Civil War initiative clarifies Stonewall role at historic tavern

Civil War initiative clarifies Stonewall role at historic tavern
Installing the new signboard from left to right are David Sibray, Becky Sullivan, Dr. Scott Keffer, and Randy Burdette.

Historians working with a landmark tavern near America's newest national park are clarifying the role of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson at the site, which served as a headquarters for northern and southern armies during the Civil War.


To speak more clearly to younger audiences, Drew A. Gruber, executive director of Civil War Trails Inc., says his organization has reformatted information presented at the historic Tyree Tavern near the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

The marker has been visually and textually improved coincident with the establishment of the new national park, Gruber said.

"The new sign helps better contextualize the importance of the tavern for travelers in the 19th century— including one of its most famous visitors, Thomas Jackson," he said.

"The biggest change to the panel was how we rearranged the context. As our dynamic audience grows younger, we are constantly updating our style guide to ensure the voice of our signs is active, more exciting and less like a recitation of facts of figures."

Richmond, Va.,-based Civil War Trails maintains more than 1,350 such informational panels across six states, but Gruber said the tavern, built before 1830, is singularly remarkable.


"Tyree's Tavern is a unique site across the breadth of the Civil War Trails program," he said. "With more than 1,350 sites, each one is a bit different, but architecturally this structure always sticks out in my mind."

On the National Register of Historic Places, the landmark is located fewer than three miles from the national park, which was established by Congress in December 2020.

Grave of Julia Jackson, Ansted, WV, Fayette County, New River Gorge Region
Grave of Julia Jackson near Tyree's Tavern.

According to David Sibray, a historian and an agent for Foxfire Realty, the landmark is one of the oldest taverns on the edge of what had once been the western wilderness.

"It was built not long after the Shawnee had withdrawn across the Ohio River, and it swiftly became one of the best-known stagecoach inns along the old westward road," he said.

Sibray, who specializes in the sale of exceptional West Virginia properties, worked with the trails organization to install the marker.

Last month Sibray installed the new panel met with fellow real estate agent Randy Burdette, home-owner Dr. Scott Keffer, and Becky Sullivan, executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The tavern housed heads of state and headquartered Union and Confederate armies. Legendary Confederate States commander Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson lodged there when visiting his mother's grave, which stands on a knoll overlooking the town.

On the National Register of Historic Places, the tavern property was for sale by Foxfire Realty as of the publication of this story.

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