Grantsville's Rainbow Hotel, a dilapidated safety hazard, was finally razed in 2023

By Bob Weaver 2013

Grantsville's Rainbow Hotel was opened in 1921 with much fanfare.

Now, it has faded into an eyesore and fire-trap, its spirits roused by winds sweeping through its windows blowing dusty debris over the neighborhood.

In recent years the Town of Grantsville has made efforts to raze the structure, saying because of legal entanglements and liens against the owners, they cannot move on its demolition.

In 1921 the Calhoun Chronicle reported, "It is a fine building and is beautifully finished inside and out. The work reflects much credit on the builders and is something of which the town is justly proud." The paper lauded builders W.H. Stump and J.B. Huffman.

While the town had a number of hotels since the late 1800s, most where inside family dwellings.

It was on Rainbow's small porch (above) that Calhoun politician Lorentz Carr Hamilton hatched a deal with Robert Kennedy to help presidential candidate John F. Kennedy win Calhoun in 1960 (Read rest of story using link below)

In 1898 a business venture was visioned to build a large hotel and resort along the Little Kanawha River near Grantsville called Shadewood Springs.

The project hinged on the construction of the Little Kanawha Railroad.

Unfortunately, both those endeavors fell to the wayside, and Grantsville got its austere Rainbow Hotel.

The longtime owner and operator Bruce Lowe welcomed guests and customers to the hotel and restaurant for a couple generations and during World War II.

Perhaps the most historic event the hotel could tell was a meeting between Calhoun politico Lorentz Carr Hamilton and Robert Kennedy in 1960, they meeting on the porch to plan how John F. Kennedy could carry Calhoun during the presidential election.

It was vote buying days, a political "necessity" of the time for all parties, thankfully faded in WV, except a few southern counties.

Kennedy asked Hamilton how much cash, with Hamilton saying he didn't know.

Kennedy went to his car trunk and gave Hamilton $10,000.

It's a place of memories.

More about the old hotel and political dealings:

See THE RAINBOW'S BRIGHTER DAYS - Sodas, Jukebox And "Modern" Rooms, Robert Kennedy Sat On Front Porch