Last Saturday, two anglers from Braxton County (who wish
to remain anonymous because they were supposed to be at a corporate
seminar) were on a float trip from Glenville to Creston when they made a
Across the river from the mouth of Steer Creek, they
dropped anchor to hold position so they could spend a few hours fishing
for some of the big muskie that hang around the area.
After four hours of feeding gar and turtles, and not
seeing any muskie, they decided it was time to move on down the river
and find a place to camp. When they tried to lift their anchor from the
bottom, they found it was stuck. Since the river was relatively clear,
and not too deep, one of them dove over the side to retrieve the
As he followed the rope to the bottom, he found the
anchor was stuck in a wooden structure of some kind.
He returned to the boat and had his fishing buddy turn
on the sonar fish-finder to see if the shape and size of the anchor
grabber could be determined. The object was 16 feet wide and 32 feet
long. They finally retrieved the anchor, along with some of the boards
it had been stuck in.
The boards had at one time been painted white. They
could just make out the word “Iola” and beneath that in smaller
lettering was “Grantsville, W.Va.” The anglers made their camp that
evening at the industrial park, just above Grantsville, and hiked into
town with the intention of eating at one of
the restaurants, and seeing if anyone knew the story behind
While walking down Main Street, they happened to pass by
the newly remodeled Family History Center during a meeting of Calhoun
They told their story to the society president, who was
not only interested in the story, but also made arrangements with the
two men to visit the site
for confirmation the next morning.
While it will take some time to secure funding for the
project, the president said that the site is a unique historical find:
“The Iola was tied up to a large sycamore tree just below Stumptown
during a flood in the spring of 1924.
the night, the boat broke loose from its moorings and was never seen
again. Until now, the Iola was nothing more than a footnote in history.
We hope to bring her back to life for all to see and enjoy.”
Calhoun Historical Society is seeking federal funding to
retrieve the boat piece by piece, along with any remaining contents, and
restore it as best as they can for use as an exhibit showcasing how
important Grantsville was to boat traffic and gasoline boat
manufacturing in the earliest decades of the 20th century.
--------------------- April Fools