The History of St. Albans
St. Albans, being an historic town in the Kanawha Valley, has a rich heritage. Beginning with its prehistoric site, it is the area which has had many important developments, such as:
-Fort Tackett and "Indian" raids
-Land originally owned by George Washington
-Coal River Locks and Dams
-Civil War History
-James River and Kanawha Turnpike and Inns
-Streetcars and Kanawha River Ferries
St. Albans presently has eleven (11) individual properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one Historic District (Main St.)with 28 buildings:
- St. Albans Prehistoric Site
- Chilton House
- The Beeches (St. Albans Women's Club)
- St. Mark's Episcopal Church
- Mohler House
- St. Albans City Hall (Old Bank of St. Albans)
- Old St. Albans Post Office (Chapman Technical Group)
- Coal River Locks & Dam sites
- St. Paul Baptist Church
- C&O Train Depot
- James Weimer House
Many of these properties were listed to the National register with the help of the St. Albans Historical Society (SAHS) which has been active since 1972.
Vast virgin timber forests, buffalo and Indians trails preceeded the White man in this area. The last buffalo was killed in this area in 1815. Ft. Tackett once stood near St. Albans. Fort Tackett was built in 1786 on land that originally belonged to George Washington and deeded to him for his service in the French and Indian War. 31 people lived there in 1790 when the Shawnee Indians attacked and captured several settlers and took them to Michigan. Most of them eventually escaped and returned to this area. Six months later they attacked again and killed Christopher Tackett and several children, kidnapped several others and burned the fort. Several hid from the attack and managed to escape to Ft. Clendenin, later Charleston. The first white child born in the Kanawha Valley was born here to Kizah Tackett.
The Coal River that flows through St. Albans was discovered in 1742 by explorer John Salley and named for its vast outcropping of coal. He eventually paddled his canoe all the way to New Orleans and returned by ship to Virginia and wrote of his travels in his diary. The community of Coalsmouth was established at present day St. Albans and became a lumber and railroad town. George Washington's greatnephew, Samuel Washington Jr., lived here for awhile and supposedly is buried in the Bangor Cemetery in town, although his tombstone is long gone. His father, Samuel Washington, who lived in the Poca area, is also buried at Bangor Cemetery. He inherited 3,500 acres near here as well as a famous battle sword from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin's gold-headed cane, which was presented to Congress in 1843 and can be seen at the Smithsonian.
The famous James River & Kanawha Turnpike passed through St. Albans and many Inns were established and a covered bridge once crossed the Coal River, but was burnt during the Confederates retreat during the Civil War in 1861 following the Battle of Scary Creek, a few miles down river. Eleven locks and dams were constructed on the Coal River in 1855 and continued until after the Civil War.
St. Albans has eleven (11) sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places and their Historical Society frequently conducts historic walking tours. Main St. was recently added as an Historic District. The Archaeological site along the Kanawha river is one of the oldest in the United States and artifacts have been dated to 7,900 BC. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
St. Albans, a town of approximately 12,000 people, has also gone by the name of Ft. Tackett, Coalsmouth, Phillipi, Village of Jefferson and the Village of Kanawha City. It was incorporated in 1872 and was named St. Albans by chief counsel of the C&O railroad, H. C. Parsons, in honor of his hometown in Vermont. The town became prosperous in the early 1900's due to the numerous saw mills in the town and the shipping of coal on the railroads.
The St. Albans Historical Society did the nomination for Main St. to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places with 28 buildings. It is now officially a "Historic district". Annual homes tours are conducted each December on the first Saturday (6:00 – 9:00 p.m.) and the Morgan Kitchen museum (c1847) is open on Sundays in the summer (2:00 – 4:00 p.m.). The St. Albans Historical Society meets five times a year, always on the 2nd Sunday. (Feb., April, June, Sept., Dec.) at the Historical Society Building, 404 4th Ave, adjacent to the C&O Depot.
"St. Albans History" books (300 pgs.) are now available for $50. (Contact this site). They make excellent gifts ! Also available is "Tornado Remembers" and "Architectural Survey of St. Albans", both for $7.00 ea. and "The Growing, Booming Years of St. Albans - 1885-1910" for $5.00 and "The Last Dollar" by John Morgan and written in 1909 and re-printed. Cost is $7.00. The St. Albans Historical Society is currently producing a 45 minute video to e distributed to local schools. It show aver 200 vintage photos of St. Albans, WV, plus narration and interviews.
For an excellent site about restoration of buildings, visit the National Park Service at http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/tax/index.htm
For futher information on St. Albans History, please contact:
Bill Dean– President email@example.com
Alex Gabany– V. President firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil Richardson – V. President Special Projects email@example.com
Oedia Cyrus – Treasurer firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Troutman - Secretary LindaTT585934623@aol.com
MORGANS KITCHEN PLANTATION MUSEUM (CA. 1846)
(Open Memorial Day to September on Sundays, 2:00-4:00 p.m.)
Weimer Lumber, later Lantz Lumber (Log Boom used to tie log before
going to the mill)
Town Fair 1962 at Central School
Longest Occupied Site in North America!