Lemuel Chenoweth House and Museum

built 1856, Beverly, WV


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"The Pleasant Little Homestead on the Rippling Tygarts", modem pen sketch


Corner Water and Bridge Street, Rich Mountain Road, Beverly, WV
For more information contact
Randy Allan, Curator
P.O. Box 239, Beverly, WV 26253
Phone: 304-636-1953 or 304-637-RICH



Tours and programs available by reservation only until further notice. Tours take approximately 50 minutes and are best suited for parties of 10 or less. Programs can accommodate 25 people. Standard rates are adults $4.00 and Students through high school $2.00. Group rates of 10 or more can receive a 25 percent discount.




GENERAL TOUR of "The Pleasant little Homestead on Rippling Tygarts

The purpose of the generalized tour is to briefly show how the famous builder of covered bridges not only bridged gaps of rivers, but also gaps of technology, and even family hardships caused by the Civil War. The tour begins with a brief history of the families from which Lemuel Chenoweth and Nancy Hart descended. Also brief information -about the thirteen children born to Lemuel and Nancy, and pictures of many family members can be seen.

The lot on which the homestead now stands was once an Indian site. Both Indian and Civil War artifacts found during the restoration of the house are on display. The nature of construction of the post and beam house built in 1856 can be seen both within and without. Also many architectural construction features that are totally unique to Lemuel's abilities as a craftsman and an architect may also be seen in cabinets, fireplace mantels and some furniture. Most all the furnishings depict the time of the Civil War, and the next two decades while the Chenoweths occupied the house. They show how the family would have lived through that time.

Lemuel had two sons who fought for the Confederacy. Yet during the war, Union soldiers were billeted in the basement of his house. A brief history of the hardships that the Chenoweth family experienced during the war is presented.

Lastly an overview of Lemuel's amazing accomplishments as a builder of covered bridges, an architect, and an inventor are presented in examples and pictures of his work and a recently constructed scale model of the Beverly covered bridge; however his true genius can best be appreciated by viewing his working scale model of a futuristic sawmill in which only in the last decade have some of its features been put into use.

A very educational exhibit of political events and Civil War battles that led to the formation of West Virginia as the 35th state is displayed in the basement.


The Purpose of this tour is to show how Lemuel bridged gaps in construction and technology. Evidence is presented as to how he attained the knowledge, to be an accomplished builder, architect and even an inventor.

Special attention " be given to the nature of the post and beam construction used in the Chenoweth house. Also noted are unique construction features Lemuel incorporated into his own house that reflects on his being a builder of covered bridges. Numerous other unique construction techniques reflecting the mind of an architect that are displayed on both the exterior and interior of the house. Additionally the quality of his abilities as a craftsman, carpenter and architect can be seen in cabinet work, mantels and furniture displayed in the house.

Lastly the blend of abilities in working with wood and as an architect complimented his abilities as an inventor, These three attributes were incorporated in his unique design of some covered bridges. But more than anything else his genius can be seen in the working scale model futuristic sawmill Lemuel designed and built and which is on display. One of the advantages his sawmill has to offer has been put to use in just the last decade.




This program will reveal that in 1846 Lemuel Chenoweth completed building the Beverly covered bridge which immediately became the standard of quality for all other bridges to be constructed by the Virginia Board of Public Works. For the next twelve years Lemuel and his brother Eli continued to annually build one or more bridges on the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, the Huttonsville-Huntersville Turnpike, the Beverly-Fairmont Turnpike, and the Fairmont-Wheeling Turnpike. Only a few years after the Beverly bridge was constructed, Lemuel was at work repairing or even rebuilding bridges that had been built by other builders. In the program detailed information will be disclosed on most all of the bridge building he participated in as well as some he did not.

New information will be disclosed that when the Civil War began, Lemuel secured the position of Superintendent of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike which he held for several months. Because of the presence of the Union Army in western Virginia, Lemuel's work was mostly performed on that portion of the turnpike east of Beverly. After the war he was again at work building bridges burned during the Civil War most of which he had built prior to the war. You will learn just how this work was related to Lemuel's being elected to the State Legislature of 1871.

Today the double arch, double- lane Philippi Bridge and the Barrackville single arch bridge stand as testimony to Lemuel's abilities as a expert builder of covered bridges


This is a Christmas Program relived by the fireside- in the parlor of the Chenoweth house on several evenings in December. The contents of an eight page letter will be read that was written by a former Confederate prisoner who is described in detail as to what was talked about that Christmas Eve. He had been allowed to visit the Chenoweth family accompanied by a Union guard. Learn what relationships developed between Lemuel's daughter Mollie and the prisoner, and Mollie's sister Harriet and the Union guard.

Additional letters will relate to other exploits and hardships which were endured by the Chenoweth family during the war.

Lastly learn of the remarkable exploits of Lemuel's sons Major Joseph Chenoweth and private Taylor Chenoweth who served the cause of the Confederacy but were not home that Christmas Eve. Nevertheless both sons in a very incredible way could relate to either the prisoner or his guard.

The memorable evening win conclude with caroling and refreshments. Reservations required. A special evening program beginning with a turkey dinner is available.

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Last Revision Monday, March 12, 2001 Return to Start