In celebration of Archaeology Month, on Thursday, October 18, 2012, Annette Ericksen will give a presentation on W. C. Stiles Jr.’s Thornhill estate site, near the abandoned town of Volcano. The program, which will be held in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center in Charleston, will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Stiles, who is remembered for introducing the “endless cable pumping system” to the oil production industry, founded the town of Volcano primarily to serve his oil business in the area. Built in 1874, the Thornhill estate was one of the finest in the region, boasting well manicured grounds, an expansive wine cellar, and a tennis court. The estate was so grand that important visitors to Volcano would stay at Thornhill rather than the fine hotel in town. In 1879, a fire wiped out most of the town and many people decided to move on, rather than rebuild. Stiles died at his estate in 1896 and the town slowly faded away. The mansion was torn down in the 1940s after being slowly stripped during the Great Depression. The estate site and most of the former town site are in Mountwood Park, part of the Wood County park system.
For the past two years, Annette Ericksen has led a team from Hocking College in excavating the Thornhill site. She will describe what the team has found and what plans they have for the future.
Ericksen received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in Anthropology from The Ohio State University. She has worked in the field for nearly 30 years and is now specializing in historic Appalachian archaeology, with a focus on industrialization and ethnicity. She has been teaching for 7 years at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, and is the Archaeology Program Coordinator.
For planning purposes, participants are encouraged to register for the lecture, but advance registration is not required to attend. To register in advance, contact Robert Taylor, library manager, by e-mail or at (304) 558-0230, ext. 163. Participants interested in registering by e-mail should send their name, telephone number and the name and date of the session.
West Virginia Archives and History Workshops/Lectures