This week’s photo of the Alderson Hotel was taken only a few years after it was built in 1882 by John W. Alderson and David J. Cogbill. The hotel sat between the Greenbrier River and the main line of the Chesapeake and Ohio railway (now CSX). Before the advent of dining cars, railroad towns had hotels to provide overnight lodging and meals to passengers. Trains would stop in Alderson long enough for passengers to disembark to have a meal at the Alderson Hotel. A wooden awning connected the station with the hotel. It was not uncommon for seventy passengers to walk to the hotel for breakfast that consisted of oatmeal, ham, eggs, fried apples, biscuits and coffee – all for 35 cents.
The hotel had 50 rooms with adjoining cottages of 22 rooms. The hotel advertised it had steam heat and hot and cold baths on each floor. It was supplied with “pure spring water” plus sulphur water on draught. It had a ballroom with an orchestra during the summer. The hotel’s dining room was well known for years for its excellent food.
Alderson Hotel became popular with summer vacationers, some of whom would stay for a month. The hotel promoted its proximity to the area’s many springs, and guests could ride to them in the hotel’s livery surreys. Blue Sulphur Springs (called the “Old Blue”) was the most popular destination.
A 1900 advertisement for the hotel described the setting: “The climate is as near perfection as possible; mornings and evenings always cool and pleasant. No sultry nights, no mosquitoes or objectionable insects to annoy one. Gentle breezes blow during the day, and the nights are deliciously cool.”
Photo: Courtesy of the West Virginia University Regional History Center.
Sources: Hinton Daily News, The Weekly Register (Point Pleasant), Beckley Post Herald, Tom Dixon.