Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Shepherdstown, West Virginia



Little house Entler Hotel & Museum The Rumsey Monument Shepherdstown Public Library

Above: Little House, Entler Hotel & Museum, The Rumsey Monument, The Public Library

Little House

The smallest house in Shepherdstown. This supersized doll house was a Shepherd College project. Completed in 1929, the two-story "house" has five rooms and measures 10 feet high by 9-1/2 feet wide, with 5 1/2 foot ceilings. It was built so student teachers could observe children playing in the "Laboratory setting."

Shepherdstown Public Library

The Shepherdstown Public Library is located in a unique historic building that began its life in the summer of 1800 as a market house. Two days a week the bell rang out to bring in shoppers with their large baskets to buy fresh produce. This original use is linked with the revived Sunday Farmer's Market located behind the library.

In 1845, the local order of the Odd Fellows petitioned the Town Council for permission to build a second story meeting room, with a secure roof, five windows to each side and an outside stairway. The wooden plaques on the front of the library, restored in 1995, were installed at the time.

The building subsequently was used as a hospital after the Battle of Antietam, as a fire hall, a Council room and a jail before the Shepherdstown Woman's Club began a small volunteer library here in 1921, in the bottom floor of the building. The upstairs children's section was opened on Easter Monday, 1963.

Their dedication came to fruition when the Shepherdstown Public Library was established by Corporation ordinance in 1971.

The Rumsey Monument

Located at the end of Mill Street, the Rumsey Monument was erected in honor of James Rumsey, the inventor of the steam ship.

On December 3, 1787, the steamboat finally made a successful public demonstration on the Potomac at Shepherdstown. Constantly plagued by money problems, James Rumsey left Shepherdstown in March of 1788 in order to seek funding for his projects, little knowing that he would never return. A couple of months later in Philadelphia the Rumseian Society was formed by men who hoped to publicize what he was doing, one being Ben Franklin. They decided he should go to England to secure patents for his inventions and seek further financial backing.

Rumsey spent four years in england, and on December 20, 1792, on the eve of the demonstration of his new steamboat, the Columbia Maid, he had just finished delivering a lecture to the Society of Mechanic Arts. Suddenly he was stricken with a severe pain in his head and died the next morning. At the time, his death was attributed to overstraining his brain. He was buried there in London at Saint Margaret's Church.

In 1906 the monument to Rumsey was constructed in a park overlooking the Potomac. In the 1980's, a Rumseian Society was formed in Shepherdstown in order to construct a replica of the successful Rumsey steamboat and celebrate the boat's bicentennial in 1787. The replica is currently housed in a small building behind the Entler Hotel.

Entler Hotel & Museum

The Entler Hotel on the corner of German and Princess Streets is one of Shepherdstown's major historic icons. It is as much a symbol of the Town as McMurran Hall or the Rumsey Monument. And it is much older. Its origins go all the way back to 1786 when Philip Adam Entler bought the west part of the Entler lot from Christian Cookus and built a large brick house on it. This house burnt in 1912 but the foundations still remain.

Cookus also built a two-story brick building in 1786 on a portion of the Entler lot east of Philip Entler's house. This building now houses the Historic Shepherdstown Museum. Cookus then built a two-story brick building, with a porch entrance that faced Princess Street.

Daniel Bedinger bought the remaining portion of lot No. 33, that Cookus had purchased from Thomas Shepherd in 1764. Bedinger built a three-story brick building that butted against the building that now houses the museum, and adjoined the Princess Street building. Bedinger owned all of the property that now makes up the Entler Hotel.

In 1809 James Brown leased the buildings from the Bedinger family and opened a Entler Hotel Reception Deskgrocery store in the corner building. A tavern, the Globe Tavern, began operating in the museum building about this time and offered overnight accommodations. Brown subleased space to the tavern. A saloon and kitchen were in the cellar, the dining room was on the first floor of the museum building, and the hotel lobby was entered from Princess Street.

Around 1811 Town Council (then called Town Trustees) began meeting in the tavern. Town elections were also held here.

Edward Lucas and Brown bought the hotel property from Bedinger in 1815. Brown sold the property in 1820 for $4,000 to Thomas Crown of Washington City. Daniel Entler, grandson of Philip Entler, Sr., became manager of the hotel.

In 1824 Daniel Entler became the proprietor of the entire complex which now contained 24 rooms, nineteen fireplaces, three cellars, and three kitchens. Until the 1850s it was known as Daniel Entler's Tavern or Hotel. The name was then shortened to the Entler Hotel. Entler and his six unmarried children lived in the original Philip Entler house on the west end of the lot.

The Entler Hotel suffered great financial loss during the War Between the States. It served as a hospital after the Battle of Antietam in September of 1862, and as a place where Union soldiers stayed for much of the remainder of the war.

In 1873 the Entlers moved from Shepherdstown and although the family still owned the property they would never again operate the hotel. In 1913 the hotel was sold at public auction for $8,000 and after a year of restoration opened again as the Hotel Rumsey.

In 1917 the hotel closed for the last time and in 1921 Shepherd College acquired the hotel and the entire lot. The college converted the hotel into a men's dormitory. In 1929 the dormitory was named Rumsey Hall.

It was used for a year during World war II as quarters for U.S. Navy and Air Force cadets training at Shepherd. In 1953 it was converted to apartments for Shepherd faculty members and in 1968 the building was used for storage.

In 1983 the Historic Shepherdstown Museum was founded to preserve and display artifacts, furniture, and historic documents that might otherwise have been lost.

The first floor of the museum, formerly the ladies’ and gentlemen’s parlors in the old Entler Hotel, is now decorated as a formal reception room. It contains the original Entler guest register, two spectacular Jacob Kraft clocks made in Shepherdstown, examples of Weis pottery that were made on the northwest corner of Duke and German streets, and an exhibit about the history of the Shepherdstown riverfront.

Located at German & Princess Streets
Hours of Operation: Saturday 11:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm
Research (by appointment): Monday & Wednesday 9:30am-12:00pm
*Call Cindy Cook to make an Appointment 876-0910