Remembering the Point of View

Seeing Thane Taylor’s photograph in The News and Sentinel recently reminded me of one of the finest restaurants to operate in this area.

Taylor’s father, Bob, and uncle Dan opened the Point of View restaurant on Blennerhassett Heights in May 1971. The Taylor family owned and operated the Point of View until May 2000. Other owners unsuccessfully tried to keep the Wood County restaurant open and the building is now for sale.

During its 29-year run with the Taylor family, the Point of View became a destination for not only Wood County residents but also for people across the region and elsewhere.

Thane Taylor, whose 20-year career at the restaurant included cooking and managing, remembers when DuPont and Borg-Warner Chemicals (GE Plastics) brought executives from France and across the globe to dine at the Point of View.

Thane said he prepared meals that were ahead of their time for this area. “Nobody else was doing what we were doing,” he said.

“Dad would travel and see menu items and tell me to recreate them,” said Thane, who is general manager of Applebee’s restaurant in Vienna. A California style of cooking was used at the Point of View, said Thane, who lived in Carmel, Calif., for many years.

He noted the menu included chateaubriand, beef cut at the restaurant, and homemade rolls, desserts and salad dressing. “Everything was from scratch,” Thane said.

People eating at Applebee’s have asked Thane for the recipe of his crab and lobster bisque, which was popular at the Point of View.

Perched atop Blennerhassett Heights, the restaurant provided a spectacular view of the Ohio River valley, including Blennerhassett Island, Belpre and downtown Parkersburg. People celebrated special occasions, such as birthdays, at the Point of View.

“I have many, many fond memories of that place,” Thane told me this week. “It is where I grew up,” spending as many as 85 hours a week working at the Point of View, he said.

“We had a great run,” he said. “I am proud of our accomplishments.”

Bob Taylor, or “R.T.” as some called him, is 82 years old and lives in Winchester, Va. His brother Dan, a former Wood County Schools superintendent, lives in Gettysburg, Pa.

After selling the Point of View, Bob Taylor rode his 10-speed bicycle to all 50 state capitals, starting with Juneau, Alaska, over a nine-month period, Thane said.

When asked whether he would like to reopen the Point of View, Thane quickly replied, absolutely not.

By the way, the previously mentioned photograph of Taylor involved Applebee’s being a corporate sponsor for the Little Red Stocking fundraising campaign to benefit the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.

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I was glad to receive a Christmas letter from Kathleen Mitchell of Parkersburg, who informed me she turned 98 years old on Dec. 27. Mitchell typed the letter on her new computer, with the assistance of friend Becky Daniel. I have enjoyed talking to Mitchell over the years. She has seen a lot during a nearly century of living and has a good sense of humor. Calvin Swisher and his sons Mark and Michael took Mitchell to lunch on her birthday at Bob Evans Restaurant. The Swishers are members of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Parkersburg, where Mitchell attends. Mitchell called 28 people this fall as part of the church’s annual financial campaign. Mitchell was thrilled to receive a birthday note and a check in the mail made out to St. Paul’s in her honor from St. Marys pharmacist Tammy Smith. “Becky Daniel wrote a poem to me in honor of my birthday,” she said. With no family members still alive, Mitchell said she is thankful to have so many friends at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. When people ask her “how are you today,” she replies, “thankful.” I am thankful to have known Kathleen Mitchell.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com