Waldo Hotel

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


  1. “Waldo Hotel.” Vandalia Heritage Foundation. N.p., 2006. Web. 5 Oct. 2010. Article.
  2. “Historic Sites.” Clarksburg.com. City of Clarksburg, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. Article.
  3. Fallon, Paul. “Fate uncertain for historic Waldo Hotel in Clarksburg .” Exponent Telegram [Clarksburg] 26 Mar. 2010: n. pag. Print.
  4. Bonnstetter, Cathy. “Clarksburg Officials Look for New Uses for Old Waldo Hotel.” State Journal [Charleston] 17 Sept. 2010: n. pag. Print.
  5. Callahan, James Morton. Genealogical and Personal History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, WestVirginia. Ed. Bernard L. Butcher. Vol. 3. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1912. 966. Print.
  6. “ENDANGERED PROPERTIES 2009.” Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. N.p., 2009. Web. 1 July 2011. Insert.
  7. United States. Dept. of the Interior. “Description.” Clarksburg Downtown Historic District. By Michael J. Pauley. Comp. Rodney Collin. Washington: National Park Service, 1982. 7.6. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Web. 14 Dec. 2011. Article.
  8. Davis, Dorothy Belle. “February 24, 1976.” Salem West Virginia 1776 – 1976. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2011. 23-24. Print.


  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.

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