The Glenville State College Housing Corporation is the new owner of the Conrad Motel in Glenville. The sale of the local landmark closes the book on over eight decades of ownership by the Conrad family. Jack Conrad and his niece Suzie Kidd Shipe signed the papers completing the transaction on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008. “Today signals the start of the next phase of the Conrad Motel. We are very happy that the legacy of the Conrad Motel will continue with Glenville State College as the new owner,” said Jack Conrad.
The College will utilize the motel to support its alliance with the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety in the training of law enforcement officers. “The Conrad is a Glenville institution. It will continue to operate as it has in the past as a public motel. We will use the Conrad to house cadets during their training here at Glenville State. This is a big step that will help us expand this training program,” said Glenville State President Peter Barr.
In 1926 Hallie and Leland Conrad opened a restaurant in Glenville. It was the start of a family business that would grow to become the forty-two room Conrad Motel. Starting in 1929, the Conrads had nine rooms that they would rent, mainly to students, for $5 a week. In 1972 the second wing of the current structure was completed bringing the number of rooms to forty-two. At this time only thirty-seven of the rooms are rented out. The others are used for staff apartments and storage. When the devastating flood of 1985 hit Glenville, the water was over forty inches deep on the first floor of the Conrad. It would cost over $102,000 to repair the damages; a task accomplished without the benefit of flood insurance.
The Conrad has accommodated many important people. In 1937, Eleanor Roosevelt visited. “She was the one of the most gracious and friendly people I have ever met. I remember that she gave me a dollar for carrying her bags,” said Jack Conrad. Famed broadcaster and writer Lowell Thomas was once a guest at the Conrad. Legendary Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp stayed at the Conrad while he was in Glenville trying to recruit Jack Conrad to play ball for Kentucky. Conrad declined the offer and stayed at home to play basketball at GSC for Coach Nate Rohrbough.
Over the years, the Conrad has served a vital role in the local economy. The families, friends, and alumni of Glenville State College have depended on the Conrad for many occasions including commencement and homecoming. The oil and gas industry frequented the motel during the boom in the 1960s and 70s. Getting a room at the Conrad for the West Virginia Folk Festival each June is nearly impossible. There has been a waiting list for years. A gentlemen’s agreement will allow the continued use of the motel by the public for the Folk Festival.