Waldo Hotel, a defunct hotel in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia, is undergoing rehabilitation after years of abandonment.
Constructed from 1901 to 1904, the seven-story Beaux-Arts style hotel was designed by Harrison Albright of Charleston 7 and financed by Judge Nathan Goff, Jr.2 5 6 The Waldo, named for Goff’s father, Waldo P. Goff, was one of the most architecturally ornate hotels in the state, and contained a 47-foot by 56-foot lobby that contained a mosaic tiled floor, surrounded by wrap-around balconies on the second and third levels, accessible via a 11-foot-wide marble grand staircase.7 It was completed for $400,000 and was later well recognized for its lavish weddings, social events and political gatherings.1
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 occupied a suite of rooms on the 4th floor, and was declared his official residence when he served a term in the United States Senate from 1925 to 1931.7 The Waldo served as a meeting place for conservative Republican Senators who had wanted to block the presidential nomination of Herbert Hoover, and attempting to best him 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 a year later, the college purchased the property, including 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.
The Waldo was re-purposed as an apartment complex.4
In 2000, the Waldo was purchased for $150,000 by the McCabe Land Co., whose stated purpose was to prevent the historic hotel from being demolished.4 The company kept the structure for a year and sold it to the Vandalia Heritage Foundation for $195,000.
In August 2009, the city of Clarksburg gave the Foundation one year to begin some sort of restoration work.3 The Foundation said that a full restoration of the Waldo would cost approximately $22 million. The first phase of the project, a partial rehabilitation of the roof, was fractionally funded through $100,000 in state historic preservation grant money. The grant, however, required matching funding and the Foundation expressed difficulty in obtaining funding because of the recession.
On March 22 and 23, 2010, contractors for the Vandalia Heritage Foundation 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 for the matching funding for the temporary rehabilitation of the roof.
One councilman, Patsy Trecost, said the structure should have been demolished for “development,” noting that it would cost the city approximately $800,000 to demolish the Waldo.3 Trecost elaborated that the city could obtain a loan from the West Virginia Housing Development Fund to pay for the demolition.
The Foundation plans to restore the Waldo into a hotel and convention center.4