The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

May 10, 2009

Shinnston’s Gillum House offers guests simple service



“You have to be willing to do things for your community to make it better,” she said, “or at least to keep it moving. Otherwise, you’re just taking up space.”

Kathleen and John took me through Shinnston, pointing out a park, a farm that Kathleen partners with for horse owners who stay at The Gillum House and need to rent a stable and also what she described as the “Cheers of restaurants,” Jimi’s Diner.

Kathleen said if guests haven’t booked a dinner package with her, she takes care of their reservations.

Kathleen said the MABB has guidelines, such as locks on doors, pillow protectors, secure rugs and fire extinguishers on each floor.

”Nobody is told how to decorate,” she said. “John and I live in two rooms, and you can’t have personal things in any of the other rooms.”

The Gillum House has several rooms all with their own decor, all of which honor former owners and residents of the home.

The Gillum Room has its own private bathroom and train decor as a nod to Troy Gillum’s tenure as a B&O; Railroad station agent. The Harris Room is feather-free for guests with allergies, contains a small bookshelf and features the “down-home” decor the Harris family was known for when it bought the home from the Gillum family. Guests of the Harris Room must share a bathroom with guests of Rosi’s Room, so hanging in each closet are soft robes to make late-night trips to the bathroom more comfortable.

Rosi’s Room is deliberately without television or telephone. A library on the first floor and another bookshelf in an upstairs hallway all feature books Kathleen wants guests to start and then take home to finish.

Little Touches

All the rooms have fresh flowers and a basket of fruit and snacks — just the start of Kathleen’s little touches.

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