Historic Entler Hotel
Writing Instruments Crafted Of Wood Reclaimed From A Shepherdstown Landmark
(coming in 2017)
About The Historic Entler Hotel
Sitting majestically at the corner of German and Princess Streets in the heart of the Shepherdstown Historic District, the Entler Hotel, also known as Rumsey hall, says “Shepherdstown” as much as any other building. The present day building is a composite of six separate phases of construction, which began with the construction of the home of Christian Cookus, in 1786. First used as a hotel in the 1790’s by Daniel Bedinger, the building was one of two Shepherdstown Hotels owned by the Entler Family. It has also housed, at various times in its history, a store and a tavern, a Civil War hospital, a dormitory for Shepherd College, and apartments. Shepherdstown purchased the building in 1978, saving it from demolition, and commenced restoration in 1982. The building now houses the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, and is also used for office space and public gatherings.
How The Entler Series Came About
Several years ago, before I discovered my passion for woodturning, I dabbled in light carpentry work in and around Shepherdstown. One project about which I was truly excited was the rebuilding of the Entler's Princess Street entrance landing. Unprotected from the elements (including the constant seasonal drip from an unfortunately placed air conditioner above), the wood of the steps and railings was badly damaged and the entrance was unsafe, making total replacement necessary. While mostly unremarkable, there was one aspect of the job that intrigued me. The door sill, also damaged and requiring replacement, was very different from anything I had seen before. In wrestling it out of place I discovered that it was a (super hard) slab of white oak that had enough coats of paint (including an "aqua" blue-green!) on it to tell me it was a LOT older than the railings and steps. More curious to me, however, was the fact that there was not a single fastener to be found in it. Rather, betwixt its under side and the structural member it sat on was an unfamiliar type of what looked to be yellowed glue. That, and the compression on either end from the door casing seems to have been what held the sill in place, for as far I could tell, for many, many years. Prying it loose was like what I imagine extracting a giant tooth from an unwilling mouth would be like. Anyway, I'm no restoration expert (or even a very good carpenter, for that matter), and I hadn't yet begun my current historical provenance wood turning enterprise, but I thought that the white oak doorsill wood was pretty cool (as did my late father, Dick Super, who had done a bunch of volunteer structural consulting at the Entler), and so I kept a few pieces of it. Now I'm glad I did.
Somewhere or other I've got pictures of the work I did that show the doorsill in place and removed, and I'm going to try to dig them up. In the meantime, pictured is one of the small chunks that I processed into pen blanks.