The town of Marlinton has a rich history that began in 1749 when Jacob Marlin and Stephen Sewell settled in what became known as Marlin’s Bottom. The town earned the distinction of being the first permanent English settlement west of the Alleghenies.
In 1891, the county seat was moved from Huntersville to Marlinton, after the town was incorporated in 1900.
The Pocahontas County Historical Society and Preserving Pocahontas has created a Historic Walking Tour of Marlinton which focuses on 15 locations – most of which are still standing and used today as places of worship, business and entertainment.
The two organizations had a pamphlet printed with information and a map for visitors and locals alike to enjoy a walk through the past. The pamphlets are available at The Pocahontas Times office and the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as other locations.
The first stop on the tour is the Pocahontas Courthouse and jail on Tenth Avenue. The courthouse was built in 1894. The jail is located behind the courthouse and is now used by the Sheriff’s Department. It was built in 1926.
Next is the first of several churches on the tour – the Marlinton United Methodist Church on the corner of Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue.
The brick church was built in 1922 to replace the original wooden structure which was moved and is now Central Union Methodist Church.
Marlinton UMC is known for its large and intricate stained glass windows, which illuminate the sanctuary in a spectrum of colors on a sunny day.
On the next block on Ninth Street is St. John’s Episcopal Church. The church was consecrated by Bishop Gravatt on December 3, 1911. The certificate received that day can be seen on display in the church.
Located on the corner of Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue is Mitchell Chevrolet, Inc., but back in the 18th century, it was the site of the Lewis Oaks. On October 6, 1751, Colonel Andrew Lewis – surveying for the Greenbrier Company – marked two trees as a corner of a survey of 470 acres.
That survey was the first to be done west of the Alleghenies.
Across the street from Mitchell Chevrolet, on Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue, is the Marlinton Railroad Depot. The original depot was destroyed by fire in 2008 and through multiple grants and generous donations, the depot was rebuilt and is now home to the Pocahontas County Artisans Co-op’s 4th Avenue Gallery.
Next to the Depot on Fourth Avenue is the McGlaughlin Cabin. The log structure is the oldest building in Marlinton and was discovered in 1997 on Tenth Avenue, inside an apartment house that was being torn down.
The Pocahontas County Historic Landmarks Commission purchased it, and the cabin was meticulously dismantled and reconstructed at its present location.
The cabin was home to Squire Hugh McGlaughlin who built the house in 1850. The Pocahontas County Arts Council hosts art classes in and around the cabin.
Also located on Fourth Avenue is the Greenbrier Hill School, which was built around 1917.
Black students in Marlinton attended the school until all county schools were integrated in 1966. The Greenbrier Hill School was closed and has been privately owned since 1973.
Returning to Eighth Street, the next stop on the tour is C.J. Richardson Hardware.
The store was operated by the Richardson family for more than 100 years before it closed in 2019. It is awaiting a new opportunity to serve the community.
Traveling down Third Avenue, visitors will see The Cackling Hens – an antique store filled with furniture, knick-knacks and collectibles.
The building was originally the Marlinton Electric Company, founded in 1916.
The business was established primarily to run the town-owned steam-fired generators and operate the water plant.
Later, gasoline, heating fuel and automobiles have been sold there. The business was in operation for more than 90 years.
Next on Third Avenue is the Pocahontas County Opera House. Built in 1910, the Opera House is the oldest reinforced concrete building in West Virginia.
It showcased vaudeville acts, dramatic productions and moving picture shows. It later served as the office of The Marlinton Messenger newspaper; as well as a car dealership and warehouse.
In 1991, the Pocahontas County Historic Landmarks Commission purchased the Opera House and restored it to its original purpose – a place for entertainment.
The Opera House is currently receiving some repairs and a new paint job.
Located on Second Avenue is the former location of the The Pocahontas Times and print shop.
The newspaper is the oldest continuous operating business in the county, printing its first paper in 1883 at Huntersville.
In 1901, the Price family built the building on Second Avenue for the newspaper and print shop.
The Pocahontas Times was the last newspaper in the U.S. to use hand-set type. The staff relocated to a new location on Eighth Street in 2009.
Next to the former Times office, on the corner of Eighth Street and Second Avenue, is the Marlinton Presbyterian Church.
The church was organized in 1881 as Marlin’s Bottom Church. The current brick structure was built in 1915.
The church has a unique round sanctuary with the pulpit at the center.
Across the street from the church is the former I.O.O.F Lodge Building, known locally as the Peacock Building.
The faded blue-green structure was built in 1905 and was purchased by the Independent Order of Oddfellows Lodge 102 in 1911.
During its lifetime, the building has been the Lodge, the Pocahontas Drug Company, a movie picture house, a restaurant, Monongahela Power Company, shoe shop and furniture store.
The building is now shuttered, awaiting a reawakening.
Next to the Lodge on Eighth Street [Main Street] is a public park with a large white gazebo which is used as a gathering place and stage during town events.
In 1906, the original Pocahontas Memorial Hospital building was built on this site.
The building was destroyed by fire in 1930 and a new building was built in its place.
In 1995, the hospital moved to a new facility on Beard Heights, where it continues to serve the community.
The last stop on the tour is a slight trek across the bridge onto U.S. Route 219.
The Frank and Anna Hunter House is also the Pocahontas County Historical Society Museum.
The Historical Society purchased the house in 1962 and restored it to serve as the county’s museum.
The museum is home to artifacts, photographs and historical records. One room is dedicated to the logging industry and railroad history of Pocahontas County and another is a library of hundreds of books containing the history of the county and her people.