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WYTHEVILLE’S

Historic Walking Tour

visitWytheville.com 1-877-347-8307


Overview of Wytheville History

For ease of experience, this tour is broken into segments which encompass a geographical segment of the historic district or follow a historical theme. Shaded boxes indicate directions. While most of the tour locations are on the side of the street on which you are walking, a few locations will note “L” and “R” W SPILLER ST for the left or right side of the street and may require you to view a building that is across the street from where you are standing. Many of the locations will also have a white historical marker to designate the address of the location. W NORTH ST

Some of the properties on the tour are designated by a Historic District Marker corresponding to the street address.

Created by the donation of one hundred acres in 1790, the town that would later be known as Wytheville was established as the county seat of Wythe County. The name came in honor of George Wythe, a wellrespected Virginia lawyer, professor, and signer of the Declaration of Independence who, interestingly, never came to the area. Perhaps first called Abbeville, then Evansham in 1792, the town would take the unique name of Wytheville (there is only one community named such in the world) after a disastrous fire left a path of destruction in 1839.

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Always a transportation hub, the Great Road to the Western Frontier paralleled W MONROE ST W MONROE ST W MON U.S. Route 11 and portions of the town’s Main Street. In later years, U.S. Routes 11, 21, and 52 brought opportunities for increased business and many travelers. The community’s history includes the town being an early favored location for visitors who wished to escape the heat of the deeper south for the cool mountain air and beautiful vistas. The Main Street once thrived with numerous hotels and W MAIN ST W MAIN ST boarding houses as well as opera houses, theaters, and other entertainment venues. Multiple tragic fires destroyed many of these vibrant structures. Rebuilding TRINKLE took the community in other directions with a variety of business growth that has MANSION diversified its economy. The building of Interstates 81 and 77 in the 1960s and 1970s further secured Wytheville’s history as a crossroads with these two major W SPRI W SPRING ST north-south arteries intersecting. Industrial growth followed as the community’s central East Coast position made it an attractive location. The area’s ability to Index produce an abundance of water further reinforced the development. A focus on Overview of Wytheville History……………… 4-7 preservation, drive of entrepreneurship, and spirit of hospitality secured its place West Main St. Loop………………………… 8-17 as a thriving tourism destination. 1924 Fire………………………………………… 13

W FRANKLIN ST Courthouse Loop………………………… 18-21 West Main St. Loop……………………… 22-24 Polio History…………………………………… 25 East Main St. Loop……………………… 26-40 Edith Bolling Galt Wilson ……………………… 28 Elbert Lee W Trinkle……………………………… 30 WASHINGTON ST WW Artisans and Craftsmen………………………… 35 While this tour endeavors to take you on a journey through our town in a buildingPocahontas Page……………………………… 41 by-building manner, there are some interesting stories that shaped our history that Sacred Places Loop……………………… 42-47 do not fit within the tour geography. We have included these as an “Interesting Withers Road Loop……………………… 48-53 Story” and have noted them in areas where there are building gaps on this walk. Colonel Robert Withers………………………… 52 W UNION ST W UNION Brigadier General William Terry………………… 53ST Franklin St.……………………………………… 54 First St.…………………………………………… 55 Credits: Photos used by permission from the collections of John M. Johnson, African-American Loop………………… 56-59 F. B. Kegley Library, Mary B. Kegley, the Wythe County Historical Society Richard Henry Scott, Jr.………………………… 59 Library, the Wythe County Genealogical and Historical Association, Haskett Whyndham Meredith Sanders Scott…………… 59 (Shirley) Waller, and the Walters, Spiller, Waller collection. Our sincere W JEFFERSON ST W JEFFERSON Cemeteries………………………………… 60-63 thanks for their generous sharing for this publication. Genealogy Resources…………………………… 63 S 10TH ST

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The town has not been immune to tragedy. Two notable fires, in 1839 and 1924, destroyed large portions of the downtown. In the summer of 1950, the community gained unwelcomed national recognition as having the highest per capita outbreak of polio. The citizens’ resilience and community spirit in responding to an epidemic left a lasting impression for generations to come.

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Historic Walking Tour

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OVERVIEW OF WYTHEVILLE HISTORY Heritage Preservation Center

colors, running on to the field to play football and baseball. For a number of years, Withers Field was also home to several minor league baseball clubs including the Statesmen, Twins, Senators, Cardinals, Cubs and Braves. Home plate is still there in front of the grandstand.

115 West Spiller Street Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wytheville High School Athletic Field

Wytheville Ice and Dairy Plant

This building was constructed in 1934 as part of the Wytheville public school complex that included a high school, elementary school, and agricultural/shop classroom building. The high school building stood on the vacant lot beside of this building at the corner of Spiller and Tazewell Streets. It was a red brick Victorian structure constructed around 1890 and torn down in the 1970s. The brick elementary school building and the former agricultural and shop classroom building are still standing. On the upper floor of this building was the school library, while the basement served as home to the chemistry and biology labs. It was taken out of service in the 1960s and used as a storage building by the county schools until 1999 when it was purchased by the Town of Wytheville. After extensive renovations, it has been brought back to life to serve as the administrative, research, and educational center for the Town of Wytheville’s Department of Museums. The former library room upstairs, with its original limestone fireplace, provides a unique venue for live performances, meetings, and receptions. Archives and research facilities operated by the Wythe County Historical Society and the Department of Museums as well as special exhibits are located on the first floor.

Wytheville Ice & Dairy Plant at the corner of Spiller and Fourth Streets. The school can be seen in the background. Long before refrigeration was available in the average home, the Wytheville Ice & Dairy Plant provided citizens with cold dairy products and ice to keep their goods cold. It was built about 1890 and dismantled in 1947. From Spiller Street side of the Heritage Preservation Center, turn right to corner of Spiller and Tazewell

As you stand in the parking lot behind the Heritage Preservation Center, you can see a large American flag flying behind the wooden fence. If you walk toward the fence, you will be looking at Withers Park. Since its dedication in 1938, this park has been the home of a wide variety of athletic and civic activities. The original swimming pool adjacent to the park, McWane Pool, and athletic field were constructed by the Town with funds provided by James R. McWane and Robert E. Withers, two of Wytheville’s most prominent citizens and businessmen, for the express purpose of building an athletic facility for the citizens of Wytheville. It only takes a little imagination to visualize generations of students, wearing the Wytheville High School

Spiller House, Tazewell Street at Spiller Elementary School 4


OVERVIEW OF WYTHEVILLE HISTORY As you walk to the corner, you see Spiller Elementary School, where earlier stood the home of William Hickman Spiller and Susana Crockett Spiller. He was a prosperous merchant. You will learn more about Mr. and Mrs. Spiller along the tour.

Turn right on Tazewell Street, and walk one block to North Street. As you walk, note the above photo. The Wytheville High School formerly sat on your right. Stop at the corner at the Thomas Jefferson Boyd Museum.

At the corner, looking one block left, there is a civil war marker indicating the site of the Battle of Wytheville.

Wytheville High School

Boyd Hotel and Depot

Father of Wytheville Thomas Jefferson Boyd (1804-1893)

Perhaps during your time in Wytheville, you have noticed that Main Street and many other streets within the town are exceptionally wide. This community owes this aesthetic and maneuvering benefit to the man that history calls the Father of Wytheville.

For the next 54 years, until Boyd’s death in 1883, the development of Wytheville was a prime focus of his life. Records indicate that Boyd always seemed to be serving on the board of trustees (town council) or one of its committees throughout most of those years. Additionally, Boyd was elected to the Virginia General Assembly in 1848, where he served for two terms. During this time, one of his primary missions was to seek the extension of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad westward through Wytheville. His diligence reaped success.

Born in 1804 in Albemarle County, Thomas Jefferson Boyd graduated in the first class of the University of Virginia Law School. He established a law firm in Wytheville (then Evansham) in 1830. Historical accounts indicate that the practice flourished, but that he also had many other interests including the future of his adopted hometown. In the mid to late 1830s, he was the apparent leader of a group that petitioned the state legislature to incorporate the town and change the name to Wytheville. That petition was granted in 1839 and Boyd was elected president of the board of trustees. He oversaw several exciting initiatives in those first few days of incorporation including the rewriting of the town’s bylaws and the laying out of the town’s still wide streets. Main Street was laid out to be 90 feet wide, Spring Street was 60 feet, and Monroe Street was 45 feet.

The original Boyd Hotel, owned by Thomas J. Boyd, was located on Main Street. It was here that the engineers and others who worked for the railroad stayed. His enterprising business spirit led to the building of another hotel in 1857. This time, Boyd built a large five-story brick structure across from the new train depot. The Boyd Hotel was operated by Boyd until 1891. It also served as his family’s residence. Unlike the many visionary improvements he helped create for the town, the hotel did not prove profitable for him. In the over one hundred years since his death, Thomas J. Boyd has been lauded for the positive mark that his hard work and vision made on Wytheville. Several honors have been bestowed on him, including the naming and dedication of the Thomas J. Boyd Museum. Boyd died in 1893, at the age of 88. He is buried in East End Cemetery.

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OVERVIEW OF WYTHEVILLE HISTORY

Thomas J. Boyd Museum

Haller Gibboney Rock House Museum

Thomas J. Boyd Museum

Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum

One of five history museums in Wytheville, this facility houses a large collection of artifacts within exhibits on the Civil War, the Polio Epidemic of 1950, and other historical events. The building is named in honor of an esteemed early citizen—Thomas Jefferson Boyd.

Since its construction in 1823, this Federal style stone house has played a significant role in Wytheville’s history. It was originally the home of the town’s first resident physician, Dr. John Haller. This gentleman served the area as a country doctor, county coroner, and as a delegate to the Virginia Legislature.

295 Tazewell Street Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturdays vary on seasonal basis: June-Sept, 12 noon-4 p.m.; Oct-May, third Saturday, 12 noon-4 p.m., admission fee

205 Tazewell Street Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturdays vary on seasonal basis: June-Sept, 12 noon-4 p.m.; Oct-May, third Saturday, 12 noon-4 p.m., admission fee

Constructed in 1926, the building was used as an agricultural shop and classroom until 1950. In the 1950s, it was used as a physical education classroom, lunch room and storage room. In the 1960s, it was a recreational facility. The Town of Wytheville purchased the building in 1977 and opened it as the Thomas J. Boyd Museum in 1983.

During the 140 years that the Hallers and their descendants, the Gibboneys and Campbells, lived in the home, this family used their home to respond to the needs of their community. During the Civil War years, the Rock House was used as an infirmary and school. A bullet hole in one of the windows serves as a reminder of that time period. In later years, the structure served as a boarding house when E PINE ST E PINE ST Wytheville was a popular summer resort. As a Registered Historical Landmark, the home now serves as a museum containing over 1,400 original artifacts and period furnishings.

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OVERVIEW OF WYTHEVILLE HISTORY Interesting Story – Murder at the Boyd Hotel - Perhaps the most celebrated legal case in Wythe County history was a murder trial which occurred in the fall of 1855. James A. Graham stood trial for the murder of William Hickman Spiller and for wounding Conally F. Trigg, William Terry, and Oscar Cox. Graham was romantically interested in Spiller’s daughter, who rejected him, supposedly, because her father’s opposition to the relationship. Graham entered the Boyd Hotel (formerly the Wythe Hotel) on Main Street on the night of March 31, 1855, where Spiller, Trigg Cox, Terry, and others had gathered. Graham believed that the

260 W. Monroe Street – LOVEwork The large letters displayed here spelling out L O V E are part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s LOVEworks program. This state-wide branding initiative is designed to promote travel in Virginia and strengthen awareness of the “Virginia is for Lovers” message. Each community or attraction that is a part of this program designs their letters to showcase the significance of their area. The letters depicted here show some aspects of Wytheville’s history that have had an impact on the area. The L represents the influence of the railroad. The O showcases a hot air balloon, such as used in our elevated water tank in honor of the annual Chautauqua Festival. V depicts the two interstates that cross here, I-77 and I-81 as well as our branding theme of Wytheville...There’s Only One. E honors the history of baseball in this community at Withers Park behind this display.

men were talking about him. He shot and killed Spiller and wounded the three others. Graham had suffered a head injury some years earlier from a fall off a horse. Numerous persons testified to witnessing Graham’s unusual behavior on several occasions prior to the shooting. The trial lasted two weeks with nearly 200 witnesses including several physicians. Graham was found not guilty by reason of insanity (probably one of Virginia’s earliest such cases) and was committed to the lunatic asylum in Williamsburg, where he remained the rest of his life.

Cross the street mid-block and go left one block to the corner of Tazewell and Monroe Streets.

Corner of Tazewell & Monroe Streets, current location of Old Stage Mall and parking lot.

Tazewell and Monroe Streets Susannah Spiller, widow of William H. Spiller, complained that she could not “stand” the noise and commotion in the jail, nor the faces peering through the bars at her. Although the jail was burned by Union forces during the Civil War, Spiller’s widow ensured she would not be bothered again by donating land on Monroe Street for a new jail, on the condition that the old jail site would always be open public land.

Continue on this side of Tazewell Street for one block to Main Street. Stop at the corner of Tazewell and Main. 7


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Main Street - 1910 - From 4th Street looking east. Reflects wide streets designed by Thomas J. Boyd.

Main Street Wytheville

Main Street is located on The Great Road that originated in Philadelphia and became one of the major routes for settlers traveling through Virginia to the Western frontier. In 1790, Wythe County was named in honor of George Wythe, the famous Virginia lawyer and signer of the Declaration of Independence. In that same year, the first town lots were laid off on land donated by the Simmerman and Davis families. The Simmerman Tavern stood on the North side of Main a few doors to your right. The new town was given the name of Evansham. In 1839, the name of the town was changed to Wytheville to reflect that it was the county seat. In the early days of Wytheville, the Wythe County Courthouse straddled where Main and Tazewell Streets cross today. The building was severely damaged in Toland’s Raid in 1863. Right in the middle of this intersection stood a granite horse fountain. This fountain can now be seen outside of the Thomas J. Boyd Museum.

Old Courthouse with Fountain

In the mid-19th century (1840s and 1850s), Main Street was lined with houses, shops, inns, and hotels. Also during this era, there were many halls on Main Street that housed theatrical performances, music, lectures, and dances. Most of these structures were replaced in the 20th century. Today, you will primarily find brick buildings with first-floor shops behind glass and metal storefronts with dwellings, offices, or storage on the second floor. 8

Turn to your right and walk west on Main Street.

Old Spiller Building on Main Street about 1908. This picture shows stone curb and gutter which was removed about 1935 or 1936 during the Great Depression.


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END E WITHERS RD Kincer Miller, 140 West Main Street WITHERS RD LOOP START 140 W. Main Street – This structure has had HERE a consistent association with hardware. It became the Blue Grass Hardware Company in 1917 and the Kincer-Miller Hardware Company in 1926. It remained in operation until the early 21st century.

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T. Watkins Hatcher built this commercial block in 1950 to replace the Spiller Building, which burned in 1949. Early tenants were the A&P (102 W. Main), Kroger (120 W Main), Jewel Box (130 W. Main), the Western Auto Store (132 W. Main), and Miss Janey’s W Hat Shop W UNION ST UNION ST (134 W. Main).

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COURTHOUSE END TRINKLE LOOP START MANSION HERE 100 - 134 W. Main Street – In 1836, William This corner, three-story, brick building was W SPRING ST W SPRING ST H. Spiller, Sr., purchased the inn owned by built in the early 1920s. C.J. Hatcher operated a 911 POLICEthe Christopher Simmerman (Stophel Zimmerman). grocery store here. This building replaced FIRE, RESCUE Spiller operated the Franklin Hotel until his death Moorehead & Fisher Grocery that operated in 1855. Spiller already owned two lots west of beginning in theWYTHE late 1800s. Moore 4THand ST Co. CIVIC years the hotel, thereby, now owning the north block Jewelers was in COUNTY this building for many CENTER COURTHOUSE to become Smith Moore of West Main, from the Courthouse to the alley before it merged and Co.STThe location housed Smith Jewelers thatST later became North 2nd Street. This included W FRANKLIN W FRANKLIN ELIZABETH Spiller Store, with which he launched his career in for many years. The second floor, at one time, players 1829. After Spiller’s death, his widow abandoned was a rooming house for baseball BROWN MEMORIAL team their trophy house on Tazewell and lived in the when Wytheville was a minor leaguePARK Spiller Store. location. Several teams called Wytheville home between the 1940 and 1990s.

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WEST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP THE BIG PENCIL In 1948, John Campbell Findlay opened The Letter Shop (now Wytheville Office Supply). As his business expanded, it was moved to several Main Street locations. In the 1950s, Main Street (U.S. 11) was the main route through the area. It was Mr. Findlay’s idea for the businesses in Wytheville along this route to advertise by having a large object on the exterior that depicted the business. He led by example as he had the 30-foot pencil constructed and displayed outside his store. The idea did not catch on as Mr. Findlay wished and, eventually, Interstates

144 W. Main Street – This site held Catron Insurance Agency, Colonial Gift Shop, Elite Beauty Shop and the office of Dr. Julian B. Haller, dentist.

81 and 77 drew traffic away from U.S. 11, but the “Big Pencil” still serves as an historical reminder of another era. Visitors have made a point to see and photograph this Main Street landmark ever since. (Within this location, you can see another example of large art in the form of scissors that used to

Wytheville Office Supply, 146 West Main Street

hang above a barber shop entrance near the corner of 4th and Main Streets.)

146-150 W. Main Street – Constructed in the early 1920s, The Racket Store of G.W. Foltz, a dry goods emporium, was the first commercial occupant of the building. Miss Josephine Wohlford’s Millinery Store was housed on the second story. In the mid1930s, J.J. Newberry rented the structure to house a 5 & 10-cent store. It wasn’t until 1985, that it became the local landmark with the “BIG PENCIL” that it is today.

Edith Bolling Wilson Mural Before you cross over the Heritage Walkway, notice the mural that honors the life of Wytheville native and United States First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson. The 100-foot mural, titled “From Wytheville to The White House,” features eight significant scenes drawing from events of Mrs. Wilson’s life, including her birth, Native American ancestry, life as First Lady, her last visit to Wytheville at the age of 88, and her death in 1961. It was created by artist, Andrew Williams.

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148 – 190 W. Main Street – Earlier known as the “Ewald Block,” this site was occupied by the harness and saddle store of J.H. Ewald & Brother and by Joseph Ewald Hardware. Most of the current structures in this northwest block of Main Street were constructed in the early 1900s. In an era when virtually all commercial activity occurred on the Main Street of a town, there were many interesting businesses including T. Boyd Brown’s Confectionery, Swecker’s Place, the Sugar Bowl, the Virginia Café, Mendes Department Store, Owens & Owens Drug Store as well as jewelry, clothing, apartments, and other stores.

Circus Parade on Main Street, 148-190 West Main

Heritage Walkway connecting Withers Park to Elizabeth Brown Memorial Park

200-208 West Main Street - Frank and Company, a men’s clothing store, occupied this location in the 1920s; Washington Café in the 1950s. The first location of the Millwald Theatre was 207 West Main.

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First National Bank, 1960s 210 W. Main Street – The former First National Farmers Bank building, Smith’s Jewelers moved into this location in 1978 and operated there for over 40 years. A variety of offices utilized the upstairs through the years, including the law offices of Wytheville’s long-time Mayor, Trenton G. Crewe, Jr.

in the 1970s. Crest closed in 1981. Recent 262 W. Main Street – Attorney Thomas revitalization has brought the structure back F. Walking built this building between to business use. 1926-1930. Walker’s office was located in the second story. E. L. Garrett owned and Cedar Run, the town branch, flows under managed Garrett’s Department Store at this Main Street at this location. The branch location. (Note the traces of the store sign has its source in the Jack Berry Spring on N. painted on the side of the building.) 4th Avenue. The branch presented a traffic problem for almost a century as Cedar Run 266-270 W. Main Street – Gleaves Kincer often flooded Main Street. The town’s first built this structure in the mid-1920s, probably bridge was built over this branch as part of after the 1924 fire. Commercial tenants have Main Street in the early 1790s. In 1936, the always occupied the street level while the level of Main Street was raised several feet. second story was originally the Midway This caused the lowering of levels of homes, Rooming House at 268 W. Main.) including the Sexton House, originally a fourstoried house, including attic and basement. 272 W. Main Street – Originally the location On it’s journey toward Reed Creek, Cedar of the Bijou Theater, where the first moving Branch is reinforced by the waters of a spring pictures were shown in Wytheville, the Wythe at the former high school site and another on Theater building was built on this site in 1938. Frog Level, the present location of Wytheville In addition to the theater, it housed a jewelry Baptist Church. The branch was an industrial store and professional offices. The interior asset as well as provision of water for the early was rebuilt after a fire occurred in 1961. town settlement. The Simmerman tavern, the Sexton tannery and foundry, and the McWane 276-280 W. Main Street - Latane’s Restaurant Fourth Avenue foundry all derived benefits served “ choice steaks and seafood” at 276 from it’s water. Rich’s Furniture and Coffin W. Main. Smith’s Jewelry Store was once Factory conducted the water to its plant. located at 280 W. Main. Julian D. White was Several mills were supplied with power by the proprietor of the Blue Ribbon Lunch this stream before it poured into Reed Creek. Restaurant at 280 W. Main in the early 1920s and 30s.

212 West Main Street 212 W. Main Street – C.N. Otey and his sons operated Central Drug Store beginning in the 1910s. The firm’s original building burned in1924 and the present building was erected in its place. 230 W. Main Street – Known as the David A. St. Clair (a prominent printer) building, the former structure at this location held a general merchandise store in 1924 belonging to Saul Alper. He and his family lived above the store. It was destroyed in the 1924 Fire. The lot remained vacant until 1960 when the current building was constructed for Crest Department stores, a retail chain of the time. Ironically, it also experienced a fire

290 West Main Street, looking east circa 1975 290 W. Main Street – This corner location was originally a grocery in the late 19th century. A bakery was in the rear. In the 1910s, the building housed a cinema, and in the 1920s, it was the Eddie Foltz Department Store. Another popular downtown store, Dee’s Cut Rate, was here for many years. 12


1924 FIRE winds quickly spread the fire both east and west. By 8:00 a.m., fire departments from both Pulaski and Marion had arrived to help the Wytheville Fire Department combat the growing blaze. Historical accounts say that as the fire progressed, large limestone rocks in the structure’s foundation at the focal point of the blaze became so hot that every so often one of them would “pop like a shotgun.” So intense was the heat that the front windows of establishments on the south side of Main Street began to melt. While the contents of a few buildings were salvaged before the worst of the fire reached them, it was impossible to save 36 brand new Ford cars which were stored by Wythe Motor Company via an old stage elevator in the upstairs of one building. One of the most spectacular moments of the blaze occurred when the fire weakened the floor joists resulting in the entire floor, cars and all, to crash to the floor below. The impact created “huge clouds of sparks and dense smoke up high into the sky with a great roar.” Thanks to the assistance of neighboring fire departments, the fire was effectively controlled by 10 a.m. that morning, though the ruins smoldered for several days. The estimated loss was $250,000 in 1924 dollars (over $3.5 million in today’s dollars.) Only about half of the losses were covered by insurance. Amazingly though, there was no loss of life. Wytheville experienced several large fires prior to and after this one, but the 1924 fire would go down in history as the most destructive. The resilience of the community would insure that rebuilding would occur.

Main Street Fire

Interesting Story - 1924 FIRE It was a cold Saturday morning, March 8, 1924, when a fire broke out on Main Street. Discovered around 4:30 a.m. in the back of the old David A. St. Clair building, this fire would eventually destroy over 25 structures in the downtown district. The fire spread so quickly that by the time Herman Sollod awoke and discovered the blaze, it had spread through the upstairs flat where he resided with his sister, Mrs. Saul Alper, her husband, and their baby. By this point, the stairs of the building were already destroyed so Mr. Alper jumped from the second floor window. His wife threw their baby to him and he safely caught the child. Mrs. Alper and her brother, Mr. Sollod then jumped. They were both injured. March winds were extremely high on that morning and the temperature was far below freezing. Members of the Wytheville Fire Department would later recount that the weather was so severe that their hands kept freezing to the fire hose. These

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1924 Fire Photo


WEST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP Cross Fourth Street.

Northeast Corner of Main and 6th Streets (no longer stands) – C. N. Otey Residence – This brick dewelling was probably built in the early 1890’s. There were two living rooms, a dining room, a bedroom, a butler’s pantry, and a kitchen on the first floor and four or five bedrooms on the second floor. It was later used for school board offices until they moved to a new site adjacent to George Wythe High School. Soon afterward the house was torn down. Fourth Avenue Hotel, 300 West Main Street

Cross Sixth Street.

Fourth Avenue Hotel, looking East on Main Street 320 W. Main Street (no longer stands) – This corner location was once the site of the Fourth Avenue Hotel. During its 90 year run (18841972), this hotel was a mecca for salesmen and summer boarders. In its early years, a horse-drawn bus transported patrons from the train depot to this location with a wagon carrying the luggage. It was also a center for social activity with dances featuring orchestras held in the spacious ballroom. Peter Gibson, an African-American businessman, operated a barbershop at the Fourth Avenue Hotel before 1900.

460 W. Main Street (no longer stands) – For the past several decades, this address has been the location of the local newspaper, the Wytheville Enterprise. Previously, the Lion Lodge stood on this site. This facility was called a “modern home for tourists.” Rooms were touted to have hot and cold water and guests could enjoy meals for 50 cents, except Sunday and Holiday meals which were 75 cents. Two lion statues guarded the front steps, giving the structure its name. These statues now adorn the grounds of a nursing home and retirement facility several miles away.

INTERESTING STORY - The Significance of Water – At one time, Wythe County had no fewer than three lithium water springs. The town spring provided chalybeate (iron) waters. The town branch, Cedar Run, flows under the town through a series of limestone caves. Wytheville’s waters were prized for their curative powers. It was advertised that “delicate ladies and feeble children are especially benefited by the use of this water.” Today, businesses, such as Pepsi and Gatorade, have located industrial plants here because of Wytheville’s ability to produce an abundance of water. 14


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Peirce House, 490 West Main Street 490 W. Main Street – The Henry Whitman home site, a two-story 555 West Main Street stone dwelling built about 1820, formerly stood on the site. Henry 555 W. Main Street – This house was built in 1947 for Maudealyne Whitman was engaged in the saddle and harness business. The present house, built between 1913 and 1921, was owned in the 1950s by Horney. Robert L. Peirce. A fire gutted the premises in the 1990s, but it has been rebuilt in the same location. Carefully cross Main Street at Eighth Street, and turning right, continue west on Main Street.

Elknirt, 525 West Main Street 525 W. Main Street – William S. Trinkle, brother of Governor E. Lee Trinkle and Clarence Trinkle, built this stylish residence in 1912. The house was named “Elknirt”—Trinkle spelled backwards. The home had an impressive seven fireplaces, two large bathrooms on the second floor, as well as steam heat and a built-in central vacuum system, all uncharacteristic for the time. In the 100 years since, the structure served as a funeral home and law offices before a complete restoration was done and it was opened to the public as a bed and breakfast in 2007.

Octagonal House, 585 West Main Street 585 W. Main Street – The process of this building’s construction is as unusual as its shape. The construction of the home was begun about 1870 by Dr. Henry Quincy Adams Bowyer. It was sold to Rev. Dexter A. Snow in 1874 whom had the construction completed. This octagon mode two-story brick house has a semicircular portico on the front supported by Doric columns. The house is a rare example of the octagon mode of construction championed by New York architectural theorist Orson S. Fowler in the mid-1800s. Side wings were added in 1890.

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Cross Tenth Street.


WEST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP Continue on West Spring, turning left on S. Eighth, and returning to West Main. Continue right (east) on West Main.

First Christian Church, 605 West Main Street 605 W. Main Street – This one-story frame church building was built in 1879. It has a limestone foundation with front entry double doors and lancet-arched stained glass side windows. The congregation orig485 West Main Street inally formed, as “Wytheville’s Disciples of Christ,” in 1866 and had to vacate their first location in 1878 after a fire. The location is now the 485 W. Main Street – The Sanborn maps indicate that this house was constructed between 1908 and 1913; deed records suggest it was home of the First Christian Church. built by David A. Cregger. In 1916, Rolfe S. Ewald contracted for phone Return to S. 10th Street, turn right, follow 10th south service with Wythe Mutual Telephone Company for his home here for for one block, turning left on Spring, and walk $1.50 per month. ½ Block to 565 W. Spring Street on your left. Interesting Story - One prominent visitor to the Boyd Hotel (the second Boyd Hotel at the train depot) was Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Santa Anna was briefly the president of Mexico (1833) and was part of the Texas Revolution. He was exiled by Benito Juarez, then President of Mexico, in 1867. During his visit to Wytheville, Colonel Thomas J. Boyd, then in his 60’s, escorted the former dictator back to his train in “none too gentle a manner” as it was termed in the local newspaper.

Bethlehem Baptist Church, 565 West Spring Street 565 W. Spring Street - Between 1883-86, the Bethlehem Baptist Church was built, complete with a balcony, for a price of $900. It is the second oldest African-American church in Wytheville. The church conducted services at this location for 85 years.

465 West Main Street 465 W. Main Street – This two-story frame and possibly log house with weatherboard siding was built between 1908 and 1913. It is likely that it incorporates an earlier log dwelling that was moved to this location.

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Holy Trinity Lutheran Church 405 West Main Street

405 W. Main Street – This Gothic Revival style one-story brick church was constructed in 1876. It was designed by prominent SE architect Alexander C. Bruce with construction carried out by local companies. The church basement was used as a private school during the 1880s and 1890s. The narthex and spire were added in 1897. In 1924, the Trinity and St. John’s congregations were merged, and Trinity became the successor of the historic mother church located on 4th Street. An almost complete renovation in 1954 added the beautiful windows on the east and west walls to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

Old Virginia House, RK Shores Hotel

Cross 6th Street.

Pless Building, Main Street & Fourth Avenue John L. Porterfield House, 385 West Main Street 385 W. Main Street (no longer stands) – John L. Porterfield purchased the Rich Brothers casket and funeral business in 1909. Following his death in 1933, his widow, Pearl Huffard Porterfield continued the business with John F. Minnick as assistant manager, selling her interest in the business to Mr. Minnick in 1953. The Porterfield-Minnick Funeral Home continued to operate in the home of Mrs. Porterfield until 1956 when the business moved to 525 W. Main Street. It was purchased by William Grubb in August 1973 and continues to operate today, at another location, as Grubb Funeral Home.

Corner lot at Main and S. 4th Street (neither stand) – The John A. Beville Hotel, which was in operation prior to 1875, was located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue. Following Beville’s death, the property was purchased by L. D. Hancock, who called it the Hancock House, and operated it until his death in 1889. The Western Hotel adjoined the Hancock House to the west. Operated by R.K. Shores, it was sometimes known as Shores Hotel and/or the Virginia House. In 1907, George and Will Rich, sons of W. W. Rich and grandsons of Fleming Rich, built the Rich Brothers Store as retail outlet for their furniture. They were in business from 1904-1943. The building stood on the site of the Hancock Hotel, and continued to be used as a furniture store.

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Simmerman, South 4th Street 275 S. 4th Street (no longer stands). This house incorporated an earlier dwelling, possibly antebellum in date, that was formerly owned by William Hayes and possibly W. Stewart. Colonel S. S. Simmerman remodeled the house in 1913, adding a new front section to the original house. Simmerman represented Wythe County in the legislature. At E LIBERTY ST mid-century, the house was used as a hospital, and in the 1960s, it housed the Wytheville Community College. It held county offices until it was razed for the courthouse addition. R

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COURTHOUSE LOOP Cross West Washington Street

435 South 4th Street, looking south Simmerman House, South 4th Street, enclosed within Courthouse Building. 345 S. 4th Street. George W. and Virginia Kathryn Phipps Simmerman House was built in the 1920s, possibly incorporating the G. S. Bruce House. Simmerman was a cattle rancher, owning 2,000 acres of Wythe County farmland. After Mr. Simmerman’s death, according to the terms of a trust, the home became a retirement home. The building now houses county government offices.

375 South 4th Street 375 S. 4th Street – The Steven Ewald House is probably a reworking of a late nineteenth century dwelling. Occupied for many years by the J.C. Tarter family, Tarter was among the first graduates of the Medical College of Virginia and was known as “the horse and buggy doctor.” He was one of the first residents to own an automobile. The house features several Victorian architectural elements such as an angled corner turret.

405 S. 4th Street

405 & 435 S. 4th Street – William Krenning, general manager of the Wytheville Woolen & Knitting Mills Company in 1893, built the Queen Anne house on the corner in 1900. His son, Louis Frederick Krenning, an attorney, constructed the home next door to the left.

495 South 4th Street 495 S. 4th Street – Built in 1880, this two-story frame house was the home of the family of Dr. Charles Wythe Gleaves. Dr. Gleaves served as President of 1st National Farmers Bank. He was father to four interesting daughters, all born before 1900. Anna Gleaves Rich became a professional genealoglist. She joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) with eleven patriot ancestors. Alice Gleaves was a musician who gave violin lessons. Laura Keene Gleaves married Earnest Graham Robinson of Graham’s Forge. She was quite a social butterfly. Later, as a widow in the Gleaves home, she had many parties. Belissa Gleaves, the youngest, wore pants, loved hunting, and could shoot better than most men. She had a shop in the back of the house where she made and repaired furniture.

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COURTHOUSE LOOP Cross West Union Street

490 South 4th Street 490 S. 4th Street. A “Miss Molley” appears to have been the original owner of this house. An 1880’s photograph shows it without its present porch. The main living portion of the house was on the second floor; the street level included an English kitchen and dining room. James H. and Mary Jane Umberger Patterson moved into this house in 1907. The Patterson’s son, Robert, Wythe County Circuit Court clerk, owned the house in the mid-20th century. 515 S. 4th Street. This house appears as the Joseph Ewald residence in the 1880 Gray map. Carefully cross South 4th Street and walk north to your left back towards Main Street

510 South 4th Street, “Park Place” 510 S. 4th Street. This house, on a triangular lot, belonged to the Sweckers. Mrs. Swecker named it “Park Place” because it was such a lovely place for a little park. The name appears in the stained glass bay window. 430 S. 4th Street. George C. Atkins occupied this house in 1908. He made Atkins Country Sausage. The Campbell Findlay family later Cross Union Street. purchased the home. Mr. Findlay owned Wytheville Office Supply and is responsible for erecting the big yellow pencil at his store location. 20


COURTHOUSE LOOP Cross West Washington Street and continue north toward Main Street

390 South 4th Street 390 S. 4th Street. Built or purchased about 1881, this served as the cottage home of the Charles Phillip McWane family. (His first home and small iron foundry were located at Jefferson and 10th Streets, across from the Wytheville Livestock Market.)

350 South 4th Street Humphrey-Davidson Hardware Store 350 S. 4th Street (no longer stands) - The Humphrey-Davidson Hardware Store stood at this location. The store carried Johnson Harvester equipment. The building burned to the ground in 1912.

Judge Fulton House 260 S. 4th Street (no longer stands) – Judge William Edward Fulton, attended VMI and studied law under his father, Judge Andrew Steele Fulton, and his brother, Judge John Hall Fulton II. He served as judge of the Wythe County Court, following a line of attorneys and judges. He married the daughter of Major David Peirce Graham and built a house on South Fourth Street diagonally opposite the Court House.

Interesting Story - William Fulton’s brother, John Hall Fulton II, lost his left leg at the Battle of Chancellorsville. An often-told tale was of a visit John Fulton made to the home of Major David Graham. The young daughter of the family, not yet three, was instructed not to mention the missing leg. At one point during the visit, little Elizabeth walked carefully around the judge’s chair, stopped, and being careful not to mention his leg, inquired, “How many legs did your mother have?”

McWane Foundry First McWane Foundry (1871) (no longer stands) Charles Phillip McWane moved his foundry to this location on Cedar Run. The operation was later moved to Lynchburg under the name of his oldest son, Henry E. McWane. The Lynchburg Foundry Co., and the Lynchburg Plow Works became two of the largest industries of their kind in the state. James R. McWane, another son, established a large pipe foundry in Birmingham, Alabama, and another in Provo, Utah. It may be said that the little foundry Charles P. McWane started is the birthplace of the largest plants in Virginia and Alabama. James R. McWane and Robert E. Withers donated approximately $75,000 to Wytheville for an athletic field, swimming pool, golf course, and club house. The site was later sold to Humphreys-Davidson Hardware Company.

250 S. 4th Street – Now known at the 4th Street Civic Center, this building was constructed in the early 1970s to be the town’s community and recreation center. Behind the brick structure, you will find Elizabeth Brown Memorial Park. This beautiful setting was conveyed to the Town in 1966 by D.L. Barnett, Sr., and his wife, Lucy Ethel Barnett. The land is watered by the Town Branch. In later years, it was developed into a park and named in honor of a local citizen. It is the setting for many events throughout the year, most notably the Wytheville Arts Council’s Chautauqua Festival. This annual eight-day event during the third week of June showcases local and regional artisans and musicians with a variety of activities. 21


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WEST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP Cross Spring Street and continue north to the corner of 4th and Main Streets. Turn right on Main.

279 W. Main Street – Built shortly after World War II by Sam Veneziano, this one-story masonry building was a boot and shoe store until 2017. 275 W. Main Street – Constructed as rental store space in 1941, this building was built by Lonnie P. Phillips and his son, O.P. “Preach” Phillips. The Phillips constructed and remodeled several buildings in the area and operated a construction business for many years. Because of early wartime rationing, 25-foot long wood joists were used rather than the preferred steel joists. A restaurant was located in the building in the 1950s.

Sexton House, 287 or 289 West Main Street, with wagons

215-213 W. Main Street – This three-story building was constructed in 1946 to house Hobert N. Grubb Inc., a plumbing and electrical supply business. In the early 1900s, Pocahontas Monroe Page, an AfricanAmerican restaurant owner, operated the Cozy Café in a structure on this block. It was advertised as “one of the best eating places in the South” and was known for its fried oysters and homemade pies. It relocated to Church Street after the 1924 fire. 211-209 W. Main Street - The Grubb Building housed a beauty shop, a photography studio, law offices, an optometrist and insurance offices on the street level and Pendleton Construction Corporation on the second level.

Sexton House, 287 or 289 West Main Street 289 W. Main Street – The Sexton Stone House was built on this location before 1810. Historical records refer to this area as the “Sexton Block” as Gray’s Map of 1883 shows the entire block bounded by Main, Fourth, Second, and Spring, as belonging to John Sexton. John and David Sexton, sons of Joseph, were business promotors. Before 1845 the square was a hive of activity including a tanning house, a loom house, a slaughter house, a blacksmith shop and two small dwelling houses. David Sexton established a chandlery for the manufacture of resin soap and candles. John Sexton and partners owned and operated the Wytheville Foundry in the rear of the Stone Millwald Theatre 205 - 209 West Main Street House toward Spring Street. The foundry produced iron railings and 205 W. Main Street – This site seems to have a history with window and door frames in addition to agricultural machinery. entertainment. Able to accommodate 500 persons, Sexton Hall was The current building was constructed around 1935 by E.G. Bow- built on this site in 1881. The building was used for plays, dances, man. Used initially by the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Commission, graduations and speeches until it burned in the fire of 1924. The D. J. Counts acquired it in the mid-1950s and had it converted into structure that currently stands in its place was built in 1928. It took a drugstore. While remodeling gives it now a more modern look, a its name from the original owners, Morris Miller and Rolfe Ewald. large neon sign reading “COUNTS DRUGS,” harkens to its roots in the On its opening night, the flick Beau Broadway was shown. Original CONTINUED NEXT PAGE middle of the last century. 23


WEST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP furnishings and equipment included a Simplex projector, green velvet stage curtains, and blue tile lobby walls. The basement was designated as a bomb shelter and supplied with emergency rations during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s. It was operated as a movie theater for over 75 years and had the distinction of being one of the oldest continuously running movie theaters in the United States. As you begin to cross the Heritage Walkway, look down the alley next to the Millwald Theatre. If you wish, you can walk down this alley toward the shelter you will see ahead. This structure is the Wytheville Farmers Market. At the printing of this publication, the Farmers Market operated on Saturdays from May through October as well as special Christmas Markets in the later part of the year. Across the Shores Motor Company, 155 East Main Street street from the Farmers Market is Elizabeth Brown Memorial Park. If 155 & 145 W. Main Street – Constructed between 1921 and 1926, you have turned down this alley, go back to Main Street. the northeast end of the building originally contained an auto repair garage and the southwest end contained a printing establishment. The building was also the home of Shores Motor Company, a Cross the Heritage Walkway. Chevrolet dealership for many years. Through large front windows, a new vehicle would be displayed. W.G. Shores, the owner, would pick up the new cars after dark from the train depot and sneak them into the building. The windows would be papered until time for the unveiling.

Hurt Building, 175 West Main Street 185, 175, 165 W. Main Street – Previously on this site, the Hurt Building (as depicted in this photo) housed, at various times, a hardware store, a funeral parlor, a restaurant, and Sam Venziano’s original shoe store. The building on the right was the Sexton Building, where the Millwald Theatre now stands. The house on the far left is Dr. James Gibboney’s house built in the 1870’s. In the 1940s, the Pendleton Construction Corporation built the present building for the Leggett Department Store chain. From 1947-1972, the Chitwood-Moore Clinic, later the Chitwood Memorial Clinic, occupied the second story with a 25-adult bed and eight baby-crib hospital.

Harrison Hancock Hardware, 103 West Main Street 105-103 W. Main Street – Originally called the Harrison-Hancock Building, this art deco and classically-inspired two-story brick structure was built in 1930 by the Harrison-Hancock Hardware Company, a regional chain of the time. Through the years, the structure also housed a jeweler, dentists, and beauty shops. Wytheville Vance Company occupied the space until the mid-1980s.

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POLIO

A period of mystery and fear fell over Wytheville in the Summer of 1950 as the disease known as polio reached epidemic proportions in the small community. It would later be known that the town suffered the worst per capita outbreak in the United States with approximately 189 cases in Wythe County and seventeen deaths. People drove through the town with their windows rolled up and masks on their faces. Wytheville Town Council erected billboards at all five entrances into the community warning visitors of the epidemic and asking them to visit again the following year. Recognition came in the form of national newspaper and magazine articles calling Wytheville “the town that kept its head” and noting how the town endured the health crisis with “such calm courage.” Researchers and media continue to wonder at the ways an isolated rural community transcended fear to enlist every possible resource to care for the stricken and prevent the spread of disease to other localities. In surviving this epidemic, Wytheville has become known as a model of community spirit, common sense, and cooperation in a public health crisis that is not easily forgotten by those who witnessed it. To explore this moment in history further, an extensive permanent exhibit about the polio experience is viewable at the Thomas J. Boyd Museum.

Iron Lung for polio patients

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As you stand at this central point on Main Street, look into the center of E JEFFERSON ST Post Office, Main and Church Streets, 105 East Main Street U.S. the street. At the turn of the last century (1892-1902), a granite horse fountain (now located in front of the Thomas J. Boyd Museum) stood 105 & 110 E. Main Street – History tells us that the McGavock at this crossroads and welcomed the thirsty horses who brought their brothers (Ephraim and James) owned a store on this site in the 1800s. owners, for business or pleasure, to Wytheville’s bustling downtown. A 1901 photograph reflects the lot housing W. W. Hufford’s business. For previous years to that time, the Wythe County Courthouse had Charles A. Ewald saddlery business is to the left with the peaked straddled the location where Main and Tazewell Streets cross today. parapet. The current classic revival two-story brick building was E LIBERTY ST E LIBERTY ST built in 1914 to house the Wytheville Post Office (until 2000). Charles Two hundred years ago, this street was a dirt track known as the Ewald was one of six brother who came to Wytheville in 1827 from Great Road. It carried the heavy traffic of wagons and horses as well Germany. His nephew Stephen later established the first specialized as hogs, sheep, cattle, and other farm animals that helped farmers store in Wytheville handling boots, shoes, hats, and luggage before and storekeepers buy and sell goods and farm products. Most of the later establishing an insurance business in 1880 which was operated frame, log, and brick stores of that time have been altered or replaced by succeeding generations of the family for over 100 years. S 11TH ST

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Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (1872 - 1961)

Born on the second floor of a stately brick structure that now houses a museum in her honor, Edith Bolling came into the world on a fall day in 1872 as the seventh of eleven children of Judge William Bolling and Sallie White Bolling. Legend has it that the Judge delayed court on the morning of his daughter’s birth in order to be at home for the arrival of the child. The family residence was the upstairs of the Main Street building with commercial businesses occupying the first floor. Edith grew up there with her parents, siblings, two grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and the family’s favorite pets - canaries. Primarily educated at home, at the age of 15, she attended the Martha Washington College in Abingdon, Virginia, and later the Powell School in Richmond. She married Norman Galt, a jeweler from Washington, D.C., in 1896. Galt died prematurely in 1908.

Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation & Museum 145 E. Main Street Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission fee.

A chance meeting in early 1915 with a prominent widower in Washington, D.C. led to her becoming a First Lady. She met President Woodrow Wilson whose first wife had died the previous year. A whirlwind courtship resulted in the two marrying in December of 1915. Mrs. Wilson was an active First Lady and a constant companion of the President’s. When he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1919, she managed and screened his affairs and contacts. She earned the title of First Lady Extraordinary for her role during the last eighteen months of his presidency. History also remembers her for rationing of White House resources, such as meat, wheat, and gasoline during World War I as well as selling the wool as a fundraising effort that was sheared from sheep which grazed on the White House lawn. She was the first First Lady to travel to Europe, accompanying the President on two separate occasions in 1918 and 1919. Her presence among queens and other female royalty of Europe put the position of First Lady on an equivalent standing and helped define the American role of First Lady in an international context.

As one of only eight historic sites across the country dedicated to the interpretation of a First Lady, the museum tells the story of the important role Edith Bolling Wilson played in the White House at a pivotal moment during World War I. Visit the Birthplace Museum and tour the historic Bolling Family Home to discover how Mrs. Wilson’s early life in Wytheville prepared her for life as a First Lady and learn how her stewardship of governmental duties earned her such labels as “The Secret President” and “The First Woman President.” Periodic special exhibitions focus on aspects of her influence and interests inside and outside her time in the White House as well as her life with After President Wilson’s death in 1924, Mrs. Wilson was devoted to President Woodrow Wilson and her dedication to his legacy. promoting his legacy for world peace and was instrumental in the preservation of his birthplace in Staunton, Virginia, and the home in Washington, DC, where they lived after leaving the White House. 28


EAST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP Through the latter years of her life, she attended numerous political events with the final one being the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. Her last visit to Wytheville was at the age of 88 in 1960 when she dedicated stained-glass windows at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Edith Bolling Wilson died on December 28, 1961, the birthday of Woodrow Wilson and day of the inauguration of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the Potomac. To learn more about the First Lady’s life and legacy, visit the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation & Museum located at 145 E. Main Street.

Durham’s Restaurant

Bolling Block of East Main Street with E. Lee Trinkle home and barber shop Bolling Block - 115, 145, 155, 165 E. Main Street – The birthplace of former First Lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson actually consists of three two-story units with a shared single parapeted front and a false third story. History dictates that the structure was originally built by Farmers Bank of Virginia around 1845. The building was acquired by Dr. Archibald Bolling of Bedford, Virginia, in 1860, after losing their plantation home in Bedford, Virginia, following the Civil War. Bolling’s widow, Anne E. Bolling, and his son and daughter-in-law, Judge William H. and Sallie W. Bolling moved into the building in 1866. Edith Bolling was born in the second story apartment in 1872 and lived there until marrying her first husband, Norman Galt. She would later Skeeter’s Restaurant marry President Woodrow Wilson during the latter of his first term in Skeeter’s Restaurant - A variety of businesses have operated in the the White House. ground level of the Bolling Building including the offices of the local newspaper, assorted shops, and, a “sanitary barbershop.” Originally named for its owner as the E. N. Umberger Store, Skeeter’s World Famous Hotdogs was established in 1925 as a grocery store and has been operating at this Main Street location since the 1940s. When Mr. Umberger first started selling hotdogs, the dogs sold for a nickel. “Skeeter’s” Restaurant arose from a nickname given to the owner’s son, E.N., Jr., by his mother. When Skeeter began running the store, the hotdogs began being called Skeeterdogs, and the store is still affectionately known as “Skeeter’s.” Adjoining this location, where Matthew Gray (on left) barbershop An African American businessman, Matthew Gray (pictured on the far the museum resides today, was once another eatery called Durham’s left) owned a barbershop next to E.N. Umberger/Skeeter’s in the early Restaurant. A popular location for travelers and locals, the restaurant was known for its country ham and other southern entrees. 1900s. 29


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Elbert Lee Trinkle

(1876 - 1939) A true native son, Elbert Lee Trinkle was born in Wytheville on March 12, 1876. He graduated at the head of his class with two degrees from Hampden-Sydney College. He went on to study law at the University of Virginia and graduated with honors again. Trinkle then set up his own law practice in Wytheville and entered politics. He became the chairman of the Democratic Party and the elector at large in 1916. After serving two terms in the Virginia State Senate, he was nominated for Governor in 1921. He served as Governor of Virginia from 1922-1926.The emphasis of his term was placed on improved roads, better schools and the beginning of the betterment of the Virginia economic system. After his four years in Richmond, he moved to Roanoke and took a position as an insurance company executive. In 1931, he was named the President of the State Board of Education. It was the evening after a meeting of the State Board of Education in Richmond that Trinkle died. He suffered pulmonary edema and thrombosis on November 25, 1939.

Elbert Lee Trinkle house, Southeast Main Street also possessed $16,000 in cash, a tremendous amount of money for the time. Silva only spoke Spanish and her teenage sons were her interpreters.

In 1874, Silva sold the property to David Sexton and his son-in-law, Elbert S. Trinkle. Later, the structure was inherited by Trinkle’s son, E. Lee Trinkle, who would later become Governor of Virginia (1922-26). 185 E. Main Street (no longer stands) – The grand structure that Silva and her children returned to Texas. The house was destroyed in once stood at this location had some interesting and noteworthy 1940. residents in its history. The three-story brick structure had living quarters on all three floors and a dining room in the basement. A luxury in the mid-1800s, it was proported to have “hot and cold” water in each room (bathrooms and water closets). Servants’ quarters and a kitchen, complete with a “large French range,” were in the twostory rear addition. Other amenities included an ice house, a meat house, a large stable, a carriage house, gardens, and fruit-bearing trees. Despite this grandeur, the most interesting feature of the house may have been the banking rooms which were separated from the residential portion by an iron railing. These rooms included fire and burglar proof vaults and safes. Because of the large vaults that were present, it is believed that the structure’s original purpose was to be a bank. Mrs. Delores M. Yvonne Silva purchased the “Farmers Bank House” in 1867. Silva was the wife of Stephen Cole, a merchant in Texas and Mexico on the Rio Grande River. He was referred to as a broker who “discounted paper.” An unusual occurrence of the time, Cole conducted all of his business dealings under his wife’s name (D.M.Y. Silva). Judge William Bolling (who later became the father of Edith Bolling Wilson) represented Cole and Silva as their lawyer. After Cole’s death in 1869, Bolling was given a key to the vault in the structure and found three parcels or bags of gold, totaling $14,000. It was said that, at his death, Cole 30

Trinkle Family on steps


EAST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP Cross S. 1st Street. William Williams Harper barbershop In front of his Sanitary Barbershop on East Main Street William Williams (W.W.) Harper operated the Sanitary Barbershop (to the left of 205 E Main) until the early 1960’s (no longer stands).

Bruce and Maupin, 205 East Main Street 205 E. Main Street – The firm of Bruce & Maupin built this twostory painted brick structure in 1884 to house a hardware and farm supplies store. Later owners included the Wythe County Supply Company and Appalachian Power. It was purchased by the Masons in 1929 and served as a Masonic hall for many years. During the recent revitalization of Downtown Wytheville, it was completely remodeled and refurbished for business use again.

St. John’s Episcopal Church, 275 East Main Street 275 E. Main Street – The oldest Episcopal Church in Virginia west of the Roanoke Valley, the cornerstone for St. John’s was laid in October, 1852. Abigail Jouett McGavock began to solicit funds for its construction as early as 1846. The completed building was consecrated in 1858. Its rich history includes the basement being used as a hospital for Confederate wounded as well as former First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson commissioning a stained glass window in memory of her parents. Old Institute Vacant lot between 205 & 275 - The Institute (photo taken from Spring & 1st Streets) about 1874 (no longer stands) - A partnership in the practice of medicine began around 1832 between Dr. Jacob Haller and Dr. Robert Crockett . They had their office in an apothecary shop located in this block. The building was destroyed in the fires of 1838. Between 1839-41, Jacob Haller built an “Institute”, to accommodate his medical students. The three-storied structure fronted 177 feet on Main Street with two wings situated between what is now St. John’s Episcopal Church and 1st Street. History tells us that the school offered a three-year course of study, which included cutting up “stiffs.” It operated until the Civil War. Afterwards, it was used as a barracks during the Civil War, a concert hall, post office, school, and for stores. 31

Interesting story: At the outbreak of the Civil War, John, Anthony, Jr., and Joseph, three sons of Anthony Ewald, Sr., were old enough to enter service of the Confederacy. However, due to the urgent need by the army for saddles and harnesses, these brothers were detailed to return to their father’s tannery where they remained in the service of the Confederacy during the remainder of the war.


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Wainwright’s Boarding House 285 E. Main Street (no longer stands) –Originally the residence of Samuel Foote (Foote & Johnson carriage builders), in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the structure later became Wainwright’s Boarding House. It was a boarding location of the early Wytheville baseball players, who called the owner “Maw Wainwright.” The business mostly housed groups of construction workers building roads and other utilities. Constructed long before modern building codes, it was a rambling two-story structure with porches, rooms, and steps going off in all directions. The front door opened directly onto the Main Street sidewalk. The property stretched to Spring Street where dusty, ragged paths led to a garden and a chicken house with fenced-in pen. Later, it became the property of the St. John’s Episcopal Church. For a time, it remained a boarding house, eventually the church had it demolished in the early 1950s to build the current church addition.

William Elbert Johnson, Old Bailey Lumber 345 E. Main Street (no longer stands) – Construction on this Gibson and Davis, Inc., building was done by the “self employed” African American carpenter crew lead by William Elbert Johnson. In later years, it became Bailey Lumber Company and was destroyed by fire in the early 1970s.

Cross S. 3rd Street.

Foote-Johnson building

Corner of Main and 3rd (no longer stands) – In 1867, W. W. Rich built a cabinet and undertaker shop at this corner. In 1870, Miss Newman’s “school for young ladies” was conducted in the basement. The building appears as a furniture and undertaking shop on the 1886 Sanborn map.

Foote & Johnson Advertisement

Foote & Johnson built wagon, (on display at the Thomas J. Boyd Museum)

Delivery tag on back of chest built by Foote & Johnson wagons 32


EAST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP 355-365 E. Main Street - The R.P. Johnson building is the successor to a blacksmith shop and wagon factory established in 1840 by John Johnson. Robert Payne (R.P.) Johnson began his apprenticeship with his father in 1868. During the late 19th century, the business (Foote & Johnson) grew to become one of the largest and best known wagon, carriage, hack and phaeton manufacturers in the South with a large export business to Havanna, Cuba. The business remained in the Johnson family until the early 1970s.

Isaac Jefferson Leftwich house, 5th at Main Street Puckett’s Greyhound Bus Station, 385 East Main Street 385 E. Main Street – This corner was the site of the Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church, used to supply Confederate ammunition and burned by Union troops on December 16, 1864. Pucketts Greyhound Bus Station and Restaurant stood on this spot from 1939-1988. Up to 45 buses ran daily in the 1940s. The cafeteria had a wide reputation for its good food.

Corner of Main & 5th Streets (facing 5th) (no longer stands) – Torn down in the latter part of the last century, this structure was built in the 1850s by Isaac J. Leftwich (1799-1893). Leftwich was a prominent attorney, banker, and businessman and President of the Farmers Bank of Southwest Virginia. At one point, he was one of Wytheville’s wealthiest citizens. His portrait hangs in the Heritage Preservation Center. Cross S. 5th Street.

African American businessman Willard Austin operated his first taxi stand in an obsolete streetcar at Main and 4th Avenue. After it was destroyed by fire in the late 1940s, Willard later operated the Green Cab Company with a new Rockett 88 Oldsmobile at the Greyhound Bus Station until 1953.

The Historic Wytheville Training School 410 E. Franklin St., Wytheville Visit the Wytheville Training School Cultural Center’s African American Heritage Museum in the historic Wytheville Training School. Experience African American education in Wythe and surrounding counties during the years of segregation through exhibits, photographs, and interviews with former students. The Museum and Cultural Center are open Monday through Thursday 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Slater, Johnson house Southeast Main Street 435 E. Main Street – Slater House (Mrs Mae W.) (on right) (no longer stands) The Slaters and the Moyers operated a corn and flour mill in Wytheville in the 1880s. 33


EAST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP 525 E. Main Street (no longer stands) - George Williams, building partner to William Zimmerman, lived in a house that preceded the present home at that site. Williams and Zimmerman operated as house carpenters before the Civil War. In 1908, the house was occupied by Mrs. Charles Ewald, Sr.

455 East Main Street, R.P. Johnson house 475 E. Main Street - R. P. Johnson House (no longer stands). In addition to his ownership of one of the largest and best-known wagon, carriage, hack and phaeton manufacturers in the South, Johnson held the office of Vice-President of the Wythe County National Bank, which he helped organize in 1925. As a promoter of highway improvements, he served as the President of the Lakes to Florida Highway Association. The R. P. Johnson house, built about 1824 by Benjamn Armstrong for Joseph Draper, was razed in the 1970s. Cross S. 7th Street.

Bethel A.M.E. Church, 635 East Main Street 635 E. Main Street – Built in 1891-92, the Bethel African American Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church has a unique history surrounding its construction. The first AME church was located a few blocks away on Tazewell Street in front of the present Spiller Elementary School after the reconstruction period. Tradition states that the church was very active and the services quite spirited, much to the annoyance of their neighbor, William H. Spiller. Mr. Spiller, a prominent businessman, struck a deal with the congregation and traded the property on which the old church stood for the present location on Main Street. Construction began on the new location with meager tools of carpentry. A passerby noticed that the outer walls of the building were not perpendicular and were being constructed in an outward direction. The builders found that their old fashioned construction methods were not suited for such a tall structure. They were using fruit jars, filled with water to about 90 percent, with the water bubble acting as a level. To solve the problem of the building “bowing out” and collapsing, iron bars were bolted to each side of the inside walls. These bars are still visible in the church today and continue to serve their purpose. It is one of two frame churches within the town to have survived from the 19th century. The Bethel AME Church parsonage stands just to the east of the church building.

515 East Main Street 515 E. Main Street – William Zimmerman, one of Wytheville’s leading builders during the mid-and late nineteenth century, built this stylish two story home around 1875. The blond brick foundation is not original to the home. Zimmerman (b1828) employed ten men in 1880 and produced $6,000 worth of construction. The building was later the home of East End Grocery.

The 1839 map of Wytheville shows eight houses between North 7th and North 11th Streets. (Town lots were generally a half-acre.) None of the original buildings on East Main between North 3rd and 5th Streets have survived; and little is known of their history or their occupants. Not so, however, with those to their east, between North 5th and 7th Streets. Five of the six located there today had their beginnings before the 1838 fire that led Evansham to incorporate and change its name to Wytheville in 1839. This cluster of seven houses is referred to as Olde Towne.

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Wto learn that the area has always been the home to a vast

ith history as rich and diverse as Wytheville’s, it is not surprising

community of talented artisans and craftsmen. As one of the most important artisan centers on the Great Wagon Road during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, items that showcase such creativity include furniture, textiles, rifles, baskets, leather, ironwork, and musical instruments. It was not just these traditional crafts that were a vehicle for craftsmanship to be demonstrated, during different eras there were also those who used their talents in carpentry, carriage and wagon making, masonry and millwork, among other trades. At different locations throughout this tour, some of these craftsmen are highlighted. Examples of local craftsmanship can also be found in the exhibits at the Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum.

Chest built by Foote & Johnson (on display at Thomas J. Boyd Museum)

Mrs. Haller’s Sewing Table built by Flemming Rich (on display at Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum)

Percussion Pistols, ca. 1840. Made by Victor Doriot.

Stand made by Jacob Fisher, a craftsman who built all of the woodworking at the Rock House (on display at Rock House Museum)

Hall Table built by Rich Brothers (on display at Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum) 35


EAST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP Carefully cross Main Street and return toward your left (west) on Main.

Old Towne

The fire in Evansham (now Wytheville) in 1838 destroyed over fifty structures in the heart of the town. Fortunately, it spared the following group of unique log structures. Dating back to the early nineteenth century, their exteriors are now clad with weatherboard siding and sport a variety of color schemes and personalities. Almost two hundred years later, they are now some of Wytheville’s oldest buildings. Fleming Rich House, 480 East Main Street 480 E. Main Street – In 1835, Fleming K. Rich purchased the house and a lot for $351. Rich was originally from Campbell County, Virginia, and was married in Wytheville in 1828. He established a successful cabinet and coffin-making business and is known for his pie safes and furniture. Rich served as one of Wytheville’s first trustees when the town was incorporated in 1839. The house was originally two log houses with a carriage way between them. History tells us that at one time the house had 25 rooms. A room on the lower level was used as a display area for Rich’s furniture and some of the apprentices lived on the second floor. In later years, Rich’s widow, Mary, had the two houses connected. Mrs. Rich operated a delightful boarding house here for Wytheville’s summer visitors.

520 East Main Street 520 E. Main Street - Constructed of huge cedar and oak logs, this structure and the next seven structures on this tour are believed to be some of the oldest buildings in Wytheville. The recorded deeds for the property go back to 1817 when John Davis first bought the lot from the Trustees of Evansham. In 1831, Benjamin Robinson paid $275 for the property which included a small dwelling where this restaurant now stands. The restaurant is housed in Robinson’s home, which was built in stages, and is believed to incorporate the original dwelling structure. Robinson also owned property across Main Street where he operated his business, known as the Benjamin Robinson Co., which included the operation of the mail stage line that ran from Christiansburg, Virginia, to Blountville, Tennessee. In 1840, Robinson F.K. Rich House, 460 East Main Street and his wife conveyed the lot containing their home, along with the property across the street, to James M. Boyd. Occupants of the Log 460 E. Main Street - Around 1836, this lot and a structure that stood House building in later years were Joseph Chatwell, an officer in the on it then was purchased by Fleming K. Rich. Legend has it that Rich built this house sometime thereafter for his daughter. It was said that Confederate Army and Daniel Hoofnagle, a tailor. he was “so pleased with his workmanship that he offered a prize of $10 to anyone who could find a knot in any of the wood used in the Cross N. 7th Street house.” It was owned by several Wytheville families in the years after including the Hurts, Gibboneys, and Ewalds. 36


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Fleming Rich was noted for his pie safes with punched tin crafted by Nimrod Rich. Courtesy of Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College. 440 East Main Street 440 E. Main Street – Locally known as the John Rider house, this structure dates back to 1830 with a history similar to the others in this area. It is an original log house with weatherboard siding. The interior preserves many of the early features including plaster and lath walls and ceilings. It is believed to have been a shoemaker’s shop and a tailor shop. Within it is an elaborate Federal mantel that is believed to have come from the circa 1818 Wythe County Courthouse.

W.F. Slater House, 450 East Main Street 450 E. Main Street – Built around 1850, this two-story log structure was owned by W.F. Slater, a partner in the Slater & Moyers corn and flour mill. It is believed to have been a boarding house in the late 1800s owned by Mary Crockett. Prior to that, it may have been leased to “The Thespian Club” for public dramatic performances.

430 East Main Street 430 E. Main Street – Like the other structures on this block, portions of this house date back to the mid-to-late 1800s, possibly around 1870 as it first appears in a historic photograph of East Main Street from that timeframe. It was probably Edward Walker who developed this property and added the stucco.

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W.S. Poage House, East Main Street 300 block of E. Main Street – (no longer stands) – This majestic house 420 E. Main Street – In 1836, George McFarlane purchased this once stood just west of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. It was the home of lot with all or a portion of this circa 1830 house standing on it from W.S. Poage, who is pictured on the steps in 1907 with daughters. Phelps, Peck & Company for $1,600. This two-story v-notched log house has a one-story porch and a front bay window. Cross N. 5th Street.

Noel House and Photography Shop, 300 block of East Main Street (no longer stands) Walter Noel had a photography studio in this building for over 30 years 370 A & B E. Main Street – This unusually styled one-story brick church in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mrs. Noel ran a boarding and adjacent rectory was dedicated in 1937. St. Mary’s Catholic Church house on the same plot of land. had been organized in 1845 and at the time was the only Catholic Church between Lynchburg, Virginia, and Knoxville, Tennessee. The Cross N. 3rd Street original St. Mary’s was located on Peppers Ferry Road on the grounds of the Catholic Cemetery (now part of East End Cemetery). St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 370 East Main Street

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EAST MAIN STREET WALKING LOOP Cross N. 1st Street.

270 East Main Street 270 E. Main Street (no longer stands). Dr. Robert Crockett, a brother to Susannah Spiller, shared a practice with Dr. Jacob Haller. This house was also known as the Sayers Place because Crockett left it to his granddaughter, Susan Spiller Sayers. The Sayers family operated a boarding house here, until it was torn down and replaced by a grocery store.

210 East Main Street 210 E. Main Street (no longer stands) – Located between 1st and 3rd Streets, this was once the home of the Truslow Girls’ School in the 1840s. Later, it was purchased by the Gibboney Family and became known as Gibboney Hall. Through the years, it was used as a home, store, and performance hall. In 1866, the Freedman’s Bureau had offices in the upstairs. In its final years, it was a veterans’ recreational facility. The building was razed in 1957.

170 East Main Street 170 E. Main Street – Since 1819, a tavern, inn, or hotel has often been located on this site. The Bell Tavern burned in the 1838 fire. Thomas Jefferson Boyd bought the lot in 1842. His three-and-a-half storied, 37-room red brick hotel became the area’s most important hotel and meeting place. In 1857, Robert and Stephen Crockett, new owners, changed the hotel name to Crockett Hotel. The hotel was damaged by the Federal forces during the July 1863 Battle of Wytheville, yet remained a substantial hotel until it burned in 1913. This classic revival four-story brick building was designed and constructed to be the George Wythe Hotel in 1927. It operated as such until the late 1960s. During the 40 plus years thereafter, the building was used as a bank. As the recent revitalization of Downtown Wytheville began, the building was remodeled as a 30-room boutique hotel and restaurant. Just in front of the building is a rough stone obelisk in the shape of an arrowhead. A metal plaque marks the Daniel Boone Trail. Wytheville was on one of the major routes into the western wilderness. There are 358 of these markers placed from Virginia Beach to Sacramento, California. They were of metal from the battleship USS Maine. A millennium time capsule was buried at this location to be opened January 1, 2100.

The Museum Shop Distinctive handmade items Local and regional history Eclectic selection of music – folk, bluegrass, big band & more Collectible ornaments and buildings

LOCATED INSIDE THE E. LEE TRINKLE REGIONAL VISITORS CENTER 975 Tazewell Street, Wytheville • Open Monday - Saturday 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

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Main Street, 110 East Main looking Northeast 100 E. Main Street Block (162-110) – In the 1850s, 100 East Main was the location of William Gibboney’s General Store. Later in that century, it was G.S. Bruce & Company and General Store. Its location, opposite the then Wythe County Courthouse, made it one of the town’s prime business locations. The store sold everything from horseshoe nails to furniture and ladies clothing. Wythe County National Bank occupied this building beginning in the late 1920s with law offices in the second story. The photo reflects the Raflo building to the east of the bank, followed by the Piggly Wiggly Grocery, the George Wythe Hotel, First Street, and Jennie H. Sutherland’s Modern Home for Tourists and Ye Gift Shoppe. This block also housed at various times the National Sample Store, the Vernon Maytag business, and the Soda Shop.

West Main Street, Night We are back to the center of Main Street. Glancing west on Main, compare this photo with the present-day West Main Street, before crossing Main and then crossing Church Street. Continue to the middle of the block.

Piggly Wiggly, East Main Street 40


CHURCH STREET & POCAHONTAS PAGE Before beginning our tour of Sacred Places, let’s learn about other interesting Wytheville businesses from yesterday. 190 Church Street – On this site in the early 1920s was a business run by a strong African American woman and legend has it, some of the best food in the South. Pocahontas Monroe Page was the youngest of sixteen children born to Daniel and Lucindia Monroe. She married Henry W. Page, and they had two children: Ella Mae Page Austin and Lillian Page Johnson. Henry was a Spanish-American War soldier. From early life, Pocahontas was a cook. One of her first jobs was at the home of Mrs. Sally Crockett, a resident of the Cove section of Wythe County. Later, she came to Wytheville, where she worked in private homes and public eating-places. Some of the places where she cooked included: Mrs. Tiny Pogue, Mrs. Susan Morman’s boarding house, Mrs. Janie Gibboney’s boarding house, the George Wythe Hotel, the Fourth Avenue Hotel, and the home of the Trinkle brothers, Will, Clarence, and E. Lee Trinkle who later became the Governor of Virginia. In late 1900, a relative came from Morgantown, West Virginia, saying that jobs for cooks were plentiful there. Pocahontas followed the lead, and soon discovered there were no jobs. She left Morgantown and traveled to Point Marion, Pennsylvania. It was at Point Marion that she apparently made up her mind to become a businessperson. She saved and sacrificed. Around 1921, she returned to Wytheville and opened her first restaurant, The Cozy Cafe. She rented the George Sexton building located on Main Street in a location near the present Millwald Theatre. This was both home and a business, as the family resided in the upstairs area of the building.

Pocahontas Page & the Cozy Cafe

The restaurant thrived until an event in 1924 proved to be one of the most tragic moments in the history of Wytheville since the War Between the States. A fire destroyed most of Wytheville’s downtown business district; including the Cozy Café. Mrs. Page did not have any insurance and lost everything with the exception of a few small items and a piano. She did not give up on her dream. A few months later, the restaurant was relocated to its final location. Legend has it that Mrs. Page’s food was just what the doctor ordered. One of her most frequent patrons was Dr. Charlie Fox Graham, whose office was at 160 Church Street. It is said that Graham would stop by each day after four o’clock and order a piece of coconut pie and a cup of coffee. Her generosity extended to, at times, giving credit to her patrons. This led to the business having financial difficulty during the Depression Era and the Cozy Café was closed in 1928 marking an end to what some called “one of the best places to eat in the South.”

Downtown Wytheville Inc., 150 East Monroe Street, Wytheville Todd Wolford, exedir@downtownwytheville.org, (276) 223-3343 www.downtownwytheville.org 41


SACRED PLACES We will now begin our tour of Church Street. During this section of the tour, we are E PINE ST E PINE ST E PINE E PINE STgoing to walk on theSTright side of the street. An “R” or “L” will guide your viewing.

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Walking toward the corner of Spring and Church Streets, look to the first building on the left.


SACRED PLACES Churches provide some of the most dramatic architectural landmarks in Wytheville’s Historic District. As you might assume, several of the area’s larger churches are located on Church Street. Many others can be found throughout the historic district and other portions of the town.

160 Church Street 160 Church Street - The Ephraim McGavock store (L) was moved back from the Main Street corner lot (above left) to this lot on Church Street. It was used as an office for Dr. John T. Graham and his son, Dr. Charles F. Graham. The upstairs was made into apartments. Wytheville Baptist Church, 205 Church Street 205 Church Street (R) – The location of the present-day Wytheville Baptist Church has some interesting history under it. The “Big Spring,” an early water supply for the town, is in the basement of the church. This was part of a Royal Grant to Joseph Crockett in 1752, and was later included in the acreage donated by Christopher Simmerman and John Davis for the founding of Evansham in 1790. Grays Map of 1883 reflects this lot as a public park with a Chalybeate Fountain. Wytheville Baptist Church was organized in 1883. This structure was built in 1916. An interesting architectural feature is the domed center of the sanctuary with a circular stained glass window at the apex. Across the street at 250 Church Street (L) is the former church parsonage.

Opera House, Church and Spring Streets 180 Church Street (L) (no longer stands). Located on the northeast corner of Spring and Church Streets, the Opera House was built in 1895 for a dual purpose. The structure would also serve as the town hall. The three-story building had two rooms on the ground floor reserved for the use of the town without rent. The Opera House opened with a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta entitled “Patience.” Local productions by the Wytheville Opera Company were augmented by theatrical troops traveling through the area. It was a three-story building with a high formation of native limestone. Sadly, the structure burned to the ground in 1933. A limestone block from the opera house stands in front of the Thomas J. Boyd Museum.

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Ephraim McGavock House, 280 Church Street

Wytheville Presbyterian Church, 285 Church Street

280 Church Street (L) – Known as the Ephraim McGavock house, this structure was built in 1858. It is a Greek Revival two-story brick home with a raised basement. The curved front steps were added by a later owner, Emily B. Robinson, after 1920. McGavock was a merchant who served as Wytheville’s first treasurer in 1839 when the town was incorporated. Behind the house was a school (170 E. Franklin Street). The school was operated by Ephraim’s wife, Abigail Jouett, who was also instrumental in organizing St. John’s Episcopal Church (Main St).

285 Church Street (R) - The cornerstone for the Wytheville Presbyterian Church was laid in 1858, and the building was dedicated during the Civil War in September of 1863. The ornate brick church with corner pinnacles and a central tower with spire is one of Southwest Virginia’s finest and earliest examples of Middle Ages architecture. The original spire was removed in 1927 and replaced in 1980. The Presbyterian religion had the first organized congregations in Wythe County in 1769.

An Historic Experience from Beginning to End A visit to the Museums of Wytheville will inspire you to make a connection to the past and learn about the real people, places, and events that have shaped this community’s history. Great Lakes to Florida

Thomas J. Boyd Museum

Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum

Exhibits showcasing Wythe County history from the late 1700’s until present day. Topics explored include 1950 Polio Epidemic, Wythe County artisans and craftspeople, energy and technology, Civil War and Wytheville’s first fire wagons.

Learn about 19th and early 20th century family life and Wythe County’s rich medical heritage through guided tours of this 1823 National Register Historic Home constructed of native limestone. New exhibits on early medical practices and apothecaries coming in 2019.

Recreated 1926-1950’s era gas station that returns visitors to the days when the Great Lakes to Florida highway (Rt. 21) was the main route from Ohio to Florida. Original artifacts and exhibits tell the story of the development of Rt. 21 and I-77.

Your Journey begins at

Wytheville’s Heritage Preservation Center

1924 former school building that now houses the administrative and research center for the Town of Wytheville Department of Museums and the Wythe County Historical Society. Meeting and live performance room and exhibit on Wythe County’s mining heritage. Open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

115 West Spiller Street • I-81/I-77 Exit 73, follow the Museums signs http://museums.wytheville.org • museum@wytheville.org • 276-223-3330 44


SACRED PLACES

Clarence Trinkle Home, 325 Church Street 325 Church Street (R) – Built in the early 20th century by Clarence Trinkle, this is one of three very large homes that belonged to the Trinkle family. The neoclassical two story brick home is accented with a monumental front portico supported by Doric columns. The interior of the house is equally grand. The front entry is surrounded with leaded glass and framed with Corinthian columns. Clarence’s brother, E. Lee Trinkle, was a native of Wytheville who became Governor of Virginia in 1922. In recent decades, the structure has served as a funeral home.

Miller House, 350 Church Street 350 Church Street (L) – Built around 1925 by jeweler J.D. Pobst, this classically detailed two-story brick home has Flemish-bond walls with vitrified headers, an asphalt-shingled hip roof, and a double-pile form. It has a one-story front porch supported by Doric columns and a balustraded balcony and curved ends that extend past the side walls of the house. The house was sold to Dr. J. M. Miller in 1926. Dr. Miller’s son, Rolph Miller, later inherited the house. Rolph Miller and Sidney Kincer, Sr. established Kincer-Miller Hardware Company.

St. Paul United Methodist Church, 330 Church Street 330 Church Street (L) – Built in 1885, St. Paul United Methodist Church is a Gothic Revival one-story brick structure. At this same time, a seven room parsonage was built on the adjoining lot. A major sanctuary renovation in 1958 changed it from a pulpit-centered chancel to a divided chancel. The church is known for its memorial cathedral chimes that ring out across the town every Sunday morning. The Methodists are generally credited for having the first church building in Wytheville. (Around 1827, a log church structure was built on West Monroe Street.)

360 Church Street 360 Church Street (L) – Built in 1875, this two story brick home features painted five-course American-bond walls with headerstretcher courses every sixth course, an asphalt-shingled hip roof and a double-pile side-passage plan with interior brick chimneys. The one story wraparound porch appears to have been altered sometime around 1910.

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SACRED PLACES Turn right on Washington Street.

375 Church Street

Dr. John O. Haller House, 195 West Washington Street

375 Church Street (R) – Built in 1925, this two-story brick house with stretcher-bond walls, an asphalt-shingled hip roof and a double-pile form includes other features such as a one-story wraparound porch supported by brick pillars, 6/6-sash windows, brick interior chimneys, hipped dormers, and an enclosed inset two-story rear porch.

195 West Washington Street - this charming house was built in 1880 by Jan Andries George Oewel, who came from the Netherlands. His second daughter, Clara, married Dr. Jake Haller, a dentist, and they lived here in the early years of their marriage. In 1946 she conveyed her inherited house to her son. A back porch has been added, but the house has undergone little change other than necessary modernization. This home serves as the office for the Wythe Arts Council. Return to Church Street and continue right on Church Street toward Withers Road

385 Church Street 385 Church Street (R) – Built in 1900, this one-and-a-half story frame house with stuccoed walls, a complex asphalt-shingled and metalsheathed gable roof, and a center-passage plan was the home of Mrs. E. W. Umberger in the early 20th century. Other features include a wraparound porch with paired and triple columns and stuccoed railing, a brick foundation, a front entry with sidelights and transom, and decorative wood shingles in the gables and on the sides of a gabled front dormer. 46

Visit the birthplace and childhood home of the only Appalachian-born First Lady.

Museum Hours Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Hours may vary by season. Located in Downtown Wytheville | 145 East Main Street www.edithbollingwilson.org


SACRED PLACES

The Pines, 450 Church Street 450 Church Street (L) – The Pines was built by a stone mason named Coulthard and a brick mason named Huffard in 1872 for Irish-born Confederate veteran Peter Gallagher, who served with the Wythe Grays of the Stonewall Brigade and later became the sheriff of Wythe County. Other residents of this home included the families of the Confederate Veteran, Major Joel C. Green; Samuel W. Williams, Judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court, and Attorney General of Virginia; James and Susie Gleaves, who added the four Doric columns; and Lee Umberger, whose wife, Daisy Howe, taught music to many young ladies of Wytheville during the 20s, 30s and 40s. It was here that they held the organizational meeting of the Helen Trinkle Music Club. In 1955, retired coal operator Barnard W. Jennings and his wife, Mary Preston, purchased the house and returned its use from an apartment house to a private residence.

St. Johns’ Episcopal Rectory, 465 Church Street 465 Church Street (R) - This residence is identified as a Bruce property on the 1880 Gray Map (one of the oldest property map records available). It was acquired by St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1883 and used by the church as the rectory into the twentieth century. It is reflective of the Greek Revival style. A wing and sleeping porch were added in 1904.

Blair House, 480 Church Street 480 Church Street (L) - This house was built in 1871 by Frank S. Blair. Following service as an officer in the Confederate Army, Blair moved to Wytheville where he taught school and studied law under Andrew Fulton. Blair later became the Attorney General of Virginia. This home has been a private girl’s school and a summer boarding house. With the arrival of the railroad, Wytheville became a destination for summer visitors from the warmer sections of the South, particularly New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama.

485 Church Street 485 Church Street (R) - Frank S. Blair built this home sometime between 1870 and 1875. He sold it to St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1882 and it served as their rectory until 1889 when they sold it to Wytheville’s Mayor, J. J. A. Powell. During the time that the home was owned by the Church, Ms. Jennie Nelson operated a girl’s school in a one-room building in the rear yard. At some point, this small building was moved and attached to the main house to serve as its rear wing. The Powell family retained ownership until 1967. Interestingly, there is a still a hitching post and a mounting step in front of this house between the brick sidewalk and the curb.

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115 W. Withers Road (R) - This beautifully restored home belonged to William W. Rich who had his residence and furniture-coffin factory at this site. In 1876, Rich advertised his ability to perform custom work for hotels and “watering places.” As a furniture maker and undertaker, he E LIBERTY ST ST which was located supplied the merchandise for the RichE LIBERTY family shop on Main Street. The house is typical of Post-Civil War construction dating back to 1877. The factory operation was to the right of the house, and employed nine hands in 1880. The Rich factory was later converted to steam power and stayed in business until 1881. Although the furniture shop closed in 1881, Rich operated a saw and planing mill in or near Wytheville in the 1890’s. S 3RD ST

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Plumer College, 210 East Withers Road 210 Withers Road (L) - A two-story brick house, constructed by Wesley Johnson in 1872, may constitute the core of this sprawling building. It 185 Withers Road was converted into a Presbyterian-affiliated female seminary, Wytheville 185 Withers Road (R) – Built around 1880, this two-story frame house Female College, around 1882 and substantially enlarged in the years is known as the John R. Kent House. A later owner of the home was thereafter. It was later named Plumer Memorial Female College. For Robert W. Lawson. The original kitchen and dining room of this house 32 years, Miss Laura Short, along with her three sisters, ran a boarding are located in the basement. school for young ladies. There was also a day school for both boys and girls at the college preparatory level. During the summer months, the Cross S. 1st Street Shorts had many summer boarders from the South. After the school closed in 1929, they continued to entertain their summer guests. Plumer College has been an apartment/condo complex for many years. Cross S. 3rd Street

Samuel Rush Sayers House, 205 East Withers Road 205 Withers Road (R) - During the Battle of Wytheville, in July of 1863, this home was in the path of retreating confederate troops as they attempted to get to the train depot south of town. Fired upon by Union troops, the home was hit leaving a bullet hole in the stairs at the front of the house. It was owned by Dr. Samuel Rush Sayers, who served with the Confederate Army as a surgeon. His experience with the troops served him and his patients well. He was a highly regarded surgeon and traveled into surrounding areas on horseback to practice medicine. In the 1890’s, Sayers served as the President of the Wytheville Foundry and Machine Company, manufacturer of plows, castings, circular saw mills, turbine water steels, and other iron products.

320 Withers Road 320 Withers Road (L) - As you continue down Withers Road, the next three homes are examples of the Queen Anne Victorian style. Built around 1900, the first home belonged to S. F. Ewald who owned the “Star Boot and Shoe House” and also sold insurance. Produce merchant W. H. Copenhaver owned the house in 1921.

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385 Withers Road 385 Withers Road (R) - This Queen Anne two-story frame house was 340 Withers Road built in 1891 and owned by J. E. Perkins in 1908. Perkins was a freight 340 Withers Road (L) - This two-story brick home has stuccoed walls agent for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. The Perkins family operated a on the second story and a one story front porch supported by wood boarding house in their residence. The one story front porch has turned colonnades on brick pedestals. It was built in 1910 by the Ewald family. posts and balusters and a spindle frieze. Cross S. 5th Street

M. L. Harrison House, 360 East Withers Road 360 Withers Road (L) - This two-story brick Victorian has walls laid in blond Roman bricks and a wraparound porch supported by Ionic columns on stone pedestals. At the west corner is a two-story curved projection while at the east corner is a two-story bay window. It was built by M. L. Harrison in 1910. Harrison was a hardware merchant who also sold railroad ties to the Norfolk & Western Railroad. He was influential in having the Wytheville Baptist Church built at its present location on Church Street.

420 Withers Road 420 Withers Road (L) - This framed Victorian style home, first owned by M. M. Caldwell, dates back to the 1890’s. The unusual and decorative weatherboard at the top of the house is known as “gingerbread.” Caldwell served as a Town Councilman in Wytheville’s early years. Judge Samuel Williams, who also lived at The Pines, was another prominent owner of the property.

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425 Withers Road

Scott House, 485 East Withers Road

425 Withers Road (R) – This house is believed to have been built in the 1840s by Thomas J. Boyd, who sold it to John H. Caldwell in 1877. Caldwell was co-owner of The Wytheville Telegraph newspaper from 1853-1859. The walls of this house are 15 inches thick and all the interior woodwork is hard-carved.

485 Withers Road (R) - The date of construction of this Cape Cod-style cottage in its original form is unknown. One account states that it was in existence in 1865. The house may have been owned by E. H. McDonald in 1880. In 1920, the house was acquired by Richmond architectural historian Mary Wingfield Scott who remodeled it as a summer home. Cross S. 7th Street

480 Withers Road Sidney Lawson House, 510 Withers Road 480 Withers Road ~ Esparanza 480 Withers Road (L) - Known as Esparanza, this house was so named for the inscription on the stone fireplace. This curious house dates to about 1912 and was probably built by William R. Appleby. The house may incorporate a log dwelling that was owned by Mr. McClanahan in 1880. From 1919 to 1956, the house was owned by teachers Ellen D. and Flora M. Stuart, nieces of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart.

510 Withers Road (L) - This beautiful Queen Anne style home was built in 1895 by John Sidney Lawson. Lawson and partner, J. B. Hurt, manufactured mill turbines and agricultural implements and sold architectural woodwork. The house features a corner gazebo from the wrap-around porch and a two-story bay window. It has a sixteen-foot-wide hallway and eight-foot pocket doors. Other features include stained glass panes, a double door front entry and decorative millwork.

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Moore-Maupin House, 515 Withers Road 515 Withers Road (R) - Built in 1887 by Virginia Cassell Lawson, this two-story brick home has a metal-sheathed hip roof and a double-pile side-passage plan. This charming home also has 4/4 sash windows with louvered shutters, a bay window and an interior brick chimney. In 1945, the home was purchased by Dr. C.D. Moore, Sr. A long-time local physician, Dr. Moore was practicing medicine during the 1950 polio epidemic. With Dr. Ed Chitwood, he established a medical clinic on Main Street in the 1930s that served the area for almost 40 years.

585 Withers Road 585 Withers Road (R) - This lovely two-story frame house was built by Blanche Sanders in 1908. The house has a one-story front porch supported by round columns and gables corresponding to the front entry. The interior has brick chimneys, leaded glass casement windows and a modern bay window. Cross 9th Street, turn right and cross Withers Road and follow the sidewalk on 9th to the gate of Ingleside.

Colonel Robert Withers Nuska Lodge, 580 East Withers Road 580 Withers Road (L) - Nuska Lodge was built around 1906 by Mrs. Sarah Jane Ryan. She was a great admirer of the American Indian. Inspiration for the unusual form of the house may have come from the early California bungalows of the period. The front of the house is a combination porch and portico supported by square stone pillars. Other exterior features include a stone foundation, a wide variety of window types, and multiple hipped dormers. The interior of the house has a high ceiling center room and stone fireplaces. During the late 19th century, the Wytheville Male Academy was conducted in a building on the site of the Nuska Lodge.

Robert Enoch Withers (1821-1907) Born in Campbell County, VA, in 1821, Robert Enoch Withers graduated from the medical department at the University of Virginia in 1841. For the next twenty years, he practiced medicine. He served in the Civil War and achieved the rank of Colonel in the Confederate Army. He was Lieutenant Governor from 1874-75 and in the United States Senate from 1875-81. Later, he was a U.S. Consul to Hong Kong from 1885-89. He died at his home, Ingleside, in 1907.

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William Terry

Ingleside, 645 East Withers Road 645 Withers Road (L) - Ingleside was the home of Dr. Robert Enoch Withers who began his distinguished career with service in the Confederate Army and later served as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Consul to Hong Kong during President Cleveland’s administration. According to information contained in Dr. Withers’ autobiography and The National Register of Historic Places survey, the home was built by Joseph Caldwell between the years of 1869 and 1874. Dr. Withers purchased the home and property in 1889, giving it the name of Ingleside, when he moved here from his native Campbell County, Virginia. The Southwest Virginia Enterprise of November 5, 1889, carried an ad for the sale of the property that described it as having about 20 acres with a brick dwelling place having “16 rooms conveniently arranged and supplied with a cistern of capacity to furnish two barrels of water a day the year through. There are on the place nearly 200 apple trees (of improved varieties) beginning to bear and a large number of other fruit trees.” The Withers family made extensive renovations to the structure, adding the kitchen and guest house to accommodate their 12 children and numerous grandchildren. The cut limestone gateway to the lawn was added in 1925.

(1824-1888) Born in Amherst County in 1824, William Terry began practicing law in Wytheville around 1851, a few years following his education at the University of Virginia. During this time, he also served as the editor of the Wytheville Telegraph. Terry served in the militia at Harpers Ferry in 1859 and joined the Confederate Army in 1861, serving in the Stonewall Brigade with both Lee and Jackson. Terry reached the rank of Brigadier General in May of 1864, after having been wounded three times during the war. War time was not Terry’s first brush with injury. In 1855, while in the company of William Spiller, Conally F. Trigg, and Oscar Cox, Terry was wounded by James A. Graham on Main Street at the Boyd Hotel. Spiller’s daughter had rejected Graham’s romantic interests. Graham thought this was because of her father’s opposition. Graham shot and killed Spiller on the night of March 31 and wounded Terry, Trigg, and Cox. Terry was elected to the United States Congress, serving from 1871-73 and 187577. He practiced law in multiple counties throughout Southwest Virginia. He drowned in Reed Creek, south of Wytheville, while returning from Grayson County Court in 1888. He is buried in East End Cemetery.

Return to Withers Road and carefully recross at 9th. Walk North on 9th Street to the next block, E.Washington Street. Turn left and walk west 3 blocks on Washington to 340 E Washington.

William Terry House, 340 East Washington Street, “The Aspens” 340 E. Washington Street – Known as “The Aspens,” this home was started by William Terry in 1858. Construction was interrupted because of his military service and not completed until 1867. Continue on Washington Street, walking West to the corner of First and Washington. Turn right on First Street and follow the sidewalk. You will notice on your right, 225 East Franklin Street. 53


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FIRST STREET 195 E. Franklin Street – This house was built after 1857 by Charles H. Fontaine, a hotel keeper who during the Civil War became Postmaster. Legend has it that when the Federal troops came into Wytheville, Fontaine escaped with the mail and hid it in the mountains. The structure has an antebellum atmosphere with a large center hall and high ceilings.

195 East Franklin Street

Directly across the street (diagonally from where you are standing), you will see 170 E. Franklin Street.

280 South First Street 280 S. First Street – Known as the “Ribble House,” it was built around 1915 for Dr. William H. Ribble, Jr., and family. Built in the typical style of the period, it features a large foyer, open stairway, wide central hallways both upstairs and down, and several large porches. Ribble probably built this house upon marrying his third wife, Daisy Maupin. Continuing north to the end of the block, located on your right is 210 S. 1st Street.

Abigail Jouett McGavock School, later Fitzgerald Campbell House 170 E. Franklin Street – The original five-room house was the Abigail McGavock School built in 1840. Abigail lived with her husband next door at 280 Church Street. The McGavocks’ daughter, Cynthia, married Dr. W.H. Ribble Office, Spring and South First Street John H. Fulton in 1876, and the couple took up residence in the Spring and 210 S. First Street - A 4th-generation physician, Dr. schoolhouse. Judge Fulton served a term in the Virginia legislature. Ribble performed the first appendectomy in Wytheville using local The Fultons gave the dwelling its present two-story form in the 1880’s. anesthetic. Dr. Ribble served on the committee initiating the building of the first Wytheville High School on Tazewell Street. He was the first president of the Wytheville Opera House Company and played a part Cross Franklin and stop on the corner of First Street. in the first production, Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Patience.” Dr. Ribble is buried in East End Cemetery. 55


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Club Manhattan (Ike’s Place) (Allison’s Cleaners) 530 East Franklin Street (center) – The Club Manhattan, later called Ike’s Tavern, was owned and operated by George Ralph “Ike” Allison from about 1944-48. Another nightspot known as the Shanghai Inn was also operated in the same building (between 1942 & 1949). At least six nightclubs operated in Wytheville from the early 1920s until the mid-1970s. Several of these were located on Franklin and 7th Streets during this time.

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E The following of this tour focuses on the African American history of Wytheville ERS F E MONROE ST PEPPportion and Wythe County. As with the rest of this historic tour, this section does not completely LOG HOUSE RESTAURANT put into words all the significant moments in this segment of history. It will give a glimpse into the impact that African American citizens made to this community as they transitioned from slavery to free people. It will show examples of where people lived, learned, and worshipped. Through this section and on other loops of this tour, you will learn interesting E MAIN ST E MAIN ST and significant stories about African American business men and women and the role that their entrepreneurial spirit played in Wytheville’s growth. Published author and historian VA STATE POLICE John M. Johnson graciously shared his vast knowledge and photography regarding local and regional African-American history for this section. We thank him for his contribution.

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530 East Franklin Street (present) 530 East Washington St. This one story home is an example of one of the many houses built in this neighborhood during the post-Civil War era. Moses Sanders Johnson, Sr., was the son of slaves. He was one of Charles and Norine Allison the most respected carpenters and house painters in Wytheville and 530 East Franklin Street (left) – Offering an unusual level of service Wythe County. for its time, Charles Allison Dry Cleaning and Pressing or the Wytheville Continue west on East Washington, Dry Cleaners was perhaps the only dry cleaners in the area where you turn right on S. 7th, looking left. could “get pressing done while you wait.” Operated by Charles W. Allison, Sr., there was also a barber shop in the same building which was operated by his son. The dry-cleaning business existed from 1925 until about 1942. Continue east on East Franklin looking to your right.

385 South 7th Street – Emma Allison owned and operated Emma’s Place as a restaurant. It was a teen hangout, and community grocery store during the day from 1953 until the mid-1960s. William “Bill” Allison’s Place, East Washington Street and 7th Street Pinkard Shoe Repair Company and On the empty corner lot to the Pinkard home, 565 East Franklin Street left of Emma’s Place (at East 565 East Franklin Street - Wythe County Shoe & Repairing Company Washington and S. 7th), stood was operated for more than forty years by James William Pinkard (1882- William “Bill” Allison’s Place – (No 1960). The concrete structure still stands. The photo reflects Pinkard in longer stands). It was last used as front of his business and his home to the right. a church and boarding house. Turning right on S. 9th Street, walk one block south, and turn right on Washington.

Continue north on S. 7th, turning left on East Franklin. 57


AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY LOOP Continue west on East Franklin.

480 East Franklin Street 480 E. Franklin Street – Built ca. 1910 on property previously owned by William K. Rich of the Rich Family, local cabinet makers and undertakers, the building was a lodge hall in the late 1950s and a night club in the early 1960s. Formerly the Odd Fellow Lodge, it was the first building constructed specifically for lodge meetings. Continue west on East Franklin.

Wytheville Training School

African American Heritage Museum 410 E. Franklin Street Hours vary

Located within the historic Wytheville Training School. The school was constructed in 1882 for African American children and was in operation until 1952. Exhibits feature photos, stories, and memorabilia that tell a history of African American education in Wytheville. The Wytheville Training School was built on land where a Freedmen’s school once stood, shortly after the freedom of the slaves between 1865 and 66. Sometime between 1880 and 1882, the Freedmen’s school was razed and a new church and school, as they appear today were erected. In 1883, an agreement was made between the Evansham (now Wytheville) School District and the trustees of the Franklin Street Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church to buy the school. The deed outlined an arrangement by which the M. E. Church was given the privilege to use the school building for religious worship on the Sabbath and for prayer meetings and funerals. They could also use Franklin Street United Methodist Church, 430 East Franklin Street the school for festivals and social meetings as long as such functions 430 E. Franklin Street - African Americans, free to worship after the did not interfere with the school functions. The school was used as a Civil War, organized the Franklin Street Methodist Church in 1866. church until the new church building was constructed in 1886. The Rev. James Peck, Presiding Elder of the Rappahannock District, Washington Annual Conference, assisted in the organization of the congregation at the home of Crockett Ross. The Pastor was Rev. Wilson Lee Wood who served the first 120 members. The first church building on Tazewell Street was sold in 1883 to the Evansham School District and the present site for the church at the corner of 5th and Franklin Streets was purchased. The cornerstone for the new brick church was laid in 1888. 58


AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY LOOP Interesting Story - African American education in Wythe County began after the Civil War with the Freedmen’s Bureau schools for freed slaves and their families. In 1876, these schools were replaced by a young Negro educator, Richard Henry Scott, who moved to the area from Chesterfield County, VA. Dr. Scott first taught in the county schools, later holding classes in the basement of the Franklin Street Methodist Episcopal Church. A school for Negro students was started in a frame building, no longer standing, at the corner of Franklin and Fifth Streets and was later replaced by the present building which housed the Wytheville Training School. Negro children from Wythe and surrounding counties attended this school until a new facility, named in honor of Dr. Scott, was built in 1952. The site of the Wytheville Training School includes a small frame building in the rear which was the fourth grade classroom.

Turning right on S. 5th Street, adjacent to the Wytheville Training School, you will find the Chaffin House (260 S. 5th) and the Rock Dale School (280 S. 5th) on your right.

Richard Henry Scott, Jr. Noteworthy Teacher - Richard Henry Scott, Jr. (1857-1925): At the age of 19, Richard Henry Scott, Jr., began teaching in the Evansham School System - later teaching at the Wytheville Colored Normal School which would become the Wytheville Training School. At a parents and teachers meeting in 1949, it was decided by the committee to name the new Scott Memorial High School (now Scott Memorial Middle School) after Richard Henry Scott, Jr.

Whyndham Meredith Sanders Scott Noteworthy Alumni - Whyndham Meredith Sanders Scott was born in Wytheville in 1888 and attended the Wytheville Graded “A” School (presently known as the Wytheville Training School) from 1893 to 1906. He graduated from Howard University as a member of the Dentistry Class of 1916. Dr. Scott practiced in Manhattan, New York, where he made special use of the x-ray for benefit of many patients. Chaffin House & Rockdale School Whyndham was one of six children of Professor Richard Henry Scott In 1939 when high school students from Carroll, Grayson and Bland and Mollie Clark Scott. He is buried in Oakwood Memorial Garden. Counties were assigned to attend the Wytheville Training School, the building became overcrowded and more space was needed. The Rock Other African American Businesses – Throughout other portions Dale School building, once a one-room rural elementary school for of this tour, primarily on Main Street, other businesses have been white students, was moved from Rock Dale Road about three miles noted that were owned by African American men and women. These north of Wytheville to this location in 1941 to accommodate the included cafes, barbershops, taxi services, groceries, carpenters, and many others. additional students. 59


EAST END CEMETERY

East End Cemetery, 245 Peppers Ferry Rd Deeply rooted in history, East End Cemetery and St. Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery are two of the oldest cemeteries in the area and offer a wealth of information about Wytheville and the country’s earliest families. The grounds are the final resting places of senators, congressmen, Civil War heroes, early immigrants, even the former governor of Virginia and the parents of a first lady. Several local citizens buried here were well known on the state and national level and include: Governor E. Lee Trinkle (Virginia Governor 1922-26), Colonel Robert E. Withers (U.S. Senator & Consult to Hong Kong), General William Terry (U.S. Senator & last commander of Stonewall Brigade), members of the J.E.B. Stuart family and the parents of Edith Bolling Wilson (First Lady and wife of President Woodrow Wilson). Besides numerous graves of Civil War heroes, you will also find a Confederate Monument erected through the efforts of the Wythe Gray Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Dedicated in 1900 with ceremonies and a parade of almost 5000 people, the base of the monument is a massive block of native limestone. The monument proper is of Vermont granite that was shaped, carved and dressed by a local business, B. F. Greenawalt and Company. The square sub-base is cut on the southern side in plain Gothic letters “To The Heroes of 1861-1865 - Defenders of State Sovereignty.” Crossed flags adorn the eastern side, crossed swords the western and the initials “C.S.A.” are on the northern side. The shaft is about twenty feet high. 60


ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH CEMETERY St. Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery The St. Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery is adjacent to the East End Cemetery. Within this area, you will find many of the graves of the first Irish-Catholic immigrants into Virginia. Sisters of the Visitation Many of the Sisters of the Visitation are buried at the grotto in the St. Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery. The Sisters of the Visitation ran the Villa Maria Academy. The academy was a Catholic boarding school for girls. The facility contained two institutions, a monastery or convent, and an academy. The original East North Street facility opened its doors to students in 1902. A fired destroyed the building in 1920. A new facility was built on the same location and reopened in 1923. It remained in operation until 1944. The old St. Mary’s Catholic Church was located on these grounds as well. Dedicated in 1845, it was known as the “Cathedral in the Wilderness,’ as it was the only Catholic church between Lynchburg, VA, and Knoxville, TN. The land was donated by Captain John P. Mathews. The first ordained resident priest was Rev. Edward Fox. The church was replaced by a new brick church building on East Main Street in 1937 and the old church was dismantled in the 1950s.

Catholic Church interior

Old Catholic Church

Oakwood Memorial Gardens Cemetery 580 Peppers Ferry Road Situated on five acres of land, the Oakwood Memorial Gardens Cemetery was established in the early 1880s. This African American cemetery has received close to one thousand burials since it was established over its one hundred year history. Close to five hundred of these graves are marked. In 1962, the Jonquil Garden Club took charge of the cemetery. Since 2002, it has been cared for by the Town of Wytheville. 61


ST. JOHN’S LUTHERAN CHURCH & THE FLOHR HOUSE St. John Lutheran Church & The Flohr House

St. John Lutheran Church 1650 N 4th Street

Flohr House Formally organized in 1799, the congregation came into being as a result of the migration of German settlers into the western part of Wythe County following the Revolutionary War. George Daniel Flohr (Father Flohr) was the first pastor of the church and served until his death in 1826. The original building is believed to have been constructed in 1800 and was used for half a century. The present frame structure known as St. John Lutheran Church was dedicated in 1854 and underwent extensive remodeling in 1885. Membership declined in the church after the population began moving toward the railroad in Wytheville and the town churches. In 1924, the remaining membership merged with the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (located on W. Main Street). An annual homecoming service is still held at the “mother church” each August.

Flohr Stone St. John Lutheran Cemetery It is not known when these grounds were first used for burial, but it is likely that there were graves before Wythe County was formed in 1790. Some of the graves bear evident marks back into the 18th century, although no legible inscription dates can be ascertained before 1805. A number of Wytheville’s founding families are buried in the oldest part of this cemetery including such names as Simmermans, Spillers, Hallers, Crocketts, and Baumgardners. Other early names include Radar, Kegley, Sharitz, Repass, and Brown. One of the most recognizable graves is that of one of the original pastors of the adjoining church, George Daniel Flohr. His grave marker is of a native stone known as mountain marble and is chiseled in the form of a coffin. This work was done by Lawrence Krone, at his private cost. Another interesting burial plot is located within the foundation of the original church. First reserved for pastors, Gibboney square was sold to this early family by special concession.

The log structure known as The Flohr House was built in 1807 on 47 acres of land about one mile north of the church. Originally constructed of hewn logs, the two room house has a large fireplace made of native stone and probably a dirt floor. It was later enlarged with two additional rooms and other structural improvements. In 1984, the house faced destruction because of a real estate development. In order to save it, the house was purchased by a local resident, Everett Kegley. It was disassembled, moved to the present site, and reassembled using stone from a spring house and chimney for the foundation. 62

Spiller Stones

Spiller Stone enlarged


WEST END CEMETERY & GENEALOGY RESOURCES West End Cemetery

GENEALOGY RESOURCES

West End Cemetery 1825 W Lee Highway In 1940, West End Cemetery was established on 23 acres of property located off of West Lee Highway. Later in 1957, the Town of Wytheville took over its operation and maintenance. The cemetery is divided into eight sections with additional areas reserved for future development. In 1995, the West End Memorial Mausoleum was completed as part of the cemetery grounds with a total of 140 crypts and 28 urn niches. Interestingly, the second largest white ash tree on record in Virginia is believed to be located within the cemetery grounds. It is thought to be approximately 300 years old.

Wythe County Historical Society Library (within Wytheville’s Heritage Center) 115 West Spiller Street. Open Monday/Wednesday, 10:00 - 4:00; Thursday, Noon-3:00. Research available via telephone, email and mail, for a fee. Call prior to visiting. 276-228-6061. Wythe County Courthouse 225 South Fourth Street, Room 105 Monday through Friday 8:30 - 5:00. No fee, self conducted research. 276-223-6050. Wythe/Grayson Public Library 300 East Monroe Street, Wytheville Section on local history and genealogical information. Monday-Thursday, 9:00 - 8:00; Friday, 9:00 - 6:00; Saturday, 9:00 - 3:00 276-228-4951 119 North Greever Street, Rural Retreat Tuesday & Friday, 10:00 - 6:00; Wednesday & Thursday, 11:00 - 7:00; Saturday, 10:00 - 4:00 276-686-8337 wythegrayson.lib.va.us The Kegley Library Wytheville Community College 1000 East Main Street (within the library in Smyth Hall) Monday - Friday from 8:00 - 5:00. No fee for using the collection, but a professional librarian must be present. Call for appointment. 276-223-4876 kegleylibrary.wcc.vccs.edu Wythe County Genealogical & Historical Association 165 S. 11th Street Monday/Tuesday, Noon - 5:00; Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, 10:00 - 4:00 276-228-2445 wythecogha.org

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Wytheville's Historic Walking Tour  

Take a journey through time with our building-by-building manner walking tour & enjoy some interesting stories that shaped Wytheville's hist...

Wytheville's Historic Walking Tour  

Take a journey through time with our building-by-building manner walking tour & enjoy some interesting stories that shaped Wytheville's hist...

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