History of The Old Clark Inn 1924~Present

CLARKS HOTEL –> MARLINTON HOTEL –> OLD CLARK INN


George W. Clark & Lucy F. Moore 12Lucy F. Moore-Clark
was a 4th generation descendant of the pioneer Moses Moore, who settled in Pocahontas County in the 1700’s.  She was born in 1884, one of 14 children born to Charles L. Moore of Minnehaha.

George W. Clark of White Sulphur Springs was an entrepreneur having a hand in several local businesses including a livery stable and the early Alpine Hotel.

Our story begins in 1924 when Lucy Clark purchased 2 lots on 3rd Avenue.  (She and her husband George already owned a handful of other properties in the Marlinton area).  A hotel was erected on this property facing the railroad tracks.  Marlinton was a booming lumber town at that time and their were not enough rooms available in town.  Many people were coming here for work and for goods and services that were not available in the surrounding mountains.

The Clark Hotel opened and operated with little fanfare until the early 1930’s when George ran off with a young local woman leaving Lucy with the hotel.  He started a new family in Texas, having 3 girls with his new wife.  He passed away in 1943 when his youngest daughter was only 2, and never having met his grandchildren back here in WV.

Cat with Don, Brooks & David-1941

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Lucy continued to shelter and serve meals to the people passing through.  Travelling salesmen and doctors of every sort set up temporary shops in the Clark Hotel advertising their goods and services in the Pocahontas Times.  Throughout the Great Depression, visiting families of CCC workers also stayed at Lucy’s hotel.

One of her children, Catherine, married Paul Mason (who was a sax player in the Tommy Dorsey Band with Frank Sinatra) and  she had 5 boys who spent their adolescence in their grandma’s hotel and attended school here in the 1950’s.

Lucy was known locally as a hard working business woman.  She passed away in 1956 at 72 years old and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.  Soon after, the Pocahontas Times reported the sale of the “Clark Hotel” for $18,700 at auction.  Dr. Robert Pittman became the new owner, changing the name to the Marlinton Hotel. It was reportedly a rough and unkempt establishment by the time it was resold in 1964.

Travelling Eye Doctor 1953

The next 18 years saw the Kelleys and the Whites at the helm.   As the logging and railroad activity was diminishing, a preservation movement and tourism industry began to blossom in Pocahontas County.  It was during this time, from the mid 1960’s through the 70’s, that the Scenic Highway, Snowshoe Resort, the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area and Beartown SP were being constructed.  Major renovations were also made at the hotel; the old coal furnace was changed to one that burned oil, the dining room was completely redone and the front room fireplace was updated.  The hotel stayed busy charging only $3 per night/$7 per week  and a restaurant operated on site serving full dinners for $2.50.

 In 1982, the Rev. Kenneth Cloud purchased the building.  The following year he sold it to C.P. Farley and quickly left town amidst rumors of “hanky-panky”.

Mr Farley made major updates to the old Marlinton Hotel including adding bathrooms to meet the increasing demand for privacy.  And all was well the the former Clark Hotel until November of 1985. When the “big flood” hit, the floodwater blew out the windows in the basement and came up over 4 feet high on the first floor.  Now Farley had his hands full with bailing out, cleaning up and getting the doors back open for business. In 1987, when failing health (and his wife’s aversion to mountain roads in winter) forced him to sell , the hotel was temporarily operated by a Chicago Lottery winner named Fred Etheridge.  According to Farley, Fred and his mother quickly frittered away their winnings and 8 months later he defaulted on his loan forcing C.P. Farley to foreclose on him and once more take the reigns as hotel proprietor.

“Rusty” Lett  purchased the hotel in 1989 and opened a public mini-golf course in the backyard.  In 1993 he sold it to the Morrisons who renamed it the “Old Clark Inn” and operated it for only 2 years before selling it to another local family, the Caines.

Mike and Leslie Caine resided at the Old Clark for 8 years, making renovations room by room and marketing it as a B&B. Soon after came the ‘96 flood and more clean-up.  During those years, Snowshoe was flourishing and the inn was filled with skiers every winter.

Sometime in 2003, the area was discovered by an avid motorcyclist from North Carolina.  By spring of 2004, he had convinced his better half to sell everything, buy the Old Clark Inn, and move to Marlinton.  Once here, we immersed ourselves in our new way of life and began working on the new vision we had for the former Clark Hotel.

 We knew immediately that we wanted to create an environment where “regular folks” like ourselves would be comfortable. And we wanted to cater to travellers who, like ourselves, were attracted to Nature’s Mountain Playground by it’s exceptional beauty and abundant recreational opportunities.  During our 10 years, we have endeavored to change with the times and technology so as to appeal to the modern traveller, while still maintaining Lucy Clark’s original vision of old time value and hospitality.

Copy of Lucy 7 with baby David

For 90 years now the Old Clark has been a fixture in the community and an important part of local economy.  Current CVB statistics indicate that for every $1 a traveller spends at the Old Clark, he spends at least $2.50 at other local businesses.   Thousands of travellers choose to stay with us in downtown Marlinton every year and we like to think that Lucy would be pleased to see us carry on her legacy of honesty and hard work.