New gazebo shares piece of Parkersburg’s past

PARKERSBURG – A new gazebo being constructed at Point Park has its foundation in the history of Parkersburg.

City Engineer Justin Smith said the four columns installed Wednesday are more than 110 years old and are some of the last pieces of the former Chancellor Hotel.

The Chancellor Hotel was built in 1901 by W.N. Chancellor, who was mayor of Parkersburg in the late 1800s and also built the Blennerhassett Hotel. The Chancellor Hotel stood at the corner of Seventh and Market streets and was torn down in 1975.

The four 10-foot-tall cement columns, each weighing about 1,200 pounds, had been salvaged by the Astorg family and placed into storage.

“The Astorg family held on to them for all these years,” Smith said.

City crews and private contract workers pitched in Wednesday to place the columns, which had to be lowered into place by crane.

Smith said the columns will be refinished and painted. The paint has to sit for about a week before crews can begin installing the dome.

“The dome will be Dover white, so we are trying to decide what color would be best to use on the columns,” he said.

Mayor Bob Newell said nearly every aspect of installing the gazebo, from the columns to purchasing materials to providing labor, has been through donations by the Astorg family. The city designed the structure and has provided some equipment.

“We’re very appreciative of the Astorg family,” Newell said. “It was their idea. They wanted to do something with those columns and we were able to use them in creating this new landmark. It’s a very nice donation to the park and to the city.”

Murray Sheet Metal donated a crane and labor to lower the columns into place, Newell said.

When the gazebo is finished, city crews will install a sidewalk leading to the structure, which will make it handicapped accessible, Newell said.