Kenova Landmark Gives Away For New Church

A landmark has vanished. It was the building that housed the Church of Christ at 1801 Chestnut Street, Kenova, torn down to make way for a larger, more modern structure. The building had a long and unusual history.

On a summer day in 1895, a steamboat traveling downstream tied up at the Ohio River bank in Kenova to unload a cargo of “house patterns” from the abandoned oil town of Volcano, Wood County, some 80 miles upstream, seven miles east of Parkersburg. Included was the lumber and other integral parts of a frame church built in 1970 to house Emmanuel Episcopal parish, which had prospered for several years in Volcano. Then, as the oil boom played out, the congregation dwindled to the vanishing point.

The church was rebuilt in Kenova to house Grace Episcopal parish, which had been organized five years before as a mission of Trinity Church in Huntington. Grace Church grew and prospered until construction of an interurban trolley line improved transportation and the Kenova parish was absorbed into Trinity.

In 1910, the building was rented by its trustees to the First Baptist Church which occupied it for a number of years. Later it was rented to the First Christian Church of Kenova for about 15 years. Then it was sold to a Church of Christ congregation, which occupied it until ready to build a larger church.

Of battened construction, with Gothic outlines and windows which are still apparent in the recent photograph, the original and rebuilt structures were painted white and were considered very beautiful. Several years ago, the outer wall was covered with imitation brick siding for greater warmth. Its original appearance at Volcano is preserved in a picture which hangs in the lobby of the Chancellor Hotel in Parkersburg.

This article appeared in the Herald Dispatch, June 19, 1967, was written by Doris Miller. This article as it appeared is framed with a picture of the “old” building in the main foyer, along with the bell that hung within it.