Hinton Historic District Walking Tour
This walking tour will guide you through the Hinton Historic District and its most significant sites.
Built ca. 1875, the Campbell Flannagan Murrell House Museum is Hinton's oldest home. It interprets the lives of its past occupants and the history of Hinton. The museum organizes the annual Festival of the Rivers, a free music festival in downtown Hinton.
The YMCA, built in 1913 by the Young Men’s Christian Association, was owned and operated by this organization. It is located on the corner of Second Avenue and Summers Street, immediately up the hill from the Passenger Depot. The building now serves as the Senior Center for Hinton and Summers County.
In 1891, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad constructed this depot for its expanding passenger service; it was the 4th building built by the C&O in Hinton. This is the only example of a passenger depot left in Summers County. In its heyday, the building housed normal depot functions, like baggage service and ticketing, as well as C&O division offices, C&O Lunch Stand, and the Adams Express. The Adams Express, later known as the Railway Express Agency, was a livery service. Amtrak’s Cardinal Line now services this depot. The restored lobby is open to the public.
This Neo-Classical Revival-style commercial building occupies nearly a full city block. During its first era of use, the Citizens Bank, The Laing Humphries Department Store, and the Elks Lodge shared the space. In a 1907 advertisement, the Laing Humphries Department store touted that they owned their own building. The building is now home to retail stores and the Summers County Visitors Center.
The Bank of Summers opened its doors in 1895. It became a national bank in 1906 and assumed the name National Bank of Summers. This 1921 building was built under the presidency of James T. McCreery, who held the office from 1906-1925. The building’s design has been attributed to M. Bates, a Huntington-based architect.
The Hinton Railroad Museum opened May 21, 1991. The Museum contains artifacts of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and Hinton area history. The building its housed in was constructed in 1900 and was occupied by the Hinton Department Store for many years.
Originally built in 1887, this building housed the first financial institution in Hinton. The bank was originally known as the Bank of Hinton. This building housed the bank in 1900 when it became a national bank and was renamed First National Bank. It underwent heavy renovations in 1940 and now reflects that era in its architecture. The Art Deco motifs along the cornice and the above the main doorway are some of the Hinton Historic District’s best examples of this architectural style.
This Italianate-style building, constructed ca. 1890 is the Hinton Historic District’s only example of a pressed-metal façade. The building’s façade is the product of the prolific Mesker Brothers Company from Evansville, Indiana, which produced a wide variety of pressed metal architectural features. It was likely ordered from a mail-order catalog and shipped to Hinton on the railroad. This was the original home of the Bank of Summers, which was established in 1895. The bank moved in 1905; since then, this building has served as a hardware store, the Fairyland Theater, and a laundry mat.
The Ritz opened in 1929 as a movie theater. The theater originally had a rectangular marquee – which, by 1949, had been replaced by an elaborate, triangular structure that featured neon and streamline moderne speed lines. That marquee was later removed, as was the box office beneath it. In 1964, it was remodeled. The theater continued showing films into at least the early 1980s. Following a period of closure and renovation, the Ritz Theatre reopened its doors in October 2009 – celebrating its 80th Anniversary. Its 310-seat auditorium still features original art deco elements, such as eye-catching wall sconces, seats with speed lines, and stepped doorframes. On the second floor, it hosts both a radio studio (for Hinton’s 1380 AM) and a balcony with additional seating. The Ritz shows movies on the weekends and also offers live entertainment.
Hinton was an important railroad community that linked the New River Valley with other towns across the east coast. Hinton has a rich cultural history with antique shops lining the streets, an authentic railroad museum, and an annual Railroad Days festival.
Designed by architect Frank P. Milburn, the Summers County Courthouse was built in three stages. Since its original construction in 1875, the Summers County Courthouse has served as the county's government seat. The building is significant for its architecture and its association with Milburn; the courthouse is Hinton's most distinctive example of 19th-century Eclecticism and representative of Milburn's early work.
Dedicated in 1914, this monument was built in honor to Confederate soldiers and supporters from Summers, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, and Raleigh Counties. The movement to build a Confederate monument in Hinton in the early 20th century may seem surprising at first, as West Virginia was formed in opposition to Virginia's decision to secede from the United States. However, many residents of Hinton and other Southern counties supported the South. More importantly, a nostalgic view of the antebellum South and the perception that those who defended slavery were standing against modernization and the growth of the federal government took hold in many communities following the turn-of-the-century. As the nostalgic view of the "Old South" grew, members of groups such as the Daughters of the Confederacy began erecting Confederate monuments in the Border States like Kentucky and West Virginia during the early 1900s. Although the majority of residents in West Virginia remained loyal to the United States, there are more Confederate monuments in southern West Virginia than monuments dedicated to those who defended the Union.