The Arcade

Looking at the North entrance to the Arcade

Below: The Dog Wagon, a Charleston institution  closed in 1970

The Arcade in Charleston WV

Late 1960s photos courtesy of  Paul Bennington

Charleston Arcade

Charleston has always been a working mans town.  Unlike say... Marietta Ohio, who's beautiful town has largely remained unchanged for 150 years, most buildings here were erected without flourish due to the lack of space, and the need to get into business quickly in order to capture the booming economy of the day.  We have very few buildings that are "architecturally important".  The Arcade was one of those buildings.  Built in 1895 using cast iron for much of the construction, especially the glass roof supports which allowed natural light to filter through, the Arcade had balconies on both sides of the two story atrium.  The walk-through ran from Virginia Street to the library.  You can just see the entrance in the photo above.  Businesses lined both sides of the atrium on two floors. While not what you might call a "grandiose" building,  it was never the less an important landmark in downtown Charleston.  Without much thought, the building was torn down,  and like the few important landmarks we had,  it became just another cold parking building.  Charleston has never really known what it wants to be.

My personal opinion is that the Job Corp next door was the final straw for the Arcade.  The Job Corp and the people hanging around it constantly kept more and more people away from this area.  The Arcade was doomed.



This is possibly the last photo taken of the Arcade in 1979 by the great Earl Benton.

Bottom floor

Top floor

These two interior shots of the Arcade are from the turn of the Century. 



Just before it was demolished.

The Last Days

Charleston Arcade Charleston Arcade

Charleston Arcade

  Charleston Arcade



Totten Jewelers

On September 13, 1998, the Arcade was demolished

Some of the Arcade was salvaged for the hotel next door that was supposed to be refurbished. This however never happened. The roof of the Arcade, a series of iron trusses that once held a glass skylight, would form a canopy over the new main entrance to the hotel.  In addition, some of the ornate cast iron columns would be used in a new entryway of the hotel.  So what happened to these pieces?



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