NoD: Vanceburg Visitor's Center located in historic home, hotel

Vanceburg Streetscape
George Morgan Thomas Home / Vanceburg Visitors Center - Vanceburg, Ky.
This home built in 1883 has had many lives, but its ornate rail, turreted corner and peaked roof speak to its Victorian-era origin. Built originally as the home of George Morgan Thomas, the house would later be utilized as a hotel before its present service as the Vanceburg Visitor's Center.
George Morgan Thomas
A Lewis County native, George Morgan Thomas was born in 1828. He was educated in the "common school" before becoming the local school's commissioner at age 28. GMT began the practice of law in 1851 after studying law - an era when law school was not a prerequisite to esquiredom. After becoming the prosecuting attorney in Lewis County, GMT went on a roll of political offices utilizing his Masonic and Republican connections: state house, county judge, circuit judge. In the election of 1880, GMT sought a seat in Congress and though he received more votes in Kentucky's Ninth Congressional District then did presidential candidate James A. Garfield, GMT lost the race. Garfield, however, appointed GMT as the United States District Attorney for Kentucky - an office he held until the end of the Chester Arthur administration. In 1886, GMT claimed his seat in Congress which he held for only one term in favor of an appointment President McKinley as Internal Revenue solicitor. All sources here confuse me as it appears GMT served simultaneously for two years in both the legislative and executive branches of government. GMT retired in 1901 and passed in 1914. 

Though rail traffic had been found since the house was only five years old, the installation of a second rail in 1913 required the removal of homes across the street. Fortunately, this house was saved though the view from the front porch would never be the same. Nearly ten years later, GMT's heirs sold the family home in 1925 to Maurice Burriss who renovated the home to repurpose it as the Commercial Hotel - a useful occupation given the location of the rail depot now facing the home-turned-hotel.

Burriss died in 1963 and, with him, the hotel closed in 1965. The history of the building vanishes until 2001 when the bank-owned property was given to the City of Vanceburg. Using Kentucky Renaissance on Main project funds, the City restored the fifteen-room home. On July 3, 2006, the  newly restored George Morgan Thomas home was dedicated to the citizens of Vanceburg as the new visitor's center. 

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