CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia has its fair share of oddities, but the giant teapot right at the tip of the northern panhandle certainly stands out.
Located in Chester, W.Va., “The World’s Largest Teapot” was built in 1938 by William “Babe” Devon, and measures 14 feet in height and 14 feet in diameter.
According to the Chester Public Library, it was made from a gigantic wooden barrel used in a Hire’s Root Beer advertising campaign in Pennsylvania. Devon purchased the barrel for himself then shaped it into a teapot using tin. After adding a spout and handle, along with a glass ball for the knob of the lid, he set it up in front of his pottery outlet store to promote the local pottery industry, selling concessions and souvenirs from the inside.
The Teapot was sold to Mary Wucherer and Rhelda Cain in 1947, then again sold in 1971 to Cecil and Alice Fletcher, selling various items throughout its life before its abandonment in 1980.
C&P Telephone then bought the plot of land in 1984, leaving it vulnerable to demolishing.
In 1987, C&P Telephone donated the Teapot to the City of Chester, meaning a restoration was in order. However, issues with location, weather and general restoration lead to the disbandment of the restoration committee.
It wasn’t until 1990 that the Teapot was restored into its current form, after the Chester City Council voted to provide funds toward the restoration.
With a plot of land and a fence donated by the State, and a concrete pad for it to stand on donated by the The Tri-State Pottery Festival Association, the Teapot was moved next to the Jennings Randolph Bridge Ramp at the junction of State Route 2 and U.S. Route 30.
According to the Chester Public Library, the restoration involved replacing the tin, adding vinyl to “help with expansion and prevent wrinkling,” re-framing and sealing shut the doors and windows, replacing the floor and “many of the wooden staves of the frame,” a new spout and a new plastic ball to replace the long-lost glass one used on the lid.
As a last touch, “the Teapot was painted back to its original red and white colors” after years of being white and blue.
The Chester Teapot as we know it today was officially dedicated on October 12, 1990.