Photo: Dan Reichard
For years, this rustic cabin was believed to have been built by Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, the Revolutionary War hero and father of Confederate icon Robert E. Lee. But a study by Ellen Anderson for the WV Department of Parks documented that it more likely was Light Horse Harry’s son Charles Carter Lee who built the two-story cabin in 1800.
According to Anderson, Light Horse Harry bought 17,000 acres along Howard’s Lick and Cove Run Road in 1796 for speculative purposes but went into debt before he could develop the property. Rather than have it seized by creditors, he transferred the property to his four sons, including Robert and his elder brother Charles.
Charles is believed to have built the hand-hewn white oak cabin as a hunting-cabin but, sensing the opportunity presented by the existence of sulphur springs, built a two-story hotel and spa on the site. Lee ran the hotel until 1851 when it was acquired by entrepreneurs, who renamed it Hardy White Sulphur Springs. In the 1890s, H.S. Carr enlarged the hotel and called it Lee White Sulphur Springs. The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1910, but the original cabin and pavilion at the spring survived.
The Lee Cabin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 30, 1974.
In 1934, the State of West Virginia purchased the property, including the cabin, to create the 3,712-acre Lost River State Park. To commemorate its 75th anniversary, Lost River is having a series of special events in 2012. The park has a lovely swimming pool, hiking trails, and a nearby stable where horses can be hired which makes it a great family vacation spot. Note: Cabins do book early.
Open courtesy of the WV Department of Parks
Directions: Located on Lost River State Park Road, County Route 12 (Howard’s Lick Road) four miles southwest of Mathias. Once in the park, follow signs for the swimming pool. Before the pool at a “Y” in the road, bear right up the hill. Parking is just beyond the cabin.