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Our History

Our History

The Inn

The Inn at Lost River sits on property originally owned by William (Billy) Harper, an early landowner in the valley. Harper operated a Gristmill and General Store which served as the commercial and social centers of activity for the Lost River Valley.

In the late 1880’s, James Garrett purchased the Harper Grist Mill and a portion of the Harper property. Garrett and his son, Ferg, constructed the wood frame lath and plaster home which later became the Inn.

Although the Grist Mill no longer stands, the Lost River General Store – National Register of Historic Places – remains a center of activity for the Lost River Valley and continues to provide a community gathering space for residents, guests and travelers. Instead of horseshoes, bourbon, fabric, nails, and caskets, the Lost River General Store now offers local, West Virginia, and national American crafts, and fine WV culinary delights.

A major renovation and restoration of the Inn began in the mid-1990’s and concluded 20 months later.  Today the 140 year old soft pine floors, milled from local forests, still grace the center hall. With the removal of fourteen coats of multi-colored paint, the center hall banister once again shines as a woodworker’s masterpiece created from local walnut.


The General Store

Built in 1898 and on the National Register of Historic Places, the Lost River General Store has served the valley for 125 years.  Built on a parcel of land owned by William Harper and initially leased to a mercantile operating in nearby Wardensville, the first chief clerk of the store also served as the local undertaker.  For nearly the first 70 years of the last century, the store was managed and eventually owned by the Haas family.  Each successive generation lived in rooms above the store and served as the local postmaster as the store also served as the local post office. 


The store’s business continued to grow and change over the decades eventually offering a wide variety of domestic and practical items like fabric, dry goods, hardware, whiskey, and caskets. Between 1910 and 1915, with the birth of the automobile, a gas pump replaced the original wagon hitches at the front of store.  With the 1930s came the paving of the road in front of the store and a newly built outhouse was installed by the Works Progress Administration.

The 1990s saw a major rehabilitation of the store building to ensure its legacy continues for generations to come.  Today, the café at the Lost River General Store remains a social hub of the valley and visitors and locals alike are drawn to the local, regional, and American made crafts and wares that now stock the shelves.  

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