Places I Want to See in Charleston
Places to Visit!
This paint on brick mural was painted in 2008 on the rear of Charleston's Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Nine artists worked on the mural, with each one executing a single vignette. The artists are Andy King, Charly Hamilton, Kelly Huffman, Amanda Jane Miller, Rick Goosman, Mark Woolfe, Amy Williams, Rebecca Recco, and Dane Klingman.
The Diamond Department Store was established in 1927, and was a state of the art five floor retailer in Charleston, WV. The store was successful even through the Great Depression and expanded enough in the late 1940s to have the first escalators in the state installed. However, the Diamond Department store was only elaborate for the white population of Charleston, as they banned the African American community from the store’s lunch counter and cafeteria. Local activist, Elizabeth Harden Gilmore, and the Congress of Racial Equality staged sit-ins for a year and a half to fight for their right to be treated equally. In 1930, the Diamond Department Store opened their lunch counter and cafeterias to everyone no matter the color of their skin, thanks to the efforts of Gilmore and CORE.
This historical marker commemorates the history of an African American neighborhood known as “The Block." This 25-acre tract served as the residential, social, economic, educational and religious center of the African American population of the city during the era of segregation. In 2011, the state & city officially recognized local historic district. This marker is one of two West Virginia historical markers commemorating the neighborhood and was erected by the West Virginia Center for African American Art & Culture, Inc.
Elizabeth Harden Gilmore was a Charleston funeral director and a pioneer in the civil right movement in West Virginia. Gilmore was a leader and one of the founders of the local chapter of Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) that led sit-ins throughout Charleston. She also worked to secure the admission of African American Girl Scouts into the previously all-white Camp Anne Bailey. Gilmore led the first sit-in against the Diamond Department Store’s lunch counter in Downtown Charleston. Thanks to her leadership, the store opened the lunch counter to African American patrons in 1960. In 1988, Gilmore's home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Efforts continue to restore the home and operate it in a way that honors Gilmore's legacy.
Capitol Market is a commercial and social hub in Charleston, WV. It is housed within what was once the freight station of the Kanawha & Michigan Railroad, and is the sole surviving structure that was once part of a large marshaling yard and service center for the K&M Railroad. Adjacent to the old freight depot/Capitol Market stood the now-demolished K& M passenger depot. When the Kanawha & Michigan RR came through the area in the late 1800s it reached Point Pleasant on the west and Gauley Bridge on the east. After the freight & passenger depots were built in the late nineteenth century the area bustled with activity important to the economic growth of Charleston for decades.