Preserving West Virginia: The Waldo Hotel - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Preserving West Virginia: The Waldo Hotel

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The Waldo Hotel in Clarksburg was named to "Endangered Properties" lists by the Preservation Alliance of WV in 2009, but is finally in the process of being restored, thanks to the persistent efforts of those determined to "Save the Waldo."

"Past presidents have been here, people of great wealth stayed at this place, and it was a grand hotel," said Lynn Stasick of the West Virginia Preservation Society.

The year was 1901. Coal mining had brought in thousands of immigrants to the city of Clarksburg, causing the local economy to skyrocket and paving the way for the Waldo to become a main attraction.

"The city of Clarksburg was a mecca for business back in the turn of the century. We had a railroad station right across the bridge," said Martin Shaffer, president of the Waldo Hotel Preservation Society. "We were fortunate enough to have someone like Nathan Goff, who was building a wonderful architectural product."

"Over 1,000 men worked on it. Many of them paid five cents an hour. Some of the skilled workers were paid 10 cents an hour," said Stasick.

That meticulous work resulted in the creation of one of the most luxurious hotels in the region. From a three-story entrance lobby and two ballrooms .. to ornate floor tile work and a grand staircase, the Waldo Hotel offered the finest amenities money could buy.

"They even had a room to cool their garbage so the odor would not affect the people who were staying here," said Shaffer. "Kennedy was here. I think Roosevelt was here, Truman was here, we've had a lot of historical figures come to this hotel."

But the economic boom wouldn't last forever. The hotel was sold to Salem College and turned into a dormitory and eventually was the site of offices and apartments. Then, the unthinkable: that grand entrance, once welcoming hundreds of guests per day was boarded up.

"The city's fire marshal closed it down after a number of years. Then, it sat vacant for at least 10 years," said Shaffer.

Then, just a few years ago, that same meticulous work that went into building the Waldo a century earlier resurfaced in the form of a group led by Shaffer. Last May, that dedication paid off in a big way.

"The developer saw what we've done, so he decided to buy the building. He's gutting it out to the original structure," said Shaffer.

That preservation process has finally come to fruition, and the developer has big plans for the building: remaking it into a hotel and brewery.

"We plan on having a section of the lobby where there will be a displayed historical artifacts," said Shaffer.

To find out more about how to Save the Waldo, visit its website.
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