VANCEBURG -- A new entertainment center for Lewis County has opened along Second Street.
The Carter House, a once bustling hotel, burned in the early 1900s, leaving the building damaged. For years, it sat without use until Cary and Shirley Cagle stepped up and offered to purchase the building from the city three years ago.
In 2015, the Cagles had just returned to Lewis County from Fort Worth, Texas, where they had lived in the 1970s. They were looking for a way to help revitalize the community they loved and saw an opportunity with the Carter House.
At the time, the Carter House had been deeded to the Center for Appalachian Philanthropy, but as it was never used, the ownership of the building reverted to the city and was then sold to the Cagles.
"We wanted a place for people to be able to go and find something to do," Shirley Cagle said. "We want to have something for everyone in the community."
Shirley Cagle said once the building was purchased, they immediately began renovating it. Over the years, they have replaced all of the electric, plumbing, doors, windows and air conditioning/heating in the building.
The renovations were completed in late 2017 and the doors opened.
"We've had several events held here already," she said. "We've had weddings, the Friends of the NRA, the Chamber of Commerce meetings, the bank holds their monthly meetings here and we have a youth group that will start meeting here next Wednesday."
According to Shirley Cagle, there are numerous events still planned, including live music on the weekends, more weddings, other meetings and the Lewis County High School prom.
The Lewis County Theater Guild is also working on restarting and plan to hold plays and dinners inside the building.
"We have so much going on," she said. "The prom-this will be the first time they've held it outside the school. They wanted a place to hold it, but couldn't find a venue, so they approached us and asked about using it. We're also hoping to eventually hold steak and chicken dinners at the Carter House on Fridays."
Shirley Cagle said she and her husband are excited to see what happens with the Carter House.
"We're very excited," she said. "We want this to be a place for everyone to be able to come and enjoy themselves. We plan to host events so that we have something for everyone."
Shirley and Cary Cagle also run the Second Street Diner, just a few feet from the Carter House.
"We want to see the town revitalized," she said. "We have the diner now, there's a new bakery in town and the Carter House is open. We're hoping things will continue to grow."
Lewis County Judge-Executive Todd Ruckel said he is happy to have the Carter House once again open.
"It's good for our area and for our community," he said. "It gives us a place we can be proud of. The Cagles did a great job not only with the diner but now the Carter House. We now have a place where we can hold bigger events and I think it's wonderful."
Vanceburg Mayor Matt Ginn said he was also excited to have the Carter House providing a place for entertainment.
"I think it's great," he said. "The city made a decision to let the building go back into the public sector in hopes of it becoming a productive part of the community again. One more building that used to be empty is once again full and providing services to the community. We couldn't ask for more."