The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Old Stone House

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Old Stone House near Clifftop, WV
Old Stone House historical marker on U.S. Route 60

Also known as the Tyree Stone Tavern, the Old Stone House, near Clifftop, WV, in Fayette County, is a private residence listed on the National Register of Historic Places and "is considered a fine example of the rough and strong structures which were essential in the rugged mountain terrain along the James River & Kanawha Turnpike between Charleston and Lewisburg."

The tavern's nomination to the register, prepared by the West Virginia Antiquities Commission in 1975, notes that the structure was originally built by the Tyree family in 1824 as a tavern, and that many prominent public figures lodged at the tavern while traveling between Washington, DC, and their homes in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee:

"It is believed that, among others, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and Thomas H. Benton visited. The house was also on the path of movements by both Federal and Confederate troops during the Civil War and apparently served as housing or headquarters for several generals and lesser soldiers such as Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley. Another notable guest was Matthew Fontaine Maury, one of the greatest authorities of the day on oceanography." Maury may have lodged at the tavern for about a month while recovering from a broken collar bone, according to the register nomination, during which time Maury may have composed a significant portion of his work on ocean currents.

The original portion of the house is built of fieldstone and incorporates four large rooms -- two public rooms on the first floor and two dormitory-type sleeping rooms on the second. Many outbuildings were located around the tavern, according to the nomination: "The Tyrees added the necessary dependencies and made the tavern nearly self-sustaining with the assortment of workshops, granary, meathouse and springhouse."

The Tyree family sold the property to the Longdale Iron Company in 1884, according to the nomination. The Longdale concern later deeded the property to the Babcock Coal & Coke Company, during which time the house was used for storage and a temporary residence deteriorated. At the urging of Governor William H. MacCorkle, the Babock family renovated the house in the 1890s.

The Old Stone House stands in a curve along Ravenseye Road, (Fayette County Route 10), a remnant of the James River & Kanawha Turnpike. The stone wall and loading block apparently used by passengers alighting from the stages stands along the road in front of the residence.