Pocahontas Commissioners Approve Historical Marker for Former Hospital Site

In the early morning hours of Saturday, December 20, 1930, Nurse Anna Mae Robb, who lived on the third floor of the old Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and two of her fellow nurses smelled smoke and realized that the hospital was on fire. They helped evacuate the old building of both patients and the 14 inmates of the County Infirmary on the first floor, undoubtedly saving lives. The building was completely destroyed by the fire, but no lives were lost. Nurse Robb lost all of her belongings in the fire, and finally found a position at Mount Hope where she worked for the rest of her nursing career.

At the November 3rd, 2015 County Commission meeting, BJ Gudmundsson of Preserving Pocahontas, appeared before the Commissioners representing Hoberta Sommerville of Front Royal Virginia, to request permission to place a historical-memorial marker on the site where the hospital burned down in 1930. Sommerville is the daughter of Nurse Anna Mae Robb who saved lives that tragic night. The site is the County owned lot where the Gazebo now stands in Marlinton.  The marker would give a history of the hospital that once stood there and also be a memorial to Anna Mae Robb.  The marker would be similar to the civil War Markers that can be found along the County’s roads.

In addition to providing the marker, Sommerville wants to help the youth of the County by establishing a nursing scholarship at Pocahontas County High School in memory of her mother, Nurse Robb.  The Commissioners voted to allow the placement of the marker on the site.

In other actions, the Commissioners approved transferring Bridgett Shaw from the position of Part-Time to Full-Time 911 Dispatcher with full benefits.

They Designated the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation to be the lead economic development organization for the County.

They approved a resolution of support for the County Records Management and Preservation Board grant application.

They appointed Greg Taylor to fill the unexpired term of Shawn Dunbrack on the County Emergency Services Board.

They considered and granted requests for contributions from the following County Non-Profit organizations.

  • American Red Cross- Disaster Relief – in the amount of $3,000.00
  • Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition – in the amount of $5,000.00
  • Camp Oak Marr – a Lobelia area Camp for Special Needs kids and their families – in the amount of $2,500.00
  • The Pocahontas County Reading Council – in the amount of $4,000.00The Commissioners delayed Action on a request for contribution by the Marlinton Depot until a future meeting because the requestors did not have their proposal ready yet.

Each Commissioner reported on the activities of the County Boards they work with. Here are some of the highlights:

Commissioner Jamie Walker:

  • Reported that the Health Department is considering expanding the ban on smoking in and within 25 feet of businesses to include Electronic Cigarettes.
  • Reported that Farmland Preservation has recently received 9 new applications. They are also considering a County Farmland Protection program which would only grant half as much money as the Federal Farmland Protection but would settle much sooner and simpler – within 30 days.
  • The Convention and Visitors Center is doing well financially thanks to banner Hotel/Motel Tax revenues.

Commissioner David McLaughlin:

  • Bill Cole, President of the WV Senate, met with the Snowshoe Mountain Resort meeting. Cole advised the State’s Rainy Day Fund is doing well for now but could be used up in the future.

Commission President Bill Beard:

  • Reported that the Senior Citizens met and reported that a number of Seniors have been writing letters to the Governor complaining that because of cuts in State funding, the Senior Citizen Centers will have to close. Beard reported that this is not true but that budgets for the Centers have had to tighten. This has, however gotten the Governor’s attention and he is monitoring the situation.
  • Reported that at the Region 4 Planning and Development meeting, he pointed out that the State summary of financial outlook for the State of West Virginia is not complete as it did not take into account the State’s Agro businesses. At the meeting an ATV Trail is being considered centered on Richwood but involving Pocahontas and Greenbrier Counties – this could be an economic boom for the County if it happens.

The meeting ended with payment of invoices.


Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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