The New River Lodge sits a stone’s throw from the Cheat River and the historic tracks of the B&O railroad. The historic Victorian “stick” house in Rowlesburg is a testament not just to the importance of historic preservation, but its ability to create new possibilities.
The house that would become the New River Lodge was built by Harry Hollis, the president of the People’s National Bank of Rowlesburg, for his sons Robert and Ross. The grand residence housed two families, eventually growing into a three-family rental property sometime after World War II. The house saw many changes over the years, gradually losing its original Victorian aesthetic as time progressed.
Co-owner Tim Weaver purchased the property in 2009. Many visitors came through Rowlesburg to appreciate its history, but few could stay in town due to inadequate lodging. Today the River House Lodge has transformed into landmark accommodation for the old railroad hub. The beautiful original siding, once hidden by plastic panels, has been revealed and restored. The front skirted porch, which had also changed over the years, has also been returned to its former glory.
Guest rooms are decorated as they would be in the late 19th century. Some rooms even have bed frames more than 100 years old! Period furniture in the five rooms of the house evokes the Gilded Age, transporting guests back in time with modern conveniences.
A trip to Rowlesburg would not be complete without taking in the town’s railroad history. Co-owner Tim has a deep connection to the area’s railroad history, saying that “My family were all railroaders; my grandfather was an engineer; my stepfather worked at the M&K shops; and uncles and cousins worked for the railroad.” The River House Lodge is a short walk away from the Rowlesburg B&O Depot Museum. There’s also nearby M&K Junction, a “famous ‘Cathedral’ of railroading.”
Rowlesburg is not like any other small town in West Virginia. On top of its monuments to rail history, Rowlesburg is home to the Greatest Generation World War II museum in the Szilagyi Center. And if you’d like to experience the Cheat River to its fullest, the River House Lodge rents kayaks and rafts at a discount to guests. You can see more at the River House Lodge’s Facebook page and website.