The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.
Today’s adventure takes us to the south-western tip of Pennsylvania by way of the tip of the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Huh? I know, the northern tip of West Virginia is not on the direct route from Washington, the city, where we were staying to Waynesburg the county seat of Greene County.
(On the map you can see the northern tip of West Virginia in gray intersecting Beaver County and Washington, the county, in blue sits on top of Greene County.) Here is the story in a fairly accurate telling. My Jane was watching television at The Ramada in Washington, the city, when an advertisement for a Fiestaware outlet grabbed her attention. “We have to go there because it is close.” exclaimed My Jane. After a little computer searching we found the Homer Laughlin Factory Outlet located in Newell West Virginia. Newell is located across the Ohio River from Ohio at the very top of the West Virginia panhandle. I’m thinking this is close in the same sense that a meteor missing the earth by 100,000 miles is close. So, of course we ventured north on our trip south to Greene County because My Jane wanted to shop for pottery. We traveled passed Pittsburgh and entered Ohio before crossing the Ohio River into West Virginia. Route 18 got lost for a little while which didn’t help us make good time along the way. Crossing the Ohio River on the Newell Toll Bridge added to the days excitement! Once we were on the bridge I don’t think My Jane took a breath until we were safely on West Virginia soil. But, she exhaled and spent a fun hour rummaging through the bins of pottery seconds to find missing pieces to fill in our collection of Fiestaware.
After our excursion to Fiesta Way in Newell we turned south in the direction of Greene County which was of course not as ‘close’ as it had been earlier in the day!
The county was created on February 9, 1796, from part of Washington County (where we were staying) and named for General Nathanael Greene. General Greene lost every pitched battle with the British as commander of the Southern Continental Army during the Revolutionary War but effectively out maneuvered and beat up the enemy to the extent that the British withdrew from the south leading to their eventual defeat at Yorktown.
Greene County is noted for its collection of Mail Pouch Tobacco Barns which alluded us on this day as we drove to the county seat, Waynesburg. Our trip to Greene County was happening on a Sunday so Waynesburg was closed down. When I say ‘closed down’ I mean ‘not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’. This is a good time to share with you that most of downtown Waynesburg is on the historical register. The Fort Jackson Hotel is one of those historical buildings. The hotel was built on the spot of a previous hotel known as the Downey House which burned down. After the fire local businessmen worked to form The Fort Jackson Hotel Company. “The reason these guys formed the Fort Jackson Hotel Company was because the owner of the Downey house wasn’t fully insured,” said architectural historian Mary Beth Pastorious. “He was the major stockholder of First National Bank and they were afraid the bank would go under.” (I enjoyed this story!) Half a million dollars was spent on the construction of the new hotel; when accounted for inflation, that would be almost $7 million in today’s economy.
After a bit of searching I found information about Jackson’s Fort (1774-1780) which was located on the south bank of South Fork Ten Mile Creek. I’m guessing the fort is where the hotel and company got their name.
Waynesburg University is two blocks from the courthouse and is included in the historical district. The university was founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Yellow Jackets are a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
We toddled on out toward the highway to our default hot dog spot at a Sheetz store before heading back to Washington, the city, to rest from our days travels through three states in our exploration of Greene County.
See you next time.
This quirky journey through the first book of The Bible may be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Xlibris Publishing.