The West Virginia State Farm Museum is located on Route 62 four miles north of Point Pleasant WV. Its a replica of an early rural community. Buildings of historical value have been moved and rebuilt on the grounds.
The Farm Museum has a trail which leads to The TNT Area. During the Mothman Festivals, they use this for The Haunted Hayride Tours. They use a tractor to pull a wagon of hay along the path into the TNT area. Along the way there's a flying Mothman replica that zips over head and other Mothman related scares to frighten people.
The Farm Museum was started in 1976 by Walden Roush, a retired educator. At the time it consisted of only one building and a few farm implements, today the 50-acre site showcases 31 reconstructed buildings, including four original log structures that were moved and rebuilt.
There's an operational 19th century blacksmith shop, country store, veterinary office, barbershop, a post office, turn-of-the-century doctor's office, herb garden, carpenter shop, and a newspaper building with printing presses from 1895. A log church recognized as the first Lutheran church west of the Allegheny Mountains is used for services.
The State Farm Museum has large farm equipment, both horse-drawn and tractor-drawn, such as tractors, thrashers, and plows. There is a Corliss steam engine. There are numerous household items, including appliances and other furnishings.
The Greene building houses the main artifact collection. Thousands of artifacts are on display showing a way of farm life in this area by our ancestors for over a hundred years.
This large metal building, 60' X 120' X 14' high, was the first building to be erected in the Farm Museum Complex. It was sponsored by the Mason County Commission, and was dedicated May 14, 1976. A large collection of antique farm machinery and farm related implements are displayed in this building.
Christopher Bauer Collection:
The museum is dedicated to Christopher H. Bauer, a native of Mason County, Point Pleasant High graduate, local businessman (barber shop), and avid outdoorsman. This building and Chris's collections are his legacy for all to enjoy.
The museum contains a large collection of mounted and prominently displayed hunting trophies in the main hall. Another display room contains an extensive collection of firearms, knives and other hunting accessories.
The Morgan Museum - Taxidermy:
Part of the Farm Museum is the Morgan Museum, a curiosities collection begun in Putnam County in 1905 by Sidney Morgan of Winfield and later moved to the State Farm Museum, includes a collection of taxidermy stuffed birds and animals, including a two-headed calf, a golden eagle, and a Belgian draft horse.
The farm includes a two-acre pond and acres of crops which are planted and harvested using 19th-century equipment and methods. A stage and picnic shelter accommodate public events.
The Morgan Museum now houses the mounted body of General. General was the third largest horse that ever lived. He stood 19 1/2 hands high and had a certified weight of 2850 pounds.
Schools from West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky visit the museum for their study of Appalachian culture. Funded by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and a small annual grant from the Mason County Commission, the West Virginia State Farm Museum is a nonprofit organization.
The information from some of Mr. Morgan's relatives states that Mr. Sidney Morgan was to go with Teddy Roosevelt (as his taxidermist) on a safari to Africa. For some reason or other (which has been lost to posterity), he did not get to go, and, of course, he was very disappointed. While talking to his brother, Mr. Morgan decided that they should go on their own safari, so they built a small sternwheel paddleboat called the Shirley. During Mr. Morgan's lifetime he made five trips all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, collecting birds and animals along the rivers. He also made trips up and down several other rivers, including the Arkansas and the Missouri. He financed his trips by taking along sportsmen from the Charleston area who paid him for the trip.
The first bird Mr. Sidney Morgan mounted was a loon, and it is still housed in the museum. It is in the north end of the building, mounted on a green slab. Everything in the Morgan Museum is very old. The work in the museum covers an extensive period of time.
Mr. Morgan was an artist when it came to mounting animals and birds. He made every effort to pose his animals and birds naturally. A good example of his creativity in taxidermy is the red fox located on the top shelf display at the museum. This fox had apparently killed a grouse; so Mr. Morgan not only mounted the grouse, but he also put feathers in the mouth of the fox to make it appear more realistic. Just over from this display is another fox that had killed a duck. This fox is mounted as if running away with the duck slung over its back. As the story goes, Mr. Morgan killed the fox as it was running away from a pond. He then copied its natural pose.
You can see many other examples of his creativity if you look around the museum. For example, there is a raccoon that is mounted on an old hollow tree. Mr. Morgan's step-grandson was with him the night that the raccoon was killed. The tree was cut down, and the slab was added to the exhibit.
The big elk in the back was the last elk killed in West Virginia. Mr. Morgan killed it at Minnehaha Springs, Pocahontas County and mounted it in 1912.
The biggest bird in the museum is the Golden Eagle and the smallest is the little hummingbird. There is also a two-headed calf, which was born in 1926 on one of the farms near Mr. Morgan's museum. It lived for a number of weeks. But, as the story goes, it got out of the barn one cold winter night and froze to death. The farmer found it the next morning just outside the barn. He then gave it to Mr. Morgan to be mounted.
There is also a display of some unusual steel traps. The large trap is hand-made. The other is a Newcome trap, which is said to be one of the largest bear traps ever made. The box traps that are on display were used to trap live game, such as rabbits, opossums, etc. Years ago, most boys had a box trap or two. They would use them to catch rabbits for food.
Mr. John E. Greene and his associates of Milton, WV donated the Morgan Museum to the Farm Museum. The Mason County Commission paid the sum of nine thousand dollars to move the four buildings to the Farm Museum complex. Volunteers helped with the moving and were responsible for putting the porches back onto the buildings and for leveling them on their foundations.
The Morgan Museum was started in 1905 just above Winfield on land that is now occupied by the John Amos Power Plant. Mr. Morgan's father owned approximately 1500 acres of choice bottom land where the John Amos Plant is now located. When Morgan's father died, the land was left to Sidney and to his mother, Mrs. Morgan. Sidney Morgan had no interest in farming. His main interests were hunting and taxidermy. Whenever Mrs. Morgan or Sid needed money, they would sell off some of their 1500-acre farm. When the John Amos Power Plant moved in (in 1963) and took over quite a few acres in that area, Mr. Morgan only had four acres left of the original 1500.
The power plant took over the land on which the museum was situated, and the museum was sold at auction. Mr. John E. Greene of Milton, WV bought the Morgan Museum and moved it to Milton near the Blinko Glass Plant. He added three other buildings to the complex, a Country Store, a Country Kitchen and a Blacksmith Shop. After operating these for two or three years as a tourist attraction, Mr. Greene decided to give the four buildings to the Farm Museum.
The propeller on display is from the Airship Shenandoah. The Shenandoah crashed near Ava, Ohio, in 1925, taking the lives of 14 members of its crew.
The Summer Family House:
Historically, the Summers family was prominent in West Virginia politics. George Summers had an illustrious public career. He was elected to the Virginia Legislature in 1830 and to Congress in 1841.
The Summers Log house, part of a farmstead along the Kanawha River near Winfield, West Virginia, is a multi-part structure with architectural evidence indicating a construction date during the first quarter of the 19th century. The physical evidence is consistent with oral history, which gives the building's date as 1812.
The house was moved to the Farm Museum from its original site on a farm known as Walnut Grove near Winfield in Putnam County. The farm was first secured by the family of Judge George William Summers, a prominent Kanawha County resident who was widely known in Virginia, West Virginia and national political arenas.
Not only was he the first prosecuting attorney of Putnam County, he was also a member of the General Assembly of Virginia and also served two terms in the House of Representatives in the United States Congress. He was a strong pro-Union man.
Of interest here is the fact that President Lincoln asked Judge Summers to be his running mate when Lincoln ran for president for a second term. According to family tradition, Summers rejected the offer due to his wife's (Amacetta Laidley Summers) illness.
The Summers house was moved to the Museum on November 23, 1980. Appalachian Power Company, in the process of building the John Amos Power plant, had purchased the farm property of Walnut Grove.
Fred Summers was reputed to be the last family member to occupy the house. It had become the property of his niece, Miss Lucy Quarrier. Through the generosity and interest of Miss Quarrier, the Summers log house was offered to the Museum. Well known in the Art world, Lucy is said to have been one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts Fair at Cedar Lakes near Ripley.
The Log House:
The Log House is a multi-part structure that utilizes two important types of construction in the form of log and plank modules, both of which require expert workmanship. In the original construction, logs were used in the section on the right side of the main entrance while planks were used in the left section. Roush explained that these planks had deteriorated. So it was necessary to use logs also in the left section during the restoration. Planks, however, were used in the back section off the kitchen and dining room.
A large entrance hallway between the two sections included a stairway to the second floor of the one-and-a-half story house. However, the stairway faces the rear of the house so that it would not take up so much room. Two windows are on each front section with three gable-roofed dormer windows extending from the slope of the roof.
Roush stated that it was difficult during the restoration to find weather boarding to match the original. He credited Leon Thompson of the Carolina Lumber Company for finding this material for the Museum. Fireplaces were built in all the rooms, including the upstairs bedrooms. The original mantels were moved with the structure.
Numerous interesting articles of furniture may be seen throughout the house. In the left front room stands an ancient baby crib, mounted on rockers and having a high framework for a canopy used to cover the crib. It was donated to the Museum by John Musgrave.
Also in this room are two other articles of interest. One is what appears to be a High Board but in reality contains a folding bed. Standing in this room is an easel supporting a Shadow Box. This glassed-in box contains a flat surface on which a colorful arrangement of handmade flowers are placed.
Another item that will attract attention is in the kitchen adjoining this room. It is an ancient Home Comfort kitchen range. It was donated by John Scott of Athens, WV. There is another unusual item near the doorway, but we will leave it to the tour guide to explain that one.
The Log House was to have been moved to Charleston, WV, where a full city block had been set aside for it. It was felt that the house would possibly be credited by the National Register of Historic places. This did not develop, and the Farm Museum is the richer for it.
Newspaper Office:The Point Pleasant Register, then a weekly paper, was housed in a small framed building, when editor George W. Trippett began printing the paper on March 6, 1882. He published the paper for more than 40 years. The masthead, listing Trippett as the editor and proprietor, indicated that the Daily Register was started in 1895.
When plans developed for constructing a replica of this newspaper building in the middle 1970's, Oral Eads completed a set of plans for the museum that duplicated the 20-foot by 32-foot structure. All material for the Register Office, which is 20' X 32', were purchased by The Point Pleasant Register. The Good Sam Travel Club, headed by Nelson Ring, who served as supervisor, contributed greatly to this project.
Some of the type and fonts came from L.W. Getty's business. The Register donated a Linotype Machine that is on display in the building as well as some composing tables that held drawers of different size type. The Linotype Machine was one of three that were located on the third floor of the Register building, situated at the time on Fifth Street in Point Pleasant. In the newspaper office you can see various types of printing presses.
Dr. Milton J. Lilly, Sr. was a native of Mercer County in West Virginia and a 1904 graduate of Maryland Medical College in Baltimore. His first practice was as a company doctor for the Pocahontas Coal Company in McDowell County, WV.
Not long after marrying a young school teacher from Roanoke, VA, Dr. Lilly, his wife and infant daughter moved to Upland in Mason County to take over the practice of Dr. James Rowsey.
Dr. Lilly established his practice and home in Mason County raising seven children and living there until his death in 1967
The Carpenter shop was donated by John E. Greene of Milton, Lafe Chapin of Huntington and Judge Russell Dunbar of Morgantown. It was moved intact from Milton by the Mason County Commission.
The shop displays a large collection of antique carpentry tools. Some of these unique tools include a spring pole wood lathe, a shaving horse, a large wooden punch, two timber morticing drills, 200 year old wooden vices, an all wood morticing machine, and a variety of hand tools ( saws, levels, planes, hand augers, axes, etc.).