Roaming West Virginia: Philippi

Roaming West Virginia
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PHILIPPI, W.Va. – Not too many cities or small towns in West Virginia can say they played an important role in history, but Philippi has that distinction.

Philippi was established by the General Assembly of Virginia in February 1844.  Earlier, Philippi was named county seat of Barbour County nearly 20 years before West Virginia became the 35th state.

One attraction that catches everyone’s eye is a covered bridge that spans the Tygart River.  Built in 1852, it’s seen its share of historic moments, from the scene of the first land battle of the Civil War to ice jams and floods in 1888 and 1985.  A fire destroyed the bridge in 1989, and it was restored in 1991 at a cost of $1.4 million.  Drivers can travel through the bridge to get to downtown Philippi.

Just a few feet from the bridge is the county historical museum that was the former Philippi B&O Railroad Station.  It houses antique exhibits to keep you entertained during your visit, including two cadavers that were mummified in 1888 by a farmer named Graham Hamrick, who had an interest in science.  Intent on discovering the secrets behind mummification methods, Hamrick went to the state’s hospital for the insane and purchased the bodies.  His methods worked well because the mummies are still well preserved today in glass-topped wooden coffins inside the historical museum.

A few miles outside Philippi stands Adaland Mansion, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.  The mansion offers historic tours, wedding venues and popular dinner buffets and events.  The 23-room Greek Revival mansion house has been restored and features homemade brick and walnut woodwork.  It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

“We will be 150 years old next year,” said Jeannie Mozley, house manager.  “Our most-famous person to live in the house was Judge Ira Robinson, who was a West Virginia Supreme Court judge.  He lived here around 30 years.”

Mozley said visitors get treated as royalty while enjoying their visit to Adaland Mansion.  

“They enjoy the house.  They like it.  Our volunteers that help me with the events are very gracious to our guests, and they get treated very well, so they like coming back.”

All of these places are just within a short distance from each other.

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