River view from Henderson, WV of the Sternwheelers on the Great Kanawha River in
the Spring of 1904 at Point Pleasant, WV
36 x 16 picture done by Thomas Stahl available framed $200.00, unframed $135.00
THE STORY BEHIND THIS PAINTING
AS TOLD BY CAPT. CHARLES H. STONE
This painting, made by Tom
Stahl, and finished in June, 2008, was inspired by a framed picture made by
Captain Jesse P. Hughes in 1904 when he was Captain on the steamboat packet, “Tacoma.”
He had tied off at the Kanawha Dock and
saw five Greenline packet boats tied up, likely for minor repairs.
Taking his 4 x 7 glass plate camera, he rowed across the
Kanawha River to the
WV Ferry Landing where he was able
to get this scene on the glass plates.
He was able to develop these pictures in a small dark room he had on his
boat, the “Tacoma”
and in time he was able to place five pictures together to complete this rare
scene. He made three pictures, his
he gave to Woody Rutter in the 1960’s who in 2005 gave to the Point Pleasant River Museum
where it now can be seen by many.
One of the other pictures came from the estate of Capt. Harry Kraft, a Greenline
pilot and may have been a pilot with Capt. Hughes at this time.
This photo was shown to Tom Stahl by one of his art students and he could
visualize a story to paint on canvas.
From his close association with the river museum,
Fowler, the executive director, was able to show him many
pictures taken in this area in the early 1900’s.
He worked five of these photos into his painting which looking from the
Henderson side of the Kanawha River you see the Kanawha Dock established in
Point Pleasant, WV in 1902 and lies about 700 yards above the mouth of the
Kanawha River where it empties into the Ohio River.
The dock takes all of the third block facing the
The two story brick building was built in the 1800’s by Mr. & Mrs. Sky,
they ran a hostel (a place that kept over night guests).
The dock used this building for offices pertaining to boat building.
Next to it was the sawmill (where logs were pulled up the river bank to
be sawed into boards). Closer down
on the river bank, Stahl has placed a boat under construction.
Stahl’s examination on boat assembly has helped him to show a realistic
view of a boat in its construction phase.
The next red, two story brick building was the Point Pleasant Machine
Works, established in 1886 by M. J. W. Heslop.
On up the river bank is the Point Pleasant Ice House, Coal and Transfer
Company, established in 1903 by Joe Varian.
From here ice and coal was supplied to the town and blocks of ice could
be lowered down the incline to the steamboats.
The steamboats tied up at
the Kanawha Dock starting with the packet “Greenwood,” built for Capt. Gordon Green at Parkersburg, WV,
in 1898. Capt. Green said this was
the boat that laid the golden egg for she made the money that let him build and
buy more boats. Ahead of her is the
towboat “J. B. Lewis,” she was owned by the Hardrick Coal Co.
Next is the packet boat “Cricket,” Capt. Green had this little boat built
WV in 1900 to run in low water.
She could carry up to 30 passengers and several tons of freight and run
in two feet of water. Next is the
packet “Tacoma,” bought by Greens in 1903.
Capt. Hughes ran her in the Cincinnati,
WV trade for several years.
She is tied along side of the side wheel packet “Greenland,” built by
Knox’s Boat Yard for Capt. Gordon Green in Marietta, OH in 1903, she
ran Cincinnati, OH
– Pittsburgh, PA.
The last boat to notice is
the packet boat, the “Neva,” in action on the Henderson side.
The “Neva” was built in 1898 at the Enterprise Marine Dock in
Point Pleasant, WV and
the Greens purchased her in 1903.
This dock was located about ¼ mile above the Kanawha Dock.
The “Neva” met a peculiar end when she
was tied up around Buffalo, WV in 1908.
After the “Neva” caught fire, something heavy fell on her whistle valve
and Capt. Francis Wright said it was very eerie hearing the whistle blowing
while watching the “Neva” burn.
Also included in the
painting is the Stone’s locally owned ferry business.
Captain Charles Henry Stone’s family came into possession of the ferry
business when his Great-Grandfather, James Stone and John Deem joined together
to take it over. Captain Stone’s
Grandfather took over the Kanawha Ferry in the 1870’s.
In 1914, Stone’s Father took over the business and continued to run the
ferry until the Shadle Bridge
was built in 1931. The Stone’s
yacht, “Will H. Stone,” and one of their ferry flats is showcased on the canvas.
Also making their appearance, is Stone’s Grandfather, James Henry Stone,
in bib overhauls on the yacht, and Stone’s Father, Captain Charlie Stone, who is
on the ferry flat. The wagon on the
ferry flat is none other than a wagon from the thriving Fry’s Store of
Also on the
side of the river is a local doctor by the name of Dr. McElfresh.
Someone snapped his picture in 1913 after one of his many trips into the
country to tend to the ailing.
Stahl put a dog in the buggy with the good doctor.
With his paint brush and
magnificent skill, Stahl has captured so much of Point Pleasant’s incredible river history.
Stahl has uniquely combined many significant chronicles to bring forth
one extraordinary image. In this
work of art, Thomas Stahl has amazingly captivated the spirit and character of
Point Pleasant’s river life in the early 1900’s.