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Saturday, March 26, 2016

One of the oldest furniture stores in America

Vail Furniture is still owned by the family that started the business in Ripley in October 1844.

Isaiah Vail, the great-great-grandfather of the owner, was a carpenter who made caskets and furniture.

The early business evolved into a funeral home and furniture store, not an uncommon combination in small towns where a woodworker needed more than one way to keep busy.

Vail Furniture is still in its original location, in a 12,000-square-foot, two-floor store.

When Vail started . . .
James K. Polk was running for president
West Virginia was still Virginia.
Samuel B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, sent the first telegraph message over the first telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore. His words were, "What God hath wrought."

On our last visit to the store, they let us go for a ride on their elevator.

Customers usually walk up the steps to the second floor.

This is looking into the elevator
Here I am with my cousins ready to go up. 
I asked him if they used to move furniture on this elevator. He looked at me and said, "Coffins."
 The ropes are  pulled by strong arms.
 The gears turn and raise the elevator
 close up of gears

 swinging doors that open up to the elevator

In addition to furniture, they have  framed pictures for sale.
I love this unique picture of the US map!

And, I think this clock is very unique.

Hope you enjoyed your visit to one of the oldest furniture stores in America - if not the oldest.


  1. Linked this onto Facebook. Hope you don't mind. I can pull it if you do.

    1. That's okay. It shows up on my facebook page,too.

  2. Oh Janet, this was a fascinating post. Thanks for sharing. have a nice Easter.

    1. Hi, Linda. I wish you a happy Easter, too.

  3. Thanks for the virtual trip to the furniture store. It looks like a fascinating place!

  4. Sorry I didn't see this one sooner, Janet. How wonderful that this family store is still in business. I really love this sort of thing. Thanks for taking us on the tour, too.

    1. Hi Clara, you're welcome. I love old buildings and the stories behind them.

  5. Liked your furniture store tour. Old buildings always intrigue me -- barbara

  6. They intrigue me, too, Barbara!

  7. Janet -- this is a reply to my recent post on sapwells found on trees by sapsuckers. According to Cornell university, "Sapsuckers tend to choose sick or wounded trees for drilling their many wells, and they choose tree species with high sugar concentrations in their sap, such as paper birch, yellow birch, sugar maple, red maple, and hickory." Perhaps your tree was sick and that is why the sapsuckers were attracted to it. Perhaps their over-drilling is nature's way of weeding out those trees that are in trouble. Thanks for visiting my blog -- Always enjoy reading your posts.


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