The Hermitage Inn
Photo by Albert Mach
The original Hermitage was built in the early 1840’s of bricks dug and fired on the premises, using slave labor. This building is older than the state of West Virginia (1863) and Grant County (1866). The first legal record, dated 1841, described it as a red brick building with “necessary outbuildings”. It has been in continuous hostelry since 1881.
The Inn has been an integral part of the community since its first guests arrived by stagecoach from Keyser and Cumberland and later the Inn’s livery met the daily train from Cumberland.
Before the Civil War, the Hermitage was the home of Dr. Jacob Kenny Chambers. During the war, it was taken over by offers of Federal troops who occupied Petersburg and were stationed at Fort Mulligan. In 1881, John and Mary Cunningham converted the house into the Cunningham Hotel and operated it into the 1890’s. They were followed by the family of the late Charles Godlove. Around the turn of the century, John Ed Taylor and his family of nine daughters came to Petersburg. It was during this time that the inn became known as the Hermitage Hotel. During the First World War, the hotel was operated by G.P. Shaeffer, who made several improvements to the building. This included central heating and plumbing. Mrs. Russel Quinn, the ninth daughter of John Ed Taylor, operated the Hermitage for a few years until it was taken over by her nephew, Donald J. Baker.
Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Cowherd bought the hotel in 1942 and converted the dining facilities to the West Virginia Book and Craft Shop in the early 1970’s. In October of 1965, a new and modern motor lodge was added to the property.
Mr. and Mrs. James A. Roby took over operation of the hotel and craft shop on October 1, 1980 and added a pool to the property in 1981. Twelve additional units were added to the motor lodge in 1984 and other renovations included electric baseboard heat, and steam radiators. On the very day that the electric was switched on, the Flood of 1985 finished off the old boiler.
In March of 2013 Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Mallow purchased the property and have been working to continue the restoration of the property. The Mallow’s already own a successful restaurant in Grant County, Mallow’s Roadside Café, and are eager to try their hand at operating this Petersburg staple. The restaurant became a favorite of Petersburg over the years and offered some traditional specials, such as, fried bread and apple butter.
Open courtesy of Joe and Kim Mallow
Directions: 203 Virginia Ave