Meadowbrook RV Park
Why is it you never have the time or desire to visit places in your own back yard? It took Bill and I a visit to this area to see places we never saw when we lived here. Today we took a drive to Moundsville, West Virginia.
I did our homework last night on planning a visit to the Palace of Gold. There were directions to get here from as far away as Dallas. I noted that the first tour began at 10 am and there was a warning not to follow your GPS.
We followed the directions and had no trouble finding the Palace. Thankfully, Bill drove over the very narrow, twisty, potholed roads with 11% grades.
Peacocks were the official greeters.
The Palace was impressive at first glance, but drastically in need of repairs.
The doors were locked and we were very disappointed to have come this far and not find anyone. We walked around the palace and found a sign that said tours started at 11 am. It was almost 11 so no problem.
Upon entry you had to remove your shoes or wear the supplied blue booties.
Our guide rattled off the statistics for the pounds of gold, number of different kinds of marble, jewels in the chandeliers and all the art in the Palace. I was amazed at all the needlework and the paintings which were in the ceilings.
Here's the history of the palace from their website.
A miracle in the West Virginia foothills.
Our $9.00 tour took 2 hours and our guide told us the stories of the inmates. At one point there were 2400 inmates in this prison with 30 guards during a shift. 998 murders occurred inside the prison. WV State Penitentiary was considered one of the most dangerous prisons in the United States.
The third and fourth floors of this building were the personal housing of the warden and his family which were required at that time to live on site.
The Wagon Gate housed Confederate prisoners during the Civil War. This prison was about 25 miles north of the Mason/Dixon line. They have no written records of hangings being held there, but it did have this trap door. Could it have been used for hanging?
Our guide told us that they used to have public hangings until one hanging decapitated the man's head. After that, to attend, you had to be a family member, clergy, victim's family or the press.
This was the cell of a mafia boss from Wheeling. He lost both legs from a car bombing. The door was modified to accommodate his wheel chair. He never went outside for 18 years while he was an inmate here because his chair wouldn't fit through the steel door.
The cells were 5 X 7 and at one point housed 3 inmates. The third one had to have his mattress on the floor.
All of the sandstone walls were made by the inmates from a nearby quarry. You could see where they put their initials in all the blocks. They were hand quarried and chiseled. The walls were completed in 10 years by 100 prisoners.
Our guide told us they have fund raisers of ghost tours for $20. He said there are a lot of people who end up peeing their pants....and they aren't all women. I think I'll pass on that one.
It was a very informative and enjoyable tour. If only those walls could talk.
Inmate 071948 has a very long history, which in his day he worked with the warden, Donald Bordenkercher. I'm not sure which side of the bars he was on. What do you think? The rest of the story saved for a campfire topic.