Fairmont, West Virginia


Day 2 ended in Fairmont for a couple of reasons.  One, I wanted to be in the right place that night, so that I could start exploring northeastern West Virginia the next morning.  Two, I discovered Fairmont’s motels were a bit cheaper than Morgantown’s.  So, about an hour before dark, I found myself already checked into my room, and wondering what to do.

I decided to drive into downtown Fairmont.  It’s not a big city, even though by population, it’s the state’s 6th largest.  At first glance, I didn’t see much of interest.  But that’s the thing with photography: sometimes you have to invest a little time, wandering aimlessly, until you find something special.  So, I set out to find the beauty of Fairmont.

The WesBanco bank is certainly Fairmont’s most dominant feature.  The 9-story building was completed in 1911.

The old Methodist church looks like it needs a good power washing.

Nearby, there’s the old Bell Telephone building.

Ooooookay, nothing phallic here.  Plus, I’m not a member.  Darnit!  Moving along…

The Marion County Courthouse dominates Adams and Jefferson Streets. It was completed in 1900.

Just up the street, and slightly above a parking area, you’ll find Veterans Square, with several statues, flags, and engraved names, standing in honor of local servicemen and women.

I don’t recall seeing any movie posters for the blockbuster “Have A Nice Day”, so I’m willing to bet the Fairmont Theatre is closed.

CinemaTreasures.com lists the Fairmont as a 3-screen theater, that opened in 1946.  It says the Fairmont Theatre is still open, but that information might not be current.

Lupo’s Lunch is no longer serving any meals.

What town doesn’t have an empty GC Murphy’s?

As I wandered through Fairmont, I headed towards the bridge that creates a grand entrance to downtown.

The bridge is right next to a mission, complete with a glowing neon “Jesus Saves” cross.

The bridge itself is quite impressive.  The Fairmont High Level Bridge was originally known as the “Million Dollar Bridge” when it opened in 1921. Now, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fairmont High Level Bridge is 1,266 feet long, and includes three 250 foot concrete arch spans, 90 feet above the Monongahela River.  In addition to the “Million Dollar Bridge” and the “High-Level Bridge”, the structure gained a new name during restoration in 2000.  Officially, it’s now the Robert H. Mollohan Bridge, to honor a local congressman.

Note: This trip was first published in 2008.

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