Case Study: The Delmonte Hotel
In the late 1800s, Elkins was a bustling transportation hub with the general offices of the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railroad and the Elkins Railyard Depot as focal points. The Delmonte Hotel was built adjacent to these facilities in 1899 on land purchased from the H. G. Davis family, a local and national historical figure with strong ties to transportation and the owner of the railroad.
The Delmonte Hotel was built by Joseph Nallen, a stone mason and employee of Mr. Davis, and was built expressly as lodging for local railroad crews and passengers of modest means. The Delmonte served as an alternative to the many small frame structures that were previously used to house this group of people. It was a larger, more substantial structure that included a ground floor restaurant and washhouse. The Delmonte was the "poor man" facility and the much larger West Virginia Hotel, built by the railroad one block north on Railroad Avenue, was the facility for guests of the railroad and travelers of means. The fact that Mr. Davis owned the railroad and adjoining property and that the Delmonte was built by a Davis employee would establish a strong link between the Delmonte and the local railroad/transportation history.
The Delmonte has approximately 9,500 sq ft of space, including prime first floor space facing the Elkins Depot and Railyard, a two story porch fronting on Railroad Avenue and an open third floor. The Randolph County Housing Authority assumed ownership of the Delmonte in 2008. Rehabilitation of the building had been initiated several years earlier by various groups and RCHA will continue those efforts through 2009. The building will ideally be ready for occupancy in 2010.
Elkins and Randolph County are poised to again be the center of transportation activity via rail, trail and automobile. The Delmonte will be in the midst of all of this activity and provide facilities to enhance the travel experience of residents and visitors to the area. It will also be a visual reminder of the transportation history of the area in the promotion of cultural/heritage tourism.
For additional information on the Delmonte Hotel restoration, please contact Dave Clark at Woodlands Development Group.