In 1908, at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, the first Mother’s Day observance was held. At the request of Ms. Anna Jarvis, the congregation of this church recognized mothers and their significance to the formation of our country. This service lead to the creation of Mother’s Day and the second Sunday of each May annually. The International Mother’s Day Shrine, formerly Andrew’s Episcopal Church, holds a service to recognize mothers everywhere each year. It was added to the list of National Historic Landmarks on October 5, 1992 and became a National United Methodist Historic Site in 2008.
11 E. Main Street
Due to the importance of the B&O Railroad for the movement of troops and supplies, Grafton was a strategic point during the early stages of the Civil War and both sides tried to control it. Grafton continued to prosper throughout much of the early 20th century with much of this growth centered on the importance of the railroad. Passenger rail to Grafton ended on April 13, 1971.
E. Main Street
The Brinkman Block is a set of three Italianate buildings that contained seven storerooms, a saloon, a bakery, a meeting hall, an 800 seat Opera House and a home for Brinkman’s family of 13. When Grafton became the seat of Taylor County in 1878, court was held at Brinkman Hall for two years while the Courthouse was being built. During the 1887 Railroad Strike, Baltimore & Ohio employees used the Opera House as their headquarters. The buildings are now occupied by Gallery 62 West, Carr China Treasures, 68 W. Main Street, Dr. Cassandra Zelenak, DDS PLLC, and Dragon’s Den Mixed Martial Arts.
62-76 W. Main Street
This is the location of the first bank in Grafton in 1873, Citizens Savings Bank, which merged with Grafton Bank which is now First National Bank.
Previously a shoe shop owned by Henry Colerider, this housed the town’s first telephone system that did not require a switchboard operator. Calls were made directly from phone to phone via the buttons on the machines and an electric switchboard.
123 W. Main Street
Most of present day Grafton was built from 1890 to 1930. John T. McGraw, a finance and major contributor to most of Grafton’s buildings, was the principle town builder. Besides his bank, McGraw built a number of buildings along Main Street, as well as the streetcar system that was used for many years.
Grafton had a lot of mail due to all the train traffic. This was the first post office to serve Grafton and was established on April 1, 1854. They broke ground for this building on June 1, 1913 and the corner stone was laid on Tuesday December 2, 1913. The building was completed January 1, 1915 and was built in the Classical Revival style of stone from Kingwood Quarries at a cost of $135,000. This post office incorporated smaller offices in West Grafton, Fetterman, Pruntytown, Knottsville, Cecil and Webster and was an important railway post terminal. In the early days, 100 railroad mail clerks were in and out of Grafton daily.
260 W. Main Street
Just South of Grafton are the historic grounds of where the first casualties of the Civil War were suffered, some of whom are buried in the Grafton National Cemetery. This is a beautiful place to tour through especially during Memorial Day weekend while all of the graves are covered with flowers and night tours are held with lanterns. These are the only two National Cemeteries in West Virginia.
42 Veterans Memorial Lane
The theater has operated under three different names since the grand opening in 1912. It was the Hippodrome, the Strand and lastly, Manos Theater. The first show featured a cartoon, sports review, musical and the full length film The Life of Riley. It was a part of the Manos theater chain, owned and operated by the Manos family out of Pennsylvania. The Manos closed in 1995 after 46 years in business. Following a very brief reopening, the Manos closed its’ doors for good in 1998.
14 E. Main Street
The Merchants & Mechanics Bank was organized on May 21, 1891 and opened its doors for business on June 28, 1891. Besides a bank, it was also home to legal offices and a shorthand, stenography and typing school. The bank failed in 1930 like most banks across America because of the Great Depression, but Loar’s Jewelers opened here in 1947 after its previous showroom was destroyed by fire. Loars was famous for inspecting the watches of the B&O Railroad train crewmen but closed its doors in 1984. The structure is fashioned of bricks and cut stone in the Neo Romanesque Revival architecture style. The tower was originally capped with a conically shaped roof or “witch’s hat.”
In 1854, early Grafton pioneer Peter Wolfe built this structure in which Methodist services were held before any church was built in town. It was later purchased by Captain George R. Latham and served as the base of operations for his weekly newspaper, the Western Virginian. In its pages he advocated for the election of President Abraham Lincoln and published the first printed proposal for separation from Virginia. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Latham opened a recruiting station for the Union army. It was here that Thornsbury Bailey Brown, first Union casualty of the War, enlisted in the Grafton Guards, also known as Latham’s Crazy Wildcats. The Grafton Guards was the first full company of Union soldiers in Western Virginia, organized on May 15, 1861.
The seat of Taylor County was moved from Pruntytown to Grafton in 1878 whereupon construction began on this courthouse built on property purchased from the heirs of early Grafton. The building opened in 1880 and was completed in 1882. The three story structure housed a jail on the first floor, the jailer’s residence as well as offices for county and circuit clerks on the second floor, and the courtroom on the third floor.
214 W. Main Street
The concrete dam is operated by the US Army of Engineers and measures 1,921 feet long and 209 feet wide. President Roosevelt even made a visit to the dam himself in 1936. There is an overlook and parking area too.
530 Paul E. Malone Road
Also known as West Virginia’s best kept secret, Tygart Lake has plenty of outdoor activities on the water, but it also goes back in history. In 1753, David Tygart and Robert Files settled in Tygart Valley until Files home was raided by Indians, killing 7 members of his family. Although his son escaped and warned the Tygarts so that they could all escape. Minor battles also took place here during the Civil War, such as the Battle of Philippi, Battle of Laurel Hull and the Battle of Cheat Mountain.
1240 Paul E. Malone Road