On a recent road trip, I watched the interstate exits from the passenger side, taking stock of our lodging options (which were plentiful and brightly lit). Travelers straggling along 19th century turnpikes likely yearned for a light to left on – and the sight of a roadside inn surely provided great comfort. I thought of this while exploring in West Virginia and coming across a long building on the north side of the road in the town of Capon Bridge. Like any historic traveler before me, I recognized the bulk of the two-and-one-half story building as a tavern or inn.
Built between 1800 and 1818, the log and frame building has numerous windows and doors, and massive brick chimneys that likely serve a number of hearths. The inn is 10 bays on the first floor facade, with alternating doors and windows (9/6 double-hung sash on the first story, and 6/6 on the second). Margaret Caudy and her husband Eli Beall built the inn as a stop on the Northwestern Turnpike (now US Route 50). Their daughter married a Frye, and when the inn transferred to the next generation, the name changed from “Beall’s Inn” to Frye’s Inn.
At some point in the 20th century, the building became a private home. As I stood on the opposite side of the former turnpike, taking photos and wondering about the story of the impressive building, I wished it was my stop for the evening.