Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pt. Pleasant's River Museum

Now sporting a jaunty red coat of paint, the Pt. Pleasant River Museum officially opened in May of 2004.  It is home to a large collection of archives and artifacts, showcasing the river industry and its impact on the Kanawha and Ohio Valley.  Interactive displays, videos, a freshwater aquarium and more are just some of the great exhibits you'll find.

You might also find a ghost or two...

The River Museum is housed in a three story brick structure, which many locals still refer to as the "Old Nease" building.  Built around 1854, the building served as the grocery and mercantile business for local, Robert Mitchell.  Mitchell had been in the Pt. Pleasant mercantile business since at least 1852, and catered to both locals and the river traffic that would dock down from the store.

Around 1906, the HG Nease Company was issued a charter to open a grocery business in Pt. Pleasant.  HG Nease, another local who had previously served as principal at Pt. Pleasant High School, and four other men,including J.S. Spencer of Lowe Hotel fame, comprised the stockholders issued this charter.

The Nease Company would be the last entity to run a mercantile business from the building.  In the 1940s, the building was used by another local establishment simply as storage.  Recent years had left the building nearly derelict, when in 1990, the firm of Hartley, Hartley, and Hartley donated the building to the city of Pt. Pleasant for the establishment of a river museum.  After much hard work, the museum finally opened, nearly 15 years later.  

Originally, the land the building was built upon was a popular spot for both the Native tribes, but also served as a battleground during the late 1700s.  Across the street, Tu-Endie-Wei State Park stands as a testament to the  frontiersmen and natives who lost their lives at the Battle of Pt. Pleasant.

With such a long history, and with such a collection of antique artifacts, some directly connected with the Silver Bridge Disaster, its only natural to assume the building may pick up a ghost or two.  The most often witnessed event is simply movement caught out of the corner of one's eye, as if someone is in the building with you.  However, a few witnesses have reported seeing a more substantial anomaly...the apparition of a worker wearing white coveralls.  It is rumored that a previous worker in the building's history matches the description of the man seen.

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