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Halfway House (Tyree Tavern)

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Tyree Tavern
Before 1810. North side Midland Trail (Fayette County 60/33 [alternate U.S. 60]) in Ansted

One of the most important vernacular structures remaining in West Virginia, this two-story clapboarded log structure, built on property acquired by the Skaggs family in 1792, came into Tyree family ownership in 1834. The building is a rectangular dogtrot, measuring some fifty by twenty feet, but it is not known whether both parts were constructed at the same time. Both log pens have huge sandstone chimneys, and one-story shed-roofed porches extend the full length of both front and rear elevations. To the northeast, the formerly separate kitchen, now connected to the house, has another huge sandstone chimney. The most unusual feature is an exterior stairway, protected by the front porch, that ascends in the space between the two log pens.

Apparently built as a house, the building became a tavern early in its history, as it was located alongside the James River and Kanawha Turnpike. Its name derives from its location approximately halfway between Lewisburg and Charleston. Among travelers known to have signed the guest register are Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. The tavern served as area headquarters for both Confederate and Union troops during the Civil War. Inscribed over a front door is the legend 1862 / Headquarters of the / Chicago Gray Dragoons. A 1928 novel by H. E. Danford, The Trail of the Gray Dragoon, used the tavern as a setting. Though now surrounded by later, lesser structures, the old tavern, set comfortably back from the street in a large yard shaded by an ancient sycamore, presents a rare and genuine view of the past.

Writing Credits

Author: 
S. Allen Chambers Jr.
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Citation

S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Halfway House (Tyree Tavern)", [Ansted, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WV-01-FY36.

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