By Ruth A. Ringelstetter
In the spring of 2017, Joann and I were on our way to photograph in East Liverpool, Ohio, but first I had a little detour for us into Chester, West Virginia, just across the Ohio River.
You have to get off the new Highway 30 onto Old Highway 30 (The Lincoln Highway) to see the teapot. It started as a big barrel advertising Hire’s Root Beer in Pennsylvania. In 1938, William “Babe” Devon purchased the big barrel and had it shipped to Chester. It was covered in tin to form a teapot shape, along with adding a spout, a handle, and a large glass ball to make the knob of the “lid.”
The Teapot stood in front of Devon's pottery outlet store. Local teenagers were hired to run a concession and souvenir stand which was set up inside the Teapot.
During World War II, the teapot was closed for two years. It reopened in 1947 with new owners and food was sold again until the late 1960’s.
For a time, the teapot was painted blue and white and sold other items including lawn and garden items, china, and novelty items. When the business closed, the teapot sat abandoned until 1984.
When C&P Telephone bought the land it sat on, it was in danger of being scrapped. Geneva Hill, a Chester native rallied the citizens to save it.
For years, the teapot was moved around town as money was raised for restoration and problems were discovered and resolved.
Finally, in 1990, the teapot was moved to a location at the intersection of Old Highway 30 and State Highway 2, and a white fence was built around it. When we visited, even the little creamer had been restored.
If you pay attention when you’re traveling, you’ll be surprised by some of the interesting, or kitschy things you might be able to take a slight detour to see.
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