West Virginia Women's History

This tour was created for "IN.EXclusive: An Exhibit and Event Series Dedicated to West Virginia Women" which will be on display at Arts Monongahela (201 High Street, Morgantown, WV) during the month of March 2017. If you would like to add a site to this tour, please contact clio@theclio.com.

Start Tour

Entries on this tour

Thumbnail
The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation and Museum
The home of Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Pearl S. Buck is located in Hillsboro, WV. The Birthplace has been restored and maintained by the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a "gateway to new hopes and dreams and ways of life," as stated in her book "My Mother's House." Much of the house was handmade by Buck's ancestors. The house is filled with artifacts which express the lifestyle of a family in the late 19th and early 20th century. Surrounded by 13 acres of farm and the Monongahela National Forest, visits can be planned on the first website below. If you would like to know more, click on any of the links below.
Thumbnail
Greenbrier Hall, Greenbrier College For Women
Greenbrier Hall was constructed in 1921 as part of Greenbrier College for Women. The college was first known as the Lewisburg Academy and was founded in 1812 by Presbyterian pastor Dr. John McElhenny. The school was closed during the Civil War, but reopened in 1875 as Lewisburg Female Institute and remained as such until 1911 when it was renamed the Lewisburg Seminary. In 1923, the name was changed to Greenbrier College for Women. The college closed in 1972 and the building is now home to the Lewisburg campus of the New River Community and Technical College. Campus buildings such as Cargenie Hall and North House continue to be used to serve the educational needs of the community.
Thumbnail
DuBois on Main Museum
This museum commemorates one of two African American high schools prior to integration in Fayette County, WV. The story of DuBois High School’s journey from segregation to integration is unlike any other, yet the school’s history has been dispersed, thrown away, or forgotten. Thanks to the owner and founder of DuBois on Main, Jean Evansmore, the history of DuBois High School is slowly being pieced back together so that it can be preserved for future generations.
Thumbnail
Altamont Hotel
The Altamont Hotel was originally a hotel for railroad travelers and was used as a hospital by both the Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. The hotel was known to be a popular place of the juries from the courthouse across the street when they were unable to deliver a verdict, sequestered on the third floor in a space nicknamed the “hung jury” room. For many years the basement was used as a tavern. The hotel was the most successful hotel in Fayette County for many years, and was owned and operated by four generations of women. The Altamont Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 29, 1979.
Thumbnail
Cedar Grove (William Tompkins House)
Cedar Grove, also known as the William Tompkins House, is a historic home located at Cedar Grove, Kanawha County, West Virginia. Built in 1844, the house stands as a tribute to the growth of the Kanawha Valley in western Virginia prior to the Civil War, which was largely due to the salt industry. Well-known West Virginia writer, Mary Lee Settle (1918 – 2005), is a descendant of the Tompkins. She spent summers at Cedar Grove and, for many, the home is seen as the imaginative wellspring of her writing.
Thumbnail
Charleston Woman's Improvement League
In 1898, black women in Charleston, West Virginia organized a self-help civic organization called the Charleston Woman’s Improvement League. The League sponsored cultural events, supported education, and promoted a variety of causes that were important to members of the city's African American community. The women were particularly active in mentoring young women, creating two auxiliary organizations-- Polly Pigtails for children and the League Teens for young women.
Thumbnail
Elizabeth Harden Gilmore House
Elizabeth Harden Gilmore was a Charleston funeral director as well as 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 also 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.
Thumbnail
Littlepage Mansion-Charleston Civil War Trail
Charleston, like the rest of western Virginia, was contested territory during the early years of the Civil War. Confederate troops attempted to capture and hold the city at several points of the war. A marker at this location tells the history of this first engagement in Charleston. In July of 1861, Henry Wise's Confederates attempted to build a small fort at this location in anticipation of a battle with Union troops under the command of General George McClellan. The owner of the property, Rebecca Littlepage, reportedly denied Wise's demands and successfully compelled the Confederates to both leave and spare her home from destruction as they had originally promised.
Thumbnail
Memphis Tennessee Garrison House
Memphis Tennessee Garrison spent the majority of her life living in rural Appalachia. After teaching in a one-room school in Gary, West Virginia, she retired to Huntington. Throughout her life she worked to secure resources for schools, supported local civil rights initiatives, and became a vice president of the NAACP. Garrison lived at this home during the 1950s to the 1980s and opened her home to many in the community. She also used the home to host numerous meetings where leaders of the African American community came together to discuss their challenges and propose solutions. Today, members of the Huntington community are working to preserve the home and include it on the National Register of Historic Places.
Thumbnail
Diamond Teeth Mary Memorial Marker
Mary Smith was born on August 27, 1902 in Huntington, West Virginia. Living in an abusive environment, Mary left home at the age of 13, hopped a train, and joined the Rabbit Foot Minstrels in Memphis, Tennessee. From this point on, Mary became known as "Walking Mary," singing for the traveling minstrel show. Mary's half sister was the famous blues singer Bessie Smith, whom she preformed with later on in career. From the 1920s to the 1940s Mary's career took off crisscrossing with numerous blues and jazz legends. Mary became wildly popular towards the later years of her life, and was finally given the recognition she deserved. She passed away in 2000, and her ashes were scattered along the railroad tracks in her hometown of Huntington.
Thumbnail
Stella Fuller Settlement, 1942-2009
Social reformer Stella Fuller (December 4, 1883-March 2, 1981) was a familiar face in Huntington for more than 70 years. She ministered to the needy of Huntington as a member of the Salvation Army. Recognizing unmet needs throughout the city, she established the Stella Fuller Settlement in 1942. The institution provided shelter and support for thousands of West Virginians between 1942 and 2009.
Thumbnail
The Blennerhassett Mansion
Built in 1800, The Blennerhassett Mansion proved to be one of the grandest mansions west of Appalachia during its time. The mansion was built by Harman Blennerhassett who was a descendant of King Edward III. Blennerhassett was a leader in the Irish uprising in the late 1700s, and part of Aaron Burr’s plan to conquer part of the American interior. The mansion was elegant with ample money spent, not only on the structure but also on everything inside. The Blennerhassetts used their house to show their wealth to everyone around. The original structure burned to the ground in 1811. Visitors to the island can enjoy a re-creation of the mansion near its original location within Blennerhassett Island State Park.
Thumbnail
American Cyanamid Willow Island Plant
Pleasants County’s Willow Island has been the home to various industries located in the flat valley along the Ohio River. In 1978, a “fetus protection policy” instituted at a paint plant in Willow Island led to a long legal battle that was a pioneer among anti-discrimination arguments later accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thumbnail
The Mother Jones House
The Mother Jones House, a partnership between Wheeling Jesuit University and Laughlin Memorial Chapel, is an intentional Christian service community of Wheeling Jesuit students. It is named after well-known labor leader Mary Harris Jones.
Thumbnail
The Shack Neighborhood House
Located in the Scott’s Run community, the Shack Neighborhood House offer a safe and inclusive space for local children and family to learn and play. Scott’s Run experienced rapid industrialization from 1917-1932, followed by a quick decline during the Great Depression. Racked by poverty, a young missionary, Mary Behner, turned an abandoned schoolhouse into a community center and a lasting legacy.
Thumbnail
Katherine Johnson Conference Room
Room G64, in the Engineering Sciences Building (ESB) on West Virginia University's Evansdale Campus was renamed the Katherine Johnson Conference Room in early 2017, shortly after the film Hidden Figures was released. The film tells the story of a team of African American women mathematicians, including Johnson, who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. Born in White Sulfur Springs, Katherine Johnson was one of three students to desegregate WVU's graduate school in 1939.
Thumbnail
Lyon Tower
Lyon Tower is named after the first woman to graduate with a degree from WVU, Harriet Lyon. Lyon graduated at the head of her class in June 1891. Nearly a century later, West Virginia University officials named this structure in honor of Harriet Lyon's career and scholarly achievements.
Thumbnail
Elizabeth Moore Hall
West Virginia University’s Elizabeth Moore Hall has served as a women’s physical education facility, women’s graduate student dormitory, office of the dean of women, and home of numerous campus organizations such as the Panhellenic Council and Associated Women Students. The three-story, red brick Georgian Revival structure was built between 1926 and 1928 to house the university’s physical education program. In 1938, the dean of women’s office was relocated to the building. A 1962 addition added extra gymnasium and classroom space. It was listed on the National Register in 1985.
Thumbnail
Women's Christian Temperance Union Community Building
This building was constructed in 1922 by the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Several notable West Virginians were involved in the temperance and women's suffrage movements, including suffragist Lenna Lowe Yost. An extraordinarily intelligent organizer, Yost dedicated her adult life to pursuing a variety of causes including a successful campaign that led West Virginia to be among the states that ratified the 19th Amendment. In addition to promoting equal political rights for women, she labored on behalf of temperance. Her activist work extended past the borders of the state of West Virginia as she worked in the nation's capital and even served as a delegate in international temperance conventions.
Thumbnail
West Virginia Folklife Center
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is located on the Fairmont State University campus. The Center is dedicated to the study, preservation, and interpretation of this region's cultural heritage and offers a variety of events throughout the year. These educational programs include lectures, festivals, and a variety of exhibits and musical performances. The center also publishes books, educational guides for teachers, and a journal.
Thumbnail
International Mother's Day Shrine
In 1905, the tradition of honoring mothers for a day began at Andrew's Methodist Church. In that year, Anna Jarvis asked the superintendent of her late mother's church if a ceremony could be held to honor mothers. Ann Jarvis has served as a Sunday School teacher for the congregation for twenty years, and fellow members of the church supported her daughters' idea. Recognizing Anna Jarvis' role and the support of church members in starting the tradition, the church is now known as the International Mother's Day Shrine. Congress officially recognized Mother's Day in 1908, three years after Ann Jarvis' passing. Anna Jarvis dedicated her life to keeping the holiday's focus on actions rather than the purchase of gifts. Jarvis even called for the abolition of the holiday when she felt that the day's observance had become to commercialized.
Thumbnail
Carrie Williams vs. Tucker County Civil Rights Case, 1892
In response to a school board policy that created a much shorter school term for African American children in Tucker County, black educator Carrie Williams challenged the board's racially discriminatory policy and won her case. As a result, black children were able to spend the same number of weeks in school as white children in the decades before the schools of Tucker County were integrated. This was also an important decision for black educators who had previously earned much less than their white counterparts. In 2013, this historical marker was erected in honor of the landmark court case. The marker is located next to the courthouse where the trial occurred. This case was the first of its kind and helped to pave the way for other court decisions that challenged the existence of policies that limited educational opportunities on the basis of race.
Thumbnail
Old Market House - Shepherdstown Public Library
Located in the heart of Shepherdstown, the Shepherdstown Public Library was built in the 1800s as a market house, offering local farmers a sheltered place to sell their wares. It has also been home to the fire department, the town council offices, a butcher shop, a school, and the local jail. Today, it is the home of a thriving library.

This tour was created by Eliza Newland on 03/08/17 .

This tour has been taken 204 times within the past year.

ResponsiveVoice used under Non-Commercial License