Several buildings in downtown Sutton are on the National Register of Historic Places. Notable among these is the County Courthouse and the old County Jail. On the courthouse square you will also find a monument to Sutton County veterans of wars dating back to the American Revolution. The Historic District is roughly bounded by Main St., River View Dr., and First St. It consists of 270 acres, 85 buildings, and 2 structures.
Sutton, first settled in 1792, has a colorful history that figures prominently in the early settlement and development of western Virginia's interior. Its location on the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike made Sutton a strategic point during the Civil War.
Just east of Sutton you will find the Sutton Dam, which impounds Sutton Lake. The Dam, built and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is very interesting to see. Beside and above the dam is a parking area with a couple of benches which provide a good spot for viewing the dam, and the lake behind it. Particularly interesting is the rushing water of the Elk River which spills from beneath the dam. The lake is 125 feet deep at the dam.
Sutton Lake, a reservoir, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is a beauty spot in central West Virginia. The serpentine lake winds 14 miles along the Elk River, with many coves along its 45 miles of shoreline. It is a favorite of fishing and boating and water sports enthusiasts.
2000 Sutton Lane, I-79, Exit 67, Sutton, West Virginia, 26601-9539, United States
Good for: Couples
The lady at the motel where I was staying next door to this restaurant told me they had "Good home cooking," so I gave it a try. Although the service was a little slow, and nonchalant, the food actually exceeded my expectations.
Favorite Dish: I ordered the special of the day: baked ham, green peas, and mashed potatoes with gravy. The ham was better than most I've had, the peas were okay, and the "real" mashed potatoes and gravy were excellent. I washed it down with iced tea, and finished my meal off with a slice of cocoanut pie. All of this set me back less than $8, plus tax and tip.
The Elk River, one of West Virginia's most scenic streams, flows through Sutton. The river rises in the western part of Pocahontas County, against the summit of Spruce Knob, the highest point in the Mountain State. From there it flows in a northwesterly direction across the southern corner of Randolph County, across Webster County to Sutton in Braxton County, and across Clay and Kanawha counties, where it empties into the Kanawha River at Charleston, WV. Its drainage area is about 1,550 square miles. The Elk River winds a total of 172 miles through the heart of West Virginia.
The Shawnee Indians, who once inhabited the area, called the Elk River, Tis-kel-wah, meaning "river of fat elk." The Delaware tribe is said to have called it Pe-quo-ni, meaning "the walnut river." A rich diversity of more than 106 species of fish live in its waters.
I met a man at a restaurant in Sutton and asked him the question I often pose to locals anywhere I visit: "What is this town famous for?"
His immediate response was that Sutton had been burned down by the Indians in it's earliest days, then it was burned down again by Confederate forces during the War Between the States. He told me that the town had been deeply divided during the Civil War, with brother fighting and feuding agains brother.
I later explored the downtown area of Sutton and discovered that there has been another fire more recently. Two major buildings just a few doors up from the Braxton County Courthouse had been gutted by fire. Those buildings had been home to the local newspaper office, a pool hall, and other businesses.
Cleanup from the fire was still underway at the time of my visit in July, 2006. Hopefully, Sutton will rise from the ashes, newer and better than before.
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