Country Store Museum located at the foot of Courthouse Hill is a store that was built in 1890 and became headquarters for the West Virginia State Folk Festival in 1973. The store/museum is the soul of the festival.
The National Register of Historic Places listed it for the building and also for its early merchandising, first as Ruddell General Store selling farm equipment, dry goods and household items. When Mr. Ruddell moved to Parkersburg, WV, he leased it – the name became Arnold and Moss, with descendents of those men still living in Gilmer County.
Some time in the 1920s the well-known Hub Department Store moved from Main Street into the building, which eventually specialized in high quality men’s clothing, run by Hyman Bass, then his son Charles, and finally Hyman’s daughter Cecelia Bass Nachman and her husband, Max.
In 1971, Charles Ruddell and Mildred Ruddell Arbuckle sold the store to the Folk Festival. Before that time The Country Store occupied a building on Bank Street, and it was the premier source of funds for the Folk Festival. Gradually museum display items were added. When several craft stores opened in Glenville it was decided to no longer be an outlet with consignment sales. There are cassettes and CD’s of old-time musicians, Folk Festival T-shirts, candy, Festival calendars, suitable wooden toys and other items in the sales area. The remainder holds not-for-sale displays of antique farm tools, toys, clothes, musical instruments, and household items.
Restoration and repair has been an ongoing process. The Country Store’s operation is headed by Dave and Judy Brown. They are aided by many hard working volunteers. About 1995, Don Kelble, Bruce Hathaway, Jim Bailey, and others started the replacement of sills and foundations. The restoration efforts are slowly being realized.
The Country Store Museum continues as a center for Folk Festival activities and archives. The store is opened for visitors when the town fills up for any reason and when requested for class tours. The lack of central heating keeps it closed in the dead of winter.