WELLSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A historic mansion in West Virginia with 100 rooms and a dodgy past, is something that you just have to see.
Built by the Vandergrift family in 1901 as a summer home for their playboy son, the home has a rich history but with a questionable past. The home housed dog and cock fighting rings, gambling, and rooms specifically for drugs. Promotional literature on the mansion from the early 2000s says that it was built for one reason: “to feed Vandergrift’s love for gambling, womanizing, drinking and hunting.”
Over time, it changed hands and was owned by silent film producers — the Brinkers — and then the Catholic Knights of St. George who turned the building into a care home and added a large addition to the original mansion in 1974.
Despite its questionable past, listing agent Jayla Robinson told Nexstar’s WBOY that none of that remains in the house. “I always get asked if it’s haunted or if I think it’s haunted, but I always have, like, a sense of peace there … I don’t feel like a crazy haunted sense. I always feel like a sense of peace. You can tell that there was a lot of love there.”
Of the 100 total rooms, there are 61 bedrooms – 39 original bedrooms, plus 22 additional bedrooms in the care home addition. Other rooms include a billiards room, a bar room, the “Presidents Room,” and other rooms featuring various cultural relics.
“A lot of the rooms in the original mansion just take on a theme, and they designed it based on a theme, and I think that’s really cool… There are a lot of things that aren’t acceptable now, but that’s what that room was,” Robinson said in reference to some of the room names.
Literature suggests that there might even be a jail hidden somewhere in the house, but Robinson said she hasn’t found it… yet.
Also included in the property is an 11,000-square-foot basement which is not included in the gross square footage, a two-story brick addition, a “retreat house” which is a 3,570-square-foot stucco building built in 1938, a Maintenance Supervisor Dwelling that is 2,567 square feet and was built in 1945, a shop building, a spring house, several barns, and a 4,577 square foot lodge that was built in 1975 and has a bathhouse and an unusable swimming pool. In total, the indoor space is 80,443 square feet for the mission, care home, and 10 additional structures.
Some of the furniture that’s in the home is original and is included in the listing price. As of a week ago, the home was listed at $3.8 million, but it was reduced to $3.2 million on Thursday, Oct. 13.
Despite its incredible history and design, the property has been for sale for more than a year. “My phone never stops ringing, there’s always interest,” said Robinson. “I just think it, you know, it’s a lot. It’s going to take a vision.”
In the past, it has been used as a wedding venue, an inn and, of course, a private home and care home, but Robinson said that she hasn’t heard of a possible use for the home that didn’t make sense. “There is just not an idea that somebody has mentioned to me that I didn’t think would fit.”
With 494 acres and a combination of flat land, hills and woods, Robinson said the property could be used for events like concerts, but it also has high-elevation views in some areas. It also has two courtyards.
The Paull Associates listing of the property suggests a wedding venue, hunting lodge, hotel, and bed & breakfast as possible uses, but as large as the property is, even agricultural uses are possible.
The property is right along the Ohio River and is less than an hour from the Pittsburgh International Airport, which Robinson said makes it an ideal location for development as a getaway. The utilities in the home have been kept on for the past year during its vacancy.
The grounds to 1500 Brinker Road are closed to the public, but anyone wanting to tour the property can reach out to Paull Associates or Jayla Robinson personally.
“I think the real question here isn’t why, it’s why not. Why not? Why not would anyone buy that property?… If you have the funds and the vision, you’re going to make money,” said Robinson.
A thorough tour of the home and the grounds usually takes a minimum of three hours.