WV Living: The Importance of Heritage Tourism to West Virginia’s Economy

Revitalizing West Virginia's Downtowns


By Nikki Bowman / WV Living

I have always loved old buildings. As a child, I thought the old Clay County Courthouse was the closest thing to a castle I’d ever seen. It was perched on the hill overlooking town like a golden sentry. After school, I’d go there to visit my grandmother Ella Braley, who worked for the county clerk, and I’d busy myself in the stacks of deeds and genealogy records. The heavy and dusty oversized books, the polished black and white checkered floors, the painted wooden banisters, and the thick doors that creaked open with authority were the catalyst of many stories I fabricated as I sat at a vacant desk with a typewriter. Someone along the way had told me the story of how locals tried to lynch the defendants of the Booger Hole trial at the courthouse in 1917. I vividly recall spending days pecking…

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