History – First Renovation & Fire 1944-1979

History – First Renovation & Fire 1944-1979

The Hotel has had three major renovations since its opening in 1889. The first major renovation occurred in 1944-45, when William Chancellor’s grandson, Nelson C. Burwell ran and operated the hotel. At this time a new terrazzo floor was added to the lobby area and marble facade was added to exterior front. The only remaining section of the terrazzo lobby floor can be seen in our present-day library, and was restored for viewing in March 2020.  

Blennerhassett Hotel Circa 1940

Towards the end of the 1970’s the Hotel had seen its better days. It had fallen into disrepair and was not functioning as a regular operating hotel. In 1979, the hotel had around 30 elderly residents who were renting out rooms as apartments. The “Brass Works”, was located in most of the first floor lobby area.

On May 9, 1979, just 90 years and 3 days after the Blennerhassett Hotel had first originally opened our doors to the public, a fire broke out in a linen closet on the second floor of the fourth street side of the building.

Fortunately, the Parkersburg Fire department was able to extinguish all of the fire before it reached the fifth floor of the building.  After the fire, the hotel was vacant until around 1980, when several  Parkersburg locals joined with Pennsylvania-based investors and decided to save the Blennerhassett Hotel and bring it back to life.

Blennerhassett Hotel on Fire

Discover More History! Click one of the links below to explore more about the history at The Blennerhassett Hotel & Spa!

History – 1960 Presidential Campaign

In 1960, Mr. Robert Huck ran and operated the Blennerhassett Hotel. One of our most famous guests to have stayed at the hotel, at this time period was a young senator from Massachusetts, Senator John F. Kennedy. While running for the presidency in 1960, it was crucial to win West Virginia’s electoral vote. Kennedy touredRead More

History – The Legacy Continues 2019 – Present

In October of 2019, the hotel was sold and became under new local ownership. Currently known as the company R&W Hotels, and owned and operated by Wayne Waldeck and Lee Eric Rector, both local businessmen here in Parkersburg. In the early part of 2020 there were some new changes made to the hotel. Faux tinRead More

History – Most Recent Renovation 2002 – 2006

The Hotel's third major renovation began in November of 2002, and continued up until the spring of 2006. At this time the hotel property was owned by the Ross Family, who purchased the hotel's property in 2000. This renovation surpassed ten million dollars. Construction was started at the fifth level, and once completed, moved toRead More

History – Return to Glory 1985 – 2002

The Hotels second major renovation began in 1985, and continued until the early spring of 1986, surpassing seven million dollars. The new addition to the hotel was added at this time, including a grand Ballroom and Promenade on the first floor and guest rooms on the second through fifth floors, bringing the number of roomsRead More

History of the Blennerhassett Hotel from 1889

The Historic Blennerhassett Hotel was built and constructed by Colonel William Nelson Chancellor. Construction on the original part of the hotel began in 1883, and after six years of construction, the doors were officially opened to the world on Monday, May 6, 1889. Chancellor wanted a hotel grand for its time, and second to noRead More

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