March 2, 1927: West Virginia’s Pasteboard Capitol Burns to the Ground

West Virginia's Victorian-era capitol

On March 2, 1927, West Virginia’s so-called pasteboard capitol burned to the ground. It was the second time in six years that a West Virginia capitol had been destroyed by fire.

In 1921, a devastating fire demolished the state’s magnificent Victorian capitol, which stood on Capitol Street in downtown Charleston. Needing to house state employees, the pasteboard capitol was thrown together hastily in only 42 days. The wood-frame building, located across the street from the old Victorian capitol, was a stopgap solution until the state’s current capitol could be completed on Charleston’s East End. Fortunately, the pasteboard capitol fire led to no serious injuries or fatalities, and most important records had already been removed to the finished portion of the new capitol or to the Capitol Annex building.

After the fire, Charleston businessmen acquired the lot and erected the Daniel Boone Hotel. The luxurious hotel was a home-away-from-home for many legislators over the years. A running joke arose that more official state business was accomplished in the bar of the Daniel Boone than had ever been conducted in the temporary capitol on that site.