Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on May 23, 1976 · Page 79
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 79

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 23, 1976
Page 79
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1JV -Mav 23,1976 " Y Berkeley Springs Historic Mecca l^f^i ,v . Berkeley Springs, a Bicentennial ton, is the seat of Morfaa Cowty and site of the first spa in the nation. Tbe town and the Berkeley Springs Park were established by the same act of the Virginia Assembly in October 177t-tbe first state park and probably the fint town to be established in the new nation. TV springs were originally called Warm. Springs and George Washington in 1748, at age 1C, on visiting the place said "This day we visited ye Famed Warm Springs." The fame 'at that early age was from the Indian tales of the healing waters. Visitors have noted its warm hospitality and relaxed atmosphere for more than two centuries. Today they find historical sites, opportunity for relaxation and adventure awaiting them. Healthful Waters, Hunting, Hiking,. Fishing, Boating, Antiques, Horseback Riding, Swimming, Scenic Beauty, Delicious Food, Golfing and Tennis. \ i The recently opened It hole championship golf course at Cacapon State Park is one of the finest offering challenging play in a relaxed atmosphere. A full time professional is on duty. In addition to golf the state owned Cacapon Park has tennis, volley ball, hiking, horseback riding, picnic grounds, playgrounds, swimming, boating, and fishi ng on Cacapon Lake. Much of this is duplicated and added to by private enterprise accommodations. Hotels, cabins, lodges, camping grounds and trailer courts are available. The Berkeley Springs State Park in the middle of town offers the same healing waters, which continue to flow at the same rate and a temperature of 74.3 degrees, and were used by the founders of our nation for cures to several diseases by both drinking and bathing. History is mixed with progress in the facilities, which offer Roman Baths built by James Rumsey, the inventor, still in use, and modem tub, steam and showers with massage. Access to the springs and water has always been free and only nominal fees are charged for baths, therapeutic treatment, and the swimming pool. The Historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Tunnel near the town of Paw Paw, built from 1836 to 1850 to.take the canal through the mountain, was an engineering wonder of the time and today it is a popular attrac- tion for history btrfft aid hikers. A historic castle, bull in the IKh centi- ry, on the'.hill overlooking Berkeley Springs is of curious interest to travelers and can be hiked to or reached by auto. An annual Apple Butter Festival in October is a gala weekend of games, music, crafts and homecoming. In 1777 one year after the establishment of the town, at a lot sale, purchasers were George Washington, three signers of the Declaration of Independence, four signers of the Constitution, seven members of Continental Congress, five Revolutionary Generals, and other prominent colonists and Revolutionaries. Many more greats and near greats of that period bought lots a* built homes aad others resorted here ttt lodged ii boarding houses. Prapeet Peak: This headland overlooks the Potomac aud Great Cacapoa Valleys aid the three states, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The National Geographic Magazine rates this sceie among America's outstanding beauty spots. Special brochures on,Bicentennial events in Ii76, maps for walking tours to The First Summer White House and other historic spots, and list of accommodations will be available through the Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, Berkeley Spring, W. Va. 15411. Telephone 30«5» S7J*. (304) 744-5659 (CHAS.) 429-2894 (HUNT.) THETRAVEL AGENCY WITH EXPERIENCE (37 YEARS) HAWAII PACIFIC NORTHWEST AMERICAN HERITAGE THEATER TOURS BALL GAMES 504 Elizabeth A venue South Charleston, W.Va. 25303 Shepherd's Milt, Shepherdstotvn, was built in 1738, recently restored. Photo by Steve Payne. Americana Family Museum By Terry Kenu One family's desire to preserve part of the past for their children; and grandchildren has resulted in one of West Virginia's finest private museums. The Americana Museum, created by Clem and Ruth Teets of Terra Alta in Preston County, is a priceless collection of items relating to almost every aspect of life in the earlier days of our state and nation. :' The Teets family began collecting antiques as a pastime. "We wanted to keep busy after our children left home," says Mrs. Teets, "and we wanted to leave something for our children. Clem spent most of his free time attending auctions or working on the museum," she says of her late husband. 1 The family had no plans to open the museum to the public. It was planned as a pri- ' yate collection only, but soon word of the growing collection spread. Several friends of the family urged them to share their .clllection with others, and in 1970 the museum was opened to the public on a limited 'basis. Money collected from the tours ;through the museum was used to help start a scholarship fund at the local high '"schoool. -, -Today, a half-dozen buildings make up ; -the museum complex, which is located on :a ridge overlooking Terra Alta. The vast : -majority of the thousands of antiques in- · ·· 'eluded in the museum were found within ;: ;a 50-mile radius of Preston County. The ·' -Teets family purchased hundreds of items '.' at auctions and added others through the ·;* help of dealers and collectors who had : ·' .-learned of the family's hobby. : * ; Not satisfied with collecting smaller ex- · J hibits of historical significance, the family i-'ilso sought buildings that reflected the '' [state's heritage to house the collection. A '··; -log cabin, typical of the homes of early lowest Virginians, was purchased and ·:-moved log-by-log to the museum site. ·; -There it was carefully reconstructed and I- filled with items traditionally found in ·' such homes a century or more ago. The '.' 'cabin features a collection of spinning and ''·weaving implements, including a rug · ; loom. During tour hours, a local crafts'.' man dressed in period clothing is on hand ·' to demonstrate the methods used by early ^; pioneers to make cloth. '.- The most recent addition to the museum '' complex is an old Methodist church that ',' once served Preston County residents. 1 - More than a century old. the church is typ- ·'. ical of the white frame structures that dot',' ted the hills of the state in the past. A ;' small section of the siding has been re- ''. moved and a glass plate inserted in order ', · that visitors can see the hand-hewn beams · " connected by wooden pegs. The church '' was moved to the museum and will in- '' elude old-fashioned pews and other items ;'. associated with such churches. ·; Only the spreading chestnut tree is ; · missing from the blacksmith shop. Enter- ·' ing the building, it is easy to imagine one'-: self stepping back in time and awaiting the I - arrival of the strong-armed village smi- ; - thy. Hand-forged tools and implements ·; line the shelves and walls, and a giant bel- I · lows stands ready to fan the fire. The mu- · " seum is now making arrangements to '; have a blacksmith on hand during tours to '. · provide visitors with an even more authen- ; i tic look at this vital craft from the past. · The carriage house is a long building ". · that details man's love affair with his ' horse and wagon. More than 20 antique carriages are on display, including a surrey, stagecoach, buckboard and hearse. Several antique cars complement the other exhibits. . The main building in the complex is a monstrous two-story structure that is literally crammed with exhibits depicting the various aspects of life in days gone by. A tiny one-room school complete with initialed wooden desks calls to mind fond childhood memories for older visitors, and the beautifully worked wood and metal of what was once a rural post office await the day's supply of letters that will never come. Tucked away in one dark corner sits a still that once produced that throat-burning treat of our forefathers who found moonshine to be an ideal way to turn one's corn crop into an easily marketable and enjoyable product. A doctor's office, purchased from the estate of a physician who practiced in Preston County for half a century, includes old examination tables, an ancient x-ray machine, antique vials and other paraphernalia associated with a country doctor's office. Of special fascination is the bleeder with thirteen razor- sharp blades to slice into the patient's arm. The instrument with its spring-activated blades looks like the handiwork of some diabolical madman but in reality was an integral part of a doctor's office in the days when "thinning the blood" was prescribed for a variety of illnesses. Several kitchens are filled with all the basics needed to provide for a family in pioneer days. The kitchen exhibits are designed to provide a view of home life a t . various periods during settlement days. Tastefully arranged bedrooms and parlors, exhibits depicting the evolution of farm tools from rustic wooden styles to modern metal implements and scores of collections of everything from antique toys to typewriters line the aisles. Essentially, the museum remains a private collection. The Teets family maintains and adds to the museum primarily for their own enjoyment. However, one 'can tour the complex for a small fee on 14 Sunday afternoons a year. During the time that the museum is ope'n-froil) the Sunday preceding July 4 until late fall-local residents are on hand to serve as guides and to explain and demonstrate the numerous exhibits. .The Teets family may have intended only to save part of the past for their children but the final product provides an enjoyable history lesson for all those who visit the museum. .VACATION .GRADUATION .JUNEBRIDE.FATHtR'SDAY. 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