The story of a forgotten America.

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 by Judge Nathan Goff, Jr. 2 5 6 and constructed from 1901 to 1904 at the 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 and featured a 47-foot by 56-foot lobby with a mosaic tiled floor surrounded by wrap-around balconies, accessible by an 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 to 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.

Salem College

In July 1964, Salem College purchased the Waldo Hotel and established 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, it purchased the Carmichael and 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

In 1971, the upper floors of the Waldo were repurposed into apartments while the lower floors were reused as offices by owner David Arnett. 10


By the late-1990’s, the Waldo Hotel was in poor condition and needed $600,000 in improvements to meet fire code standards. 10 Arnett was not able to bring the structure up to code and all of the tenants were forced out. In 2000, the Waldo was purchased by the McCabe Land Company for $150,000 who had expressed interest in restoring the building. 4 McCabe then sold it to the Vandalia Heritage Foundation in 2001 for $195,000.

In August 2009, with no work progressing on restoring the Waldo, the city gave Vandalia a 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 phase, 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 were 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 supposedly pay for matching funding for the roof repairs.



  1. “Waldo Hotel.” Vandalia Heritage Foundation. N.p., 2006. Web. 5 Oct. 2010.
  2. “Historic Sites.” 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.
  9. “Our views: Federal money requires disclosure Mollohan should help Clarksburg learn more about project.” Charleston Daily Mail 19 May 2010: 4A. Print.
  10. Ferrell, Charlotte. “State sites fight for survival.” Charleston Daily Mail 17 Jul. 1997: 1D. Print.


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[…] CLARKSBURG, W.Va. –Nestled off the highway in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia, lies the once-renowned Waldo Hotel. Previously acclaimed as one of the most intricately crafted hotels in the state, the Waldo “featured a 47-foot by 56-foot lobby with a mosaic tiled floor surrounded by wrap-around balconies, accessible by an 11-foot-wide marble grand staircase,” according to Abandoned Online.  […]

[…] The Bluebeard was eating breakfast at the architecturally ornate Waldo Hotel when he discovered himself and his crimes in the newspaper as a wanted man. Famously renowned in the state for featuring at 47-foot by 56-foot lobby with mosaic tiled floors surrounded by wrap-around balconies and accessible by an 11-foot-wide marble grand staircase, the Waldo now rests abandoned in Clarksburg after years of neglect. The windows are boarded up and the doors are locked tight, and many have tried to restore the once grand hotel, but there are no current plans to move forward with any reconstruction. Click here to see more inside […]

I grew up in Clarksburg and remember the Waldo very well and could tell some tales about it and how as kids we would try in vain to sneak a peek at the girlie magazines in their newstand. Sadly Clarksburg as a city has never really had any sincere interest in preserving it’s history and landmarks, JW Davis was a candidate for President and defeated by W. Wilson, his home became a parking lot, Goff Mansion now a parking lot and my old school Towers (a brick structure) after a fire torn down and the land vacant. Towers aside from having been an elementary school for over 100 years also served as a hospital during the Civil War. As you entered Towers every day you would see a large photo on the left of nurses working there during that period. Most don’t even know there were remnants of trenches on Lowndes Hill we actually played Civil War in them. Clarksburg repeatedly has proven not to truly care for it’s own history that said sadly the Waldo is doomed. I wish it were not so.

Great post. Hope the hotel was renovated. It was beautiful. Am reading letters from the hotel by Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale in 1914. She was doing a tour and speaking on woman suffrage. In one letter, she said, “The people here are nuts, & put me in this hotel surrounded by car and train tracks so that sleep wasn’t easy.”

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

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!!!!!

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

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 in the name of this city.You will see pictures of a place you wish you knew.

I have a history here.

-Big Al

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.

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!

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………

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

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.

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.

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.

Don’t ask how people got in. Does it matter? They either got permission or they were unable to. If you ask the people in charge 90% of the time they will (I suppose logically) say no for fears of being sued when someone hurts themselves. It’s often best to slip in and slip out. I’ve found that police are quite understanding when you have an expensive camera, business card related in some way to why you’re there, a website of photography which you own or post to or whatever else you can think of that would make sense. It’s the difference between them breaking your collar bone, arm pull out of the socket and/or going down a flight of stares with your hands cuffed behind your back…….although these mishaps have been known to change their mind about writing said incidents up in a report. Your experiences will vary depending on the state, your state of appearance, cost of camera/car/scooter/or lack there of waiting outside. A comment the cops always make is one of concern about them having to rescue you from a collapse or figure out who killed you. Basically “stay out so we don’t have to come here because there’s no money in it. Unless you’ve got some drugs on ya? Maybe a half ounce of weed so we can seize your vehicle and other assets as proceeds of a criminal enterprise. Have fun proving it’s not Mr.Picker/flipper/photographer/who doesn’t have a trail of receipts and credit card this or that’s. (And no a half ounce of weed isn’t that much. Only a fool buys anythjng one at a time. I’ll take one egg please and I’ll be back to waste gas and risk my ass when I need more. My friends dad used to buy a pound at a time and then split it amongst a few people. He is a Doctor annnd I’ve gotten so off track. Sorry people. :/.)

Love the Waldo and so many other places. I get great joy from exploring and even greater joy when I see a place brought back. (Please don’t be losers and break windows and such. If you must break some glass throw bottle at your own car window. Get it out of your system. Thank you.)

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