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Renovation is in progress

By Staff | Jul 7, 2010

With the renovation in progress, Wells Inn owners Charles and Kim Winslow have high hopes their ‘pet project’ will be fully restored in time for the annual festivals in Sistersville. (Photos by Jonay Corley)

Renovations have started in what will be the fourth overhaul for the historic Wells Inn.

Owner Charles Winslow said he and his wife, Kim, looked at several properties but they were charmed by the allure of the Wells and simply fell in love with the City of Sistersville.

The Wells Inn has been empty for more than a year but its current condition did not deter the couple from making the purchase. “We knew if needed a lot of work when we bought it,” Winslow explained.

The Winslows and their crew are committed to the task of revitalizing one of Sistersville’s oldest treasures.

A partial opening has been tentatively slated for August with a grand opening coming when the construction phase is complete. “We hope to have rooms available in August for the upcoming festivals but we are not in a great hurry,” he remarked. “We are not going to rush the restoration – we want to do things right.”

Community support has been great but the majority of the construction help has come from family, friends and long-time associates of Charles and Kim Winslow. Pictured is Winslow’s sister with Chris Hoke.

And the restoration of the once-grand hotel will be extensive. An unforgiving winter with no heat in the hotel caused pipes to burst in walls; the heating system is a nightmare; and the wallpaper throughout the property will need to be replaced prior to opening. Still, the new owners are up to the task ahead. “It’s going to be fun,” Winslow said.

The Blue and Gold dining room will be transformed into a tea room and a bakery. The formal dining area will be brightened up with restoration of the oak wainscoting in progress. The courtyard will be cleaned, renovated and used for outdoor dining and receptions. Next door, in the area previously used by Adrian Properties, Winslow plans to install a gift shop where he will sell items made locally.

“We will not be renting the apartments,” Winslow commented. Instead, one of the apartments which is separate from the hotel itself, will be converted into a honeymoon suite. The other will be remodeled and used as a private dining and meeting room, complete with an auxiliary kitchen.

The rooms themselves will take on a personality all their own with the help of local artists. Winslow says he plans to bring people from the community in to give the rooms some charm. There will be nothing standard about the new Wells Inn.

As for the pool, Winslow said it will be reopened. In jest, Winslow said, “If I don’t reopen the pool, my wife will kill me!”

Additionally, The Wooden Derrick Pub is being remodeled with the intent to reopen in the future.

Armed with the knowledge that local traffic will never sustain the hotel, Winslow plans to market his new purchase to outsiders, thus making it an asset to the surrounding community. “I want to make it easier for local businesses to retain jobs.”

His philosophy is simple: If local companies bring someone to town, they will have a place to stay locally as opposed to sending them to New Martinsville or Wheeling. “We don’t want people to have the perception that they are in the middle or no where,” he said.

So far, the community has embraced the Winslow’s restoration efforts. “Everyone has been nice. Dave Fox, the mayor, has been very helpful,” Winslow said. Others, including Chris Hoke, have volunteered their skills to aid in the renovation. Hoke was also instrumental in recruiting the couple.

Additional help comes from family members and long-time associates of the Winslows.

Those looking for employment at the historic hotel, should watch for signs to be posted at the Wells Inn and advertisements in the newspaper in August.