Contentment House Museum
The Contentment House as it appears today. In addition to serving as a museum, it is the headquarters of the Fayette County Historical Society.
The West Virginia state roadside historical marker adjacent to the Contentment House.
Confederate Colonel George Imboden of the 18th Virginia Cavalry. Though not the home's first owner, he is certainly most notable. Several of Imboden's brothers also served in the Confederate Army, including General John Imboden.
Colonel Imboden's marker in Ansted's Westlake Cemetery.
A civilian portrait of George Imboden. Born in 1836, the future Confederate colonel was only 25 when the Civil War began. Fayette County Historical Society Collection, West Virginia State Archives.
Backstory and Context
Fayette County was named after the Revolutionary War hero, Marquis de Lafayette and is home to many historic landmarks including this structure which dates back to the 1830s. The home was purchased by Virginian and Confederate officer George Imboden in 1872. Imboden led the 18th Virginia Calvary and later became a prominent citizen of Ansted as well as its first mayor. Before serving as mayor, he had been elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. His second wife named their home "Contentment."
The home originally consisted of five rooms and a detached kitchen. Colonel Imboden began renovations on the home and added two rooms and extended the porch. The exterior of the home is common for the era and is described as a “cottage.” There were several of these cottage type homes found in Virginia and West Virginia spring resorts at the time. Contentment was originally made with a wooden frame with vertical clapboards in the front and horizontal clapboards on the sides and the back.
The Contentment House was one of two structures that did not burn to the ground during the Civil War. It was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places by the Fayette County Historical Society on October 30, 1974. Its nomination form states the Contentment House shows significance in the areas of 19th century architecture, military, industry, and politics. The Contentment House now serves Fayette County as a museum.
http://www.wvdnr.gov/2012news/12news203.shtm. "Museums Share New River Gorge History." New River Gorge Convention & Visitors Bureau. Accessed April 25, 2015.
http://newrivergorgecvb.com/history-museums/. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form." West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Accessed April 27, 2015.
Chambers Jr., S. Allen "Contentment." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 07 January 2014. Web. 03 June 2019.
Athey, Lou "George W. Imboden." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 04 December 2012. Web. 03 June 2019.