Bankshot Pub closing, downtown Parkersburg building to come down
WesBanco plans to buy, demolish structure
PARKERSBURG — The Bankshot Pub on Market Street will close it doors at the end of the year, with the nearly 120-year-old building it occupies eventually headed for demolition.
Bankshot owner Joe DeHaven said he’s agreed to sell the building to neighboring WesBanco. WesBanco Market President Joe Campbell said the ability to tear down the three-story structure is a condition of the sale, and the company got approval Wednesday from Parkersburg’s Central Downtown Business District Design & Facade Committee to go forward with those plans.
“I was just kind of throwing it out here in case someone would say, ‘You can’t do that,'” Campbell said during the meeting, before the committee voted 3-0 with two members absent to approve the plan.
Formerly known as the Mather Building and the site of Franklin and DeHaven Jewelers, co-owned by Joe DeHaven’s father, Bill, the 405 Market St. building is located next to WesBanco’s commercial loan offices at 409 Market St. On the other side of those offices is the bank’s downtown branch, which Campbell said could eventually be torn down and the branch moved into 409 Market.
Removing the structure at 405 Market would provide space to install an elevator and add an exit at 409, Campbell said.
The demolition of the Bankshot building likely won’t happen quickly, Campbell said.
“We don’t have it in our capital budget for 2018, but we’ll see when we can get (it) in there,” he said.
Parkersburg Development Director Rickie Yeager said he was glad to hear about WesBanco’s plans.
“We certainly welcome the reinvestment in downtown,” he said.
DeHaven said there’s been interest in his building for years, but he finally decided to sell because “I’m 68.”
According to documents posted online by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places and was originally built as a jewelry store.
Bob Enoch, president of the Wood County Historical Society, said the building is on the registry as a part of the downtown historical district, rather than for its own significance.
The building served as a political headquarters during John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, DeHaven said.
“All the Kennedy signs were still in here” when his father and his business partner started leasing the site for their jewelry store in 1964, he said.
The younger DeHaven bought the building in 1982 and converted it from a jewelry store to a pub in the early ’90s. However, he didn’t stop selling jewelry when he started selling beer.
“I had the license from the state for buying and selling. I already had the jewelry,” he said.
DeHaven recalled his father telling him he got it right by combining the two ventures.
“I had more fun in this business than I did in the jewelry business,” he said, noting he got to meet and interact with more people.
One of the most memorable features of the pub is a walk-in safe. DeHaven said only two people in the world know the combination: himself and his friend, Bill Merriman.
DeHaven said he’s selling off some memorabilia and other items from the business. He noted he’s spent a great deal of time at the Bankshot and he’ll be sorry to see the building torn down.
DeHaven said he does not plan to completely retire after he closes the pub for the last time.
“I can’t go and sit at the house and do nothing,” DeHaven said.