Waldo Hotel is a defunct hotel in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia.
The Waldo Hotel was designed by Harrison Albright of Charleston, West Virginia,7 financed byJudge Nathan Goff, Jr. 2 5 6 and constructed from 1901 to 1904 at a cost of $400,000.1 The seven-story, Beaux-Arts styled hotel was named for Goff’s father, Waldo P. Goff.
The Waldo was renowned as one of the most architecturally ornate hotels in the state, featuring a 47-foot by 56-foot lobby with a mosaic tiled floor surrounded by wrap-around balconies on the second and third levels, and accessible via a 11-foot-wide marble grand staircase.7
Goff, a millionaire lawyer and businessman, had served as a member of Congress, Secretary of the Navy during the Hayes administration, an attorney and a federal appellate judge.3 When he died in 1920, the hotel was passed onto his sons, Guy D. Goff and Waldo Goff.7
In 1923, Guy Goff moved into the Waldo into a suite of rooms on the 4th floor, declaring it his official residence when he served a term in the United States Senate from 1925 to 1931.7 The Waldo later served as a meeting place for conservative Republican senators who had wanted to block the presidential nomination of Herbert Hoover and replace Hoover with Goff. That movement ultimately failed.
In July 1964, Salem College purchased the Waldo Hotel, establishing the Clarksburg Campus of Salem College in September.8
The just-accredited college had first entered Clarksburg in 1958 with a small building donated by Darwin M. Davis at 917 West Pike Street. In 1965, Salem College began leasing the Carmichael Auditorium on North Sixth Street for a gymnasium, and in 1966, the college purchased the Carmichael and the Mitchell Building on the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Hewes Avenue. The Mitchell Building was rebuilt to serve as the science department, with the basement of the Carmichael Building used as classroom space. The first floor of the Carmichael Building served as a library.
Salem College stopped using the Waldo Hotel in December 1969.8
The upper floors were repurposed into apartments while the lower floors were reused as offices in 1971 by owner David Arnett.10
By the late-1990’s, the Waldo Hotel was in poor condition. Arnett was required by the city to make $600,000 in improvements to the building to meet fire code standards.10 Arnett was not able to bring the structure up to code and all tenants were forced out.
In 2000, the Waldo Hotel was purchased for $150,000 by the McCabe Land Company who had expressed interest in restoring the building.4 McCabe sold it to the Vandalia Heritage Foundation in 2001 for $195,000.
With no work progressing on restoring the Waldo, the city of Clarksburg in August 2009 gave Vandalia one year to submit a timeline of rehabilitating the building.3 Vandalia replied that a full restoration of the Waldo Hotel would cost $22 million and that the first phrase, a partial roof replacement, was fractionally funded through a $100,000 state historic preservation grant. The grant, however, required matching funding and that the matching dollars was not obtainable due to the national recession.
In March 2010, contractors for Vandalia removed piping and heating units from the hotel to jump start renovations to the Waldo.3 The items were sold for scrap, with the revenue being set aside to help pay to supposedly pay for matching funding for the roof repairs.
When questioned about the need to removed scrap metal from the building, Vandalia refused to respond.9 The tax-exempt organization, partially funded through U.S. Representative Alan Mollohan’s office, received $28 million in Housing and Urban Development funds. In May, Mollohan lost a bid for a 15th term in Congress partially because of ethic inquiries into the Vandalia Foundation.
Since Mollohan’s loss, no work has progressed at the Waldo Hotel by the Vandalia Foundation.