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cellar house
Cellar house built by Marcus M. Broadwater near Hannahdale, around 1890. Arnold Broadwater, Marcus’ grandson, placed the greyhound on the outside to commemorate his 36 years of driving for the bus company.

Ritchie County Cellar Houses

By Katherine Roberts

Though cellar houses dot the landscape throughout West Virginia, they have a particularly strong presence in the northwestern part of the state. In Ritchie County, many older cellar houses are still well maintained and in use, and a few people have built new ones in recent years.

There are cellar houses in Ritchie County dating from the 1890's. At least one may date as far back as the 1840's. The cellar house at Floyd and Billie McGill’s homeplace on Indian Creek near Harrisville is likely one of the oldest in the county. The exact date of the cellar house is not known, but it serves a two-story frame farmhouse that was built around 1840 by John Starr, one of Ritchie County’s first permanent settlers.

You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.