Rowlesburg, West Virginia: Cool Springs Park

Roadside stop that features a walk-thru derelict caboose and a good selection of classic novelty souvenirs.
Address:
1180 US 50, Rowlesburg, WV
Directions:
On US 50 about a half-mile west of the intersection of Hwy 72 in Macomber.
Hours:
Daily 6:30 am - 11 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
304-454-9511
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Restaurant counter at Cool Springs. Cool Springs - Tourist Stop

If Green Acres' persistent peddler Mr. Haney had built a roadside attraction, it would be Cool Springs, near Aurora, West Virginia.

This Route 50 landmark has served every conceivable motoring need for 75 years, dispensing gas and grub along one of the least populated stretches of America's backbone highway. But just in case mom and pop are content to drive past, Cool Springs reaches into the back seat, grabbing youngsters' attention with an eclectic collection of caged animals, railroad artifacts, and agricultural implements.

The ornaments in the metallic garden are racing to see which will fully dissolve into the West Virginia soil first, and some have "tetanus shot" written all over them. But this is one of the few places where you can walk-through a derelict caboose, pull the levers in an old steam engine, and get bitten by a goose without violating any posted policies.

This is your destination if you've misplaced your rubber tomahawk, need a highly varnished cedar clock, or just can;t live without a giant flyswatter that says, "For HOUSE FLIES and SPOUSE LIES!"

Motorcycle tourists savor this section of Route 50. A fusion of asphalt and hairpins, the road accommodates the adventurous far better than the hurried. Just west of Cool Springs is the famous switchback curve, where you swear that you complete several full circles before the blacktop serpent mercifully spits you out the other side. There are actually historic postcards of this curve.

[Frank J. Whyte, Ph.D., 08/17/2004]

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October 22, 2014

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