Capitol Plaza Theatre
HAUNTED PLACE: Capitol Plaza Theatre
(WVSU Capitol Center)
123 Summers Street
This Historical Landmark,
Capitol Plaza Theatre is located in downtown Charleston, in the older
section of town. Directions to the Capitol Center From I-77 & I-79 South:
- Exit at the Civic Center Exit (58C). This puts you on Penn. Avenue Turn
left onto Lee Street. Turn right on Summers Street. Theater is just beyond
the intersection of Summer and Quarrier Streets.
HISTORY & DESCRIPTION
Like many theatres of the time, there
is an entrance area, a stage, a screen for films when needed, an orchestra
pit, a large auditorium for seats, a back stage area and a balcony area.
This lovely turn of the century grand
old Theatre was built between 1909 - 1914, where plays and cultural events
entertained the people of Charleston, West Virginia. It continued to offer
the best in the cultural arts (perhaps films as well?) through the depression,
through WW2, all the way through the '50s, '60s '70s. This impressive
theatre was honored to be placed on the National Register of Historic
It was closed for a while because
of needed repair and restoration. This theater was sold to the state to
be used by the West Virginia State University's drama, film, music programs
for their students and for the cultural arts needs of the community at
large. The Capitol Plaza Theatre was restored to its former beauty, and
was renamed The Capitol Center. Besides student productions, such artists
as Tori Amos, R.E.M. and other well-known musicians perform here. Various
film and music festivals hold their annual events at this theatre as well.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
While theatres have the habit of attracting
ghostly admirers of the cultural arts, some entities tragically die in
the theatre or nearby in the immediate neighborhood, or some entities
are hangers-on from the building or place that was torn down to make way
for the theatre in question to be built.
The family of ghosts who make the
Capitol Plaza Theatre (The Capitol Center) their home originated from
the grand 1798 mansion that was torn down to make the land available to
build this theatre. A wealthy Welch businessman built the mansion which
would be the family home for 110 years!
His son, John Welch raised his own
family in this mansion during the 1830 - 1860 time period. His 8 year
old daughter, the youngest child in the family, died of pneumonia in 1840.
Not much is known what happened to the Welch family during the Civil War,
but they managed to keep the mansion until for some reason they sold it
to developers around 1908, who tore it down to make room for the theatre.
John Welch and his youngest daughter,
and perhaps some of the other Welch family members have made the Capitol-Plaza
Theatre their home. None of the material I've read say when the Welch
clan made their appearance known.
1) John Welch is the most active
entity felt and seen at the theatre.
a) John Welch doesn't hold a
grudge and is protective of the theatre and looks after the performers
as well. As one enters the theatre itself, there is sometimes a chilling
cold spot, which could be John Welch checking out the patrons.
b) For chuckles, John Welch likes
to play tricks on the living, sometimes being sneaky and covert to
mess with people's view of reality. He is a jokester but not mean
2) Molly Welch - 8 year old, youngest
of the Welch children.
a) She is described as being shy,
but she loves the theatre. When an actor or actress is on stage, the
apparition of Molly can be seen sitting in the front row of the balcony.