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Conrad Motel: 50 years of "peaceful slumber"

For younger generations in Gilmer County, one of the few things that hasn't changed in Glenville sits quietly behind the main thoroughfare, its rows of windows like eyes trained on the downtown area: the Motel Conrad.

Built in 1965, with a wing added in 1971, the Motel Conrad has been a haven for weary travelers, Folk Festival revelers and other visitors to Gilmer County for nearly 50 years.

The former owner of the motel, the late Jack Conrad, was a fixture of Glenville whose duty to civic endeavors and devotion to Glenville State College was recognized by anyone who dealt with Conrad.

The most well-known figure ever to deal with Jack Conrad was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who gave the young Conrad a one-dollar tip in the 1930s, when Conrad's parents owned a successful restaurant/hotel business in Glenville.

Mrs. Roosevelt also left him with a lifetime impression as Òone of the most graciousÓ people he had ever met.
Sadly, Jack Conrad passed away right before the WV Folk Festival was set to commence in June 2012.

These days, the motel is owned by Glenville State College and is run under the auspices of the GSC Housing Corporation. Its 42 rooms still invite the sleep of area transients. According to Laura Bell, who serves as the motel's manager, the busiest seasons for the motel fall during deer season in the autumn and during the WV Folk Festival.

In addition to local fur trappers and gun show attendees, the motel welcomes anyone working on local construction projects, such as the WACO Center. This facility is under construction on Mineral Road and will house a sports complex and a rural healthcare medical center.

"We do take walk-in business, along with long-term stays and monthly stays," says Bell, who started working at the motel in Aug. 2011 and was promoted to Manager in Oct. 2012.

During the year, the motel is contracted to hold rooms for the WV Department of Corrections, WV Juvenile Services and the Regional Jail Authority. Other regular guests include visitors to the training facility for the Department of Military Affairs (DMAPS). This facility for the WV Corrections Academy is located at 103 Academy Drive in Glenville, which many Gilmer County natives know as "the old Kinney Shoe Factory," though that business moved from Glenville in the 1980s.

While the motel is always in business for a night's rest, it also has served as a "safe haven" for victims of domestic violence who need a place to stay. Additionally, Bell says that she works in conjunction with the First Baptist Church in Glenville to assist people in need of temporary housing, due to house fires, eviction and other disturbances in domestic arrangements for people who have nowhere else to go.

Not content to stagnate, the motel is still seeing renovation and updating in its rooms, usually under the direction of GSC, another fixture in the community with its eyes trained from the top of the hill looking over the town.

A stay at the Motel Conrad is not just a clean, cozy experience for a tired body it is also a chance to wallow in the history of Gilmer County.