History of our Shinnston WV Inn

Shinnston History: 

Shinnston is named for Levi Shinn who settled in this area with his brothers and cousins circa 1772. By 1778 Levi had built a 2-story log house for his wife (Elizabeth Smith) and their 9 children. The original log house still stands on the original site. Your host has the permission of the Shinnston Historical Association to take her guests into the Shinn log house. Descendents of Levi Shinn and his brothers and cousins are invited to come to Shinnston to visit their roots. The Genealogy Room of Lowe's Public Library is open every Wednesday.

Today, Shinnston is an up and coming city. Council has created the Shinnston Development Authority to work with the Blueprint Community Team and with the ON TRAC (precursor to Main Street Community) Committees for the revitalization of Shinnston. With a City Park with zero-grade entry pool and water slide, Bocce Courts, Little League Field, Activities Park with basketball courts, and the Sue Ann Miller Trailhead of the 17-mile West Fork River Rail-Trail for recreational activities, a Museum, a Garden Club celebrating its 80-year Anniversary in 2009 by beautifying the City, the Dabblers Art Group and Shinnston Community Band providing avenues for the Arts, a good school system, medical facilities, commerce, and restaurants, Shinnston is a lovely place to visit and an even better place to live.

Willard West and "Willard's Warriors" (a group of retired volunteers who call themselves the Silver Foxes) built two bocce courts that are tournament grade, under roof, and lighted. Many tournaments, including the Italian Heritage Festival Bocce Tournament are held here each year. Thank you Willard and Willard's Warriors.

Shinnston Bocce Leagues are now playing for the Summer Season.

Gillum House Bed & Breakfast History:

The house at 35 Walnut Street was built in 1912 and purchased by Troy and Anna Brane Gillum in 1918. They were business and civic leaders during their years in Shinnston. Troy Gillum was the second Station Agent for the B & O Railroad in Shinnston. He served from 1911 until his retirement in 1957. The station was closed shortly thereafter.

In addition to being Sunday School Superintendent for many years at the First United Methodist Church, Troy Gillum served the City of Shinnston as Councilman, Mayor and Recorder/Treasurer. City Council committee meetings were sometimes held in the library of the house. Both of their sons served their Country in the military in the Air Force until they retired and one of their great-grandsons is currently following family tradition by serving our Country in the Army.

In 1994 John and Kathleen Panek purchased the house from the Harris family and in 1996 opened the Gillum House Bed &Breakfast, as it will always be known, as a haven for the weary traveler as they come back to Granny's house.  In 2008 a grandson of Troy and Anna Gillum brought a large piece of the history of our Shinnston, West Virginia inn back when he presented the Paneks with the original deed of the house at 35 Walnut Street when Troy and Anna purchased the house.


Your host, Kathleen Panek, has also been privileged to serve the city as a member of Council and currently serves the City as the Tourist Information Center (unpaid as the City Manager points out) and, as City Clerk, she holds the position held at one time by Troy Gillum, Recorder in his time period. She plays baritone sax in the Shinnston Community Band.

kathleenKathleen Moran Panek grew up in Brooke County, West Virginia in the Northern Panhandle, moving to her Mother's home state of Illinois in 1970. In 1975, Kathleen and her son married widower John and his 5 children. John rewarded Kathleen by bringing her home to West Virginia when all the children were "on their own".

 Kathleen was named 2006 WV SBA Home-Based Business Champion of the Year. In January, 2011 she was honored by her peers as the Professional Association of Innkeepers International presented her with a Champion Award for starting the B & Bs For Vets program. She was the trainer for the Louisiana/Mississippi Bed & Breakfast Association Conference & Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar in St. Francisville, LA 2006, Aspiring Innkeeper Seminars in West Virginia and Kentucky, workshops on Cooking for Special Diets in North Carolina, Louisiana, and West Virginia, and workshops on Marketing for Lodgings.  Over the years, Kathleen has been called upon many times as a consultant and advisor to aspiring innkeepers who are interested in owning a bed and breakfast. She has co-written a marketing tips column for iloveinns.com. 

John, a native of Illinois but a convert to West Virginian, is a graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago with a degree in Fine Art. His paintings are found  from Maryland and South Carolina to California. He has been honored to have been a volunteer coach to the Lincoln High School NJROTC Rifle Team who placed third at the 2009 NJROTC Area 3 Rifle Meet at Camp Perry, Ohio. One cadet placed first in Kneeling, Prone, and Overall!

While you are here, visit our Library Art Gallery to see his work, or you can see it in our online art gallery.

wwi-fighter  Artwork from John Panek

The Paneks take great pride in their 6 children and 9 grandchildren. Grandson #1 is in the Navy and daughter #3 is one of Chicago's Finest so Military, Police, and Fire personnel (current and retired with ID please) receive a special rate. Please indicate this when making the reservation whether via phone or online for the discount to be valid.