History of local hotel a festival favorite

Beth Sergent

September 20, 2013

POINT PLEASANT — One of the hottest destinations during the Mothman Festival, aside from the statue at Gunn Park, is the Historic Lowe Hotel.

This year, the Lowe is once again booked for the festival weekend with many rooms being booked a year in advance with a cancellation waiting list. Not only are all the rooms booked, staff at the Lowe are expecting large crowds for special tours through the hotel for those who were unable to get a room and are just plan fascinated with the living history the building represents. Oh, yeah, and there are those who only want to have a run in with the hotel’s ghosts.

Ruth Finley and her family have owned the hotel since 1990. Finley has said when her family first opened the hotel she had a guest tell her the hotel was haunted - this was not something any hotel owner at that time wanted to hear. However, times change and the hotel’s paranormal activity is now attracting business rather then scaring it off.

The ghost stories are one of the most popular aspects of the tours of the Lowe Hotel. There are the stories of the little girl spotted riding a tricycle in the hallway, water shutting on and off in certain rooms and aberrations appearing to guests when they least expect it. Finley said oddly enough, the rooms which have had the most reported paranormal activity over the years are some of the most popular with people booking them in advance. One of the most popular haunted rooms is a suite on the third floor where the image of a woman has shown up in the bathroom mirror only to disappear.

Then there’s the story of an antique wheelchair that seemed to move itself around on the fourth floor only to go missing for three years and then show up again one day without explanation. There are countless orbs captured in photographs and the spirit of a riverboat captain who is said to live in the hotel as well.

Finley has said with each new Mothman Festival weekend seems to come even more guests with more new ghost stories.

During this weekend’s tours, visitors will likely walk up the historic hotel’s marble staircase to the dining hall with its Tiffany stained-glass windows and ornate tile floor which was put down by hand in a time long before Home Depot existed. In fact, the Lowe Hotel began its life as the Spencer Hotel in 1901. Then, in 1929, the Lowe family purchased the building.

The tours also explain the impact the hotel had on the area at the early turn of the century and how it continues to be a part of the town’s present - wedding receptions, galas and other events are also still held at the hotel in the dining hall as well as on the fourth floor’s grand ballroom.

The Lowe is also one of the only, if not the only, historic hotel of its kind in West Virginia that has never closed.

For more on the tours of the historic hotel this weekend, check in with staff at the Lowe or call them at 304-675-2260. Staff typically like to have at least 10 people in a group for a tour, though last year there were as many as 30 in one group at one point.

Now well into its second century of life in downtown Point Pleasant, the Lowe Hotel has definitely been found again by a whole new generation.