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ArtsLink To Host House Tour

By Staff | Nov 18, 2009

The Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast

One of the oldest homes in New Martinsville will be featured on the tour of six unique homes in the New Martinsville area scheduled for Dec. 6, sponsored by ArtsLink, the arts council of Wetzel and Tyler counties.

The McEldowney house, located at 667 Maple Avenue, is one of six homes to be showcased. The six magnificent homes capture the style of today and yesterday.

Four are classic Victorian homes in downtown New Martinsville and two are modern architectural gems in Beechwood Estates east of New Martinsville.

The Beechwood Estates homes belong to John Charles and Trish Mensore and Rob and Natalie Christen.

The Victorian homes include the Magnolia House B & B, the McEldowney house owned by Betsy Chandler, and the Charles Shepherd home, all on Maple Avenue, and the home of Harry and Fran Caldwell on Eliza Street, the only brick street left in the city.

The McEldowney House

The $10 self-guided tour will be held in conjunction with the free exhibit of Nativity scenes from around the world at the Francis Creative Arts Center, Maple Avenue and Washington Streets. Advanced tickets for the tour, which will run from 3-6 p.m., may be purchased from Occasions Gifts on Main Street, Off the Wall, or from Fran Caldwell at 455-5092. Tickets may also be purchased at the Francis Center on the day of the tour.

Visitors may view the free Nativity exhibit, enjoy light refreshments, and head out on the tour.

The original McEldowney house was a log cabin out of the flood zone where the family of John C. McEldowney Jr., author of “The History of Wetzel County” and great-grandfather of the current owner, Betsy Chandler, would escape when flood waters invaded their riverfront home.

The exact location and final outcome of that beautiful home is not known, but around 1850 they moved into the log house permanently.

The dining room and kitchen were added around 1880 and the side porch and bedroom above were added in the early 1930s.

The McEldowney home has remained in the family with Robert E. and Elizabeth G. McEldowney, Chandler’s grandparents, moving to the 667 Maple residence in 1910.

This move was after they sold or donated their gorgeous Victorian home in the location of the current Magnolia High School.

At that time there were apple orchards between the two homes.

The McEldowneys owned a lot of land in New Martinsville, from the river to Sixth Street.In fact, Chandler said she can remember her mother, Elizabeth “Lou” McEldowney, saying she could remember having to “go up on Sixth Street and milk the cows.”

The Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast is currently owned by Jerry and Joan Adkins, the fifth owners of the house.

The home was built in 1903 for Edward Samuel and Elizabeth Umstead Duerr, who lived in it until their deaths in the 1950s.

It was then bought by local contractor John Burlingame, who made extensive renovations with the goal of making it “the showplace of New Martinsville.”

In the 1970s it was bought by local businessman Robert Corace, an avid tree fancier who is responsible for the various types of trees on the property.

In 2000, it became a bed and breakfast after more renovations by owner Susan Strausser and it continues in that form today.

Proceeds from the event benefit ArtsLink activities, including concerts, exhibits, classes, and many free school activities.

While the homes tour is not necessarily universally accessible, the Francis Center is.

Persons with special needs may contact Donna Earley, administrative coordinator, at 304-455-2278 for assistance.