Day 2: Winding up West Virginia

Hopefully, after today’s photos here and over at Flickr, you’ll understand my compulsion to finish up my West Virginia list before eventually heading westward.  Maybe it’ll moved up on your list of states to explore.  Make sure you have good brakes and tires though — they don’t call it the Mountain State for nothing.

So, I’m almost done with WV.  Ran out of daylight in Wheeling where I’ve parked hard-working little Sparkle for the night.  Just some Northern Panhandle (that skinny piece on top) to go — and then over to Pittsburgh area for a bit and then onward to Ohio.  Finally.  The big exciting-est news (you might have noticed at Flickr) — SUN today.  All day.

And one humbling 15 minute episode.  I spotted an unexpected nice canopy gas station to shoot in Harrisville.  Pulled over on the shoulder — thought I’d be fine with two wheels on pavement and two in the grass.  But, uh-uh.  Although Sparkle’s all-wheel drive, I could tell right away we were in trouble.  I gently tried reverse and forward a bit.  No dice.  It was like quicksand.  After a few minutes, Sparkle’s left rear tire was off the ground.  I wanted to get a photo for you — but I was too chicken to get back in the van to get the camera.  So then the race was on by every macho guy in town to get me out.  A trooper directed traffic while a good-old-boy in a monster truck pulled me back out just the way I went in.  Done.  So strange.  I was only maybe a foot in the grass from the pavement but that was enough.

OK then — lots of photos — and I got a late start tonight.  Already 12:30am so let’s get to it.

Starting with Morgantown.  This appears to be a former gas station dressed up castle style:


From Fairmont.  Still open.  From the company’s website, it sounds & looks like this sign is from 1936:

This two-fer — also in Fairmont:


A dome home in Quiet Dell (gotta love  name):


From Grafton — sun makes all the difference don’t it?


From Clarksburg.  A not so special mid-century bank.  Although the marble at the lower level is nice….


BUT…  the most exquisite vinyl (?) tiles above:


Also Clarksburg:


More Clarksburg.  Your vitrolite facade du jour — this time with the sign built into the glass:  Note the detail at the tops of the windows also:


Yes, more Clarksburg.  Theatre-like sign originally read “Palace Furniture”.  The store is long-gone now.  Surely there was neon or bulbs.  Note the double ladders that were used for maintenance:


Still Clarksburg.  Need I say that this drive-in is closed?  I love the extra long arrow, with the crunch:


OK, last two from Clarksburg — a nice bit of terra cotta at the downtown post office:


The Dairy Queen in Shinnston.  What made me hit the brakes was the DQ “lips” weathervane.    I’ve only seen a couple of others like this:

But what seemed especially novel to me was this backside.  A second level balcony?  Can one rent out the top floor of DQs?  Is this just a private lounge for employees?  Was it — or is it still — open to customers?  So many questions — but so little time.  I was racing the sun to get to Parkersburg so I couldn’t stop & ask what the deal was.


Final photo for the night — from Ohio (I was spilling over to Ohio for a bit en route to Wheeling).  This is in Sardis.  Nearly dark but I still had to shoot this one.  Obviously from the island, it was a gas station at some point.  Sadly, vacant now.  I like how it nearly conceals the attached house behind.


1:20 am.  That’s a wrap.

The dogs, yes, must get some shots of them soon.  In the meantime, for those of you starving to see them, you do know they have a section over there at my site?

Food.  I’ve been eating really boring & healthy lately.  But I will break down soon and get some ice cream — and yes, some pie, somewhere.  Not to worry.

20 thoughts on “Day 2: Winding up West Virginia

    • When I did the deed, I was initially thinking, “there goes two hours” which is usually how long it takes to get AAA. But then I was surrounded with help and speechless onlookers. A tiny little town and I think I was the big excitement for the afternoon. I was only ever so slightly off the pavement — that was the weird thing. I’ve been a little freaked out since then about every hole and bit of grass.

  1. So many questions from this post. I really want to know what those tiles are made of on the MCM bank? What is up with that Palace blade sign? There are no holes at all. And what is that balcony for at the DQ?

    • Yeah, can’t answer to the balcony at the DQ. I want to know if it’s a residence (apt. for rent? or owner), employee lounge (ping pong or pool table?), or just plain old storage. Spitting opportunity on the customers below!

  2. I swear I wrote a comment on this post. I really want to know more about those MCM tiles on the bank. And what is up with that Palace blade sign? Why are there holes for glass, bulbs, or neon?

      • Those a pretty easy to patch. The question is whether neon, bulbs or both. This sign looks to be from the 1920s when it could have been either or a combo.

      • I didn’t delete any or your posts — I swear! Though I have been known to delete some by others if they are way personal or off topic.

        As for the tiles — they looked like some sort plastic to me. I can send you an original camera file of a close-up if you really want to scrutinize.

  3. Not at all surprised every good old boy in WV stopped to help you out. My dad’s family’s from WV and whenever we visit I’m amazed by how the men will hop to in situations like that.

    • Yeah, I thought I might not need to call AAA for that one. Within minutes, I had a State Trooper and three offers (two trucks and a tractor) — and scads of onlookers. Sheesh. I guess I was all the talk at the coffee shop the next morning “that crazy woman from New York that don’t know how to drive and got stuck in the mud”. Add this to my shame list: twice stuck in snow, once backed into a ditch. Luckily, Sparkle is very solid and takes it all with grace.

  4. And the adventures begin! Really happy to see all that vitrolite and neon. I always raced through WV on my way from Virginia to Chicago. Many missed opportunities! Glad you took the time to document the towns and cities of WV.

    I’m so glad to be settling in here for another Debra Jane Mega Roadtrip. It’s going to be a great month. Hi, pooches!

    • Thank you muchly! Yes, I’ve neglected WV for years for the same reason. Always hustling off to some other region & the list just kept growing. I thought I could whack through it in four or five days — but it was more like eight. Those mountains…

  5. Back to the Palace sign, if they are patched, they are patched very, very well compared to the lettering for Palace. I wonder if someone cut new metal faces for the sign?

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