Lost River Artisans’ Cooperative
Lost River Artisans Cooperative and the farm family museum are new to the big red building at 8937 State Route 259 in Lost City. However, the property has held many roles in local history over the past 60 years. In 1956, Orpha Scea inherited the 1.5 acre track and its cinder block building situated “from a 20 penny spike in a wooden fence post” on the southerly right of way line of the highway. Only a few years old then, the building became Capon Farm Supply and then Lost River Farm Supply. In 1973, it was deeded to the Dispanet family.
- P. Dispanet (of South End Grocery in Lost City) remembers standing on a specially built stool behind the counter to sell hardware, feed, and “all manner of farm supplies” when he was very young. His stories involve chicken catchers and haulers; mixing varied blends of grains for hogs, sheep, and cattle; and writing receipts and making change from atop his stepstool. A garage at the north end of the building housed mechanics and served as a vehicle inspection station. Farm auctions were conducted off the feed store porch.
In the 1980s, 8937 became the Capon Valley Marble Company, making sinks and cabinets. The 1990s saw it used by its Funkhouser owners to assemble printers used in photography. Then a construction company owned the building until 2015 when it was purchased by Lost River Ventures, LLC.
Over its years, this simple and flexibly functional building has had many roles in the local community and its economy. These fluctuated pragmatically with ups and downs in the chicken industry and various building, excavating, hauling and storage needs. Still highly adaptable, today 8937 houses Mountaineer Stairworks; the Lost River Artisans’ Co-op and the only museum in Hardy County; a realty office, the Lost River office of the Hardy County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a farmers market.
As a Welcome Center during Heritage Weekend, the Lost River Artisans’ Co-op will be open from 9 to 3:30 on Friday and 9 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday. Look for the old tractor out front and come on in!