First Tavern  parkersburg wv - Mackey's Antiques & Clock Repair


Mackey's Antiques & Clock Repair
1249 Gihon Road
Parkersburg WV 26101

   304 422-7274

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First Tavern License -Issued To Hugh Phelps

36  Hill's Central Hotel on Court Square was a popular stopover for travelers passing through Parkersburg in the early 1800s.The structure, built about 1819 as the Bell Tavern, later housed the Commercial Hotel, the Hotel Stratford and the Mark Hanna Hotel.


The first tavern or ordinary licensed by the Court of Wood County was to Hugh Phelps, in 1789 on the south side of the Kanawha. The next went to John Neal in 1801. He was the father of D. R. and Cincinnatus Neal. It was built of hewn logs and know as "The Rest." This building with improvements was in existence as a tavern and store until 1850. On part of the lot, the building once known as the Swan House, stood. This was erected by Benjamin H. Latrobe of Baltimore, about the time of the . completion of the B. & O. Rail road  in 1857. "The Rest" with its swinging ,sign, "Entertainment for Man and Beast" was the resort of ; the pioneers. Here they doubtless spent many hours telling bear game and Indian stories and discussing the questions of the day  Federal or Democratic eagerly receiving the news from passing "From 1812 to 1815 the first hotel of substance material was built on the northwest corner of the Public Square.  It was erected by Caleb Bayley who at the same time built the brick Court House. This hotel was known as the  bell Tavern, from a bell in the tower on the roof.


There assembled as they had at The Rest, travelers, judges, lawyers, jurymen and witnesses, when not invited by some friend to ride several miles in the country to stay all night. The hotel was also the scene of gayeties. Here the young people came from all the country for balls and other festivities'. The ball was the high social function. The young ladies occasionally riding on horse back with their escorts, from at least 10 or 15 miles in the country.

It was later known as the United States Hotel, kept by John Stephenson, who went to the far west, Oregon; later by William Teft, then Mr. Conley, who afterwards kept the Swann House. It was the Commercial Hotel in 1903.

Other taverns built later were the American House on the southwest side of Court Square. first known as the Prentiss House. kept by Harry L. Prentiss. one of whose sons was the famous B. M. Prentiss of Missouri. In 1800 the courts fixed lite rates for meals and drinks. Breakfast or supper 21 cents; dinner, 25 cents; lodging, 8 cents; corn or oates, 11 cents per gallon; whiskey, half pint, 8 cents.


Later rates changed, but prices were always fixed for man and horse; also for various drinks, such as whiskey, peach or apple brandies. As the market for corn was far away, much of it was made into whiskey, which was more easily transported. It was almost considered a necessity at house raising, log rolling, shooting? matches and such gatherings.  Fifteen steamers had been built by 1818 at various points on the rivers. They helped to make a new era for the pioneers.  As late as 1830 to 1835 there were few carriages. Even those ill prosperous circumstances rode horseback. There was an occasional gig or Jersey wagon without springs. The road to Williamsport, as it was then called, crossed Pond Run at Third St. and followed the banks of the Ohio, Until about till about 1850 this was a beautiful drive, shaded by fine forest trees.


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