Waldo Hotel - Abandoned by Sherman Cahal

Waldo Hotel

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.

Salem College

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.



  1. Great shots, Sherman! How did you go about getting permission to take the shots? I wanted to take some shots of an old farmhouse in NC back in June and the group that owned it wouldn't let me in. This has happened several times. But I love this website, nice work.

  2. I grew up in and around Clarksburg,WV from 1944- 1979 moved to Texas, now planning a move to Callahan , Florida.. I loved our trips into Clarksburg to Sears, James & Law Book store, Murphy, McCor they were call 5 and dime stores then Harrison Co. Court House. I was there many times getting shots for school. the ice cream parlor the old libaray on pike street, my brother-in-law Tom Wheeler was a fireman at the fire station on Main street.. Now I get back a few times a year mostly for a death in the family. I was there jult 3-7 my sister passed away.

  3. The Waldo must have been a grand hotel in its day. What a shame that it has been allowed to deteriorate to the condition it is in today. I have been in Clarksburg many times, but don't remember ever seeing it. My best wishes on getting it restored.

  4. i lived there in 1980- 1983 it was apartments i was on 6th floor for a year and then moved to 4 th floor i had the north 4th and pike street side with the great arched windows . large window sills. it truly was a beautiful building use to sit in lobby and just think about all the ppl who walked threw it doors. such beautiful ceilings and stone work… i always loved all the stone work just amazing i can believe how such a timeless building has become this … i so hope it can be saved

  5. my son helps with waldo he attends meetings he helps clean up we have meet alot of nice people. he is sixteen an loves that hotel he volenteers his time an would be very hurt if it is took down. know how many 16 teen years wants to volunteer there time after school to do something like that. he is not interested in video games or sports. if clarksburg would open up a youth day once a week an let kids volunteer there time it would make a different. please dont distroy this place it is a restration historical land mark of west virginia. save the waldo please god bless………

  6. what a great idea gerry! I grew up in clarksburg and remember my parents attending many a party at the Waldo. When I read this about possible demo of such an historic place it broke my heart. I agree let the youth of clarksburg bring back the history, it would put something in their hearts forever. I am going to try to find out a way to help even though I am out west, gotta save the Waldo!

  7. Just found this website. Hope they are continuing to renovate The Waldo Hotel. I am a descendent of Judge Nathan Golf, Jr. Who built the hotel. It is so sad to see what has happened to the interior of the hotel.

  8. I read none of what is on this site.I do know this city.I pass by that building twice six days a week.

    I am staying at The Clarksburg Mission by choice.

    My mother and father live in a beautiful home on Broaggus Avenue.They go to bed at 7pm.I will not do that.

    I live elsewhere now and things are well for me.I ha e a good job and am educated.But I have stuff to say.

    Go to Google.com.Images.Type in the name of this city.You will see pictures of a place you wish you knew.

    I have a history here.

    -Big Al

  9. Sorry,but the following is true and I have to share.No need to show this though.

    The name Goff is somewhat popular here.My best friend and his mother Judy told me they know a man named Goff.First name???


    True,but very sad story.Some poor teacher has do do role call.

    -Big Al

  10. The Waldo is a classic historic structure and every effort should be made to preserve it. Take a look at some of the old mill buildings in New England that have had the structures saved, and then turned into office and residential units. Please save it!!!!!

  11. A structure of both historical content & beauty as this should be preserved . This could be obtained & serve the purpose as hotel/apartments as documented landmark w/ state registry

  12. Does anyone know if there are any interested parties seeking to purchase the Waldo currently

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