The History of The Gaines Estate
Two Civil War battles were fought in Fayetteville, WV. The battles took place in September of 1862 and May of 1863. Theophilus Gaines, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and a major in the Union Army, was appointed the Judge Advocate for Southern West Virginia, the equivalent of Military Governor. He moved to Fayetteville and purchased 300 acres and afterwards set up a private law practice. Theophilus and his wife Ariadne Gaines built a smaller house on the site where the current house is located and the barn below the house shortly after the war. The Gaines Family lived on the property for the next 120 years and became one of the most prominent families in Southern West Virginia. Theophilus Gaines’ grandson, L. Ebersole Gaines, tore down the original house and built the current Neo-Colonial style house in 1920. Ebersole Gaines was a graduate of Princeton, Navy veteran during the 1st World War, an attorney, three term mayor of Fayetteville and the President of the New River Coal Company. Ebersole and his wife Betty Chilton Gaines had five children: Martha Gaines Werhle (WV House of Delegates), L. Ebersole Gaines Jr (U.S. Consul to Bermuda), Ludwell Graham Gaines, George Chilton Gaines, and Stanley Gaines. Ebersole Gaines passed away in 1954. His wife, Betty, passed away in 1986. Their son Stanley, a resident of Florida, inherited the property and hired a full-time caretaker who lived on the property to maintain and care for the Gaines Estate.
Tragically, a fire nearly destroyed the house in 2008. A picture in the bar room shows the house when it was on fire. Shortly after the fire the Gaines Family decided to sell the property. Bill and Sally Wells and Richard and Melissa Stephens formed Cascade Properties LLC for the purpose of buying the Gaines Estate property and restoring the house to its former beauty. The purchase was completed in June of 2012 and included 192 of the original 300 acres purchased by Theophilus Gaines. The restoration of the Gaines Estate Mansion took place from 2012 until May of 2020. The restoration brought the house back to its original design and condition. The National Park Service and WV State Historic Protection Office reviewed and approved the restoration plans. Today the house is a contributing structure to the Fayetteville Downtown Historic District.
The newly built adjoining reception hall called the Pavilion was completed in May of 2020 in time for the opening of the property as a wedding and event venue in June of 2020. The milestone of 100 weddings will be reached in early 2024. The Gaines Estate restaurant opened in February of 2024 to provide upscale casual and fine dining cuisine for Southern West Virginia. The Gaines Estate supports the local community by hosting fund raisers for non-profit organizations like the New River Gorge Humane Society’s Fur Ball and the Friends of the New River Gorge Park and Preserve’s Great Gorge Gear and Yard Sale. The Canyon Rim Rotary Club of Fayette County holds their weekly meetings at the Gaines Estate.