yourself?
Book online or call 1-888-592-0177 for your reservation.
August 23, 2011: We have found a new attraction for our guests!! We now have a Wine Tour! Why visit one winery when you can visit two and have a great scenic ride while you do it.
Heston Farm Winery and Distillery, 1602 Tulip Lane, Fairmont, West Virginia is great.
We stopped by last week to locate it for our guests and check it out. The winery is just 1 mile from I-79 at the Pleasant Valley Exit. The drive in to the winery is beautiful.
Then you get to the winery. WOW! It is also the home of Pinch Gut Hollow Distillery. I tried a sip of their Apple Pie Shine. Once I swallowed, mmmmm – that was goooood!! The wine is good too. Heston Farm Winery and Pinch Gut Hollow Distillery hours are: Monday – Friday 11AM – 8PM; Saturday 11AM – 10PM; Sunday 1PM – 8PM. There is entertainment scheduled many weekends.
Heston Farm Winery is in the process of creating a wine in honor of Jade. Jade is a retired bomb sniffing dog, she served in Iraq. Jade is now a permanent resident of Heston Farm.
Gillum House then sends you on a lovely scenic drive that includes covered bridges and an antique mall as you wend your way to the second winery – Lambert’s Winery, 190 Vineyard Drive, Weston, West Virginia, just west of Weston. They have a nice selection of wines and a beautiful property. Lambert’s Winery hours are: Monday thru Friday-9am – 5pm; Saturday-11am-5pm; Sunday-1pm-5pm (April-December).
Gillum House has been sending our guests to Lambert’s for years and is quite pleased to be able to now enhance our winery packages with two wineries. Both wineries host weddings and other functions.