It is a working barn and an eye-catcher for barn-lovers. If you drive by, it is not unusual to see a photographer or painter capturing its beauty. It’s a classic example of what Eric Slone referred to when he wrote of a time when barns were “the palaces of America.”
The barn was built by Wade Snyder for H. Riley Heishman on his wife’s home place. With its soaring interior and exceptional craftsmanship, the Mathias barn looks more like a cathedral than the working barn it is. The walls of the feed bins are tongue-in-groove, and the openings are finished with molding finer than that in many contemporary homes. Ornaments accent the barn doors.
The Heishmans were savvy business people, owning at one time the general store, post office, beer parlor, funeral parlor, and a trucking business. Eventually they owned most of the land between Mathias and Lost River, including the land purchased by the state for Lost River State Park.
When they were young, Ben and Elizabeth Mathias watched the barn’s construction. They bought the house and surrounding land in 1959 and the barn and more of the land in 1967 from Woodrow and Grace Mathias. Ben and Woodrow were brothers.
Ben and Elizabeth are now deceased and the farm is owned by their daughter Connie and her husband “Rick” Hoover, who continue to raise beef cattle there. They are retired and they call it their “hobby farm.”
Open courtesy of the Mathias and Hoover families.
Directions: at Mathias, directly across WV 259 from the Misty Valley store and gas station.
Photo by Albert Mach