The World's
Largest Teapot

Chester, WV

The Teapot is 14 feet in diameter and approximately 14 feet high.

History of "The World's Largest Teapot"

1938 The Chester Teapot was constructed by William "Babe" Devon. The Teapot started its life as a gigantic wooden hogshead barrel for a Hire's Root Beer advertising campaign. Devon purchased the barrel in Pennsylvania and had it shipped to Chester where it was set up on Carolina Avenue, which is also State Route 2. A spout and handle were added at this time and the wooden barrel was covered with tin to form the teapot's shape. A large glass ball was placed on top to make the knob of the "lid". The Teapot stood in front of Devon's pottery outlet store. Local teenagers were hired to run a concession and souvenir stand which was set up inside the Teapot.
1947 -
Late 1960's
After being closed for two years during World War II when gas rationing caused a decrease in traffic and thus visitors, the Teapot and Devon's pottery business were sold to Mary Wucherer and Rhelda Cain in 1947. Food was once again sold out of the Teapot until the late 1960's when that became unprofitable. It was at that time that the Teapot was used to sell lawn and garden items as well as china and novelty pieces.
1971 The Teapot was sold to Cecil and Alice Fletcher. The Teapot had been painted blue and white by this time. The Fletchers continued to sell pottery and other gift items from it for many years before they finally closed the business and shut down the Teapot.
1984 The Teapot sat abandoned in place until 1984 when C&P Telephone purchased the land it was on. The main building of the old business was demolished and the Teapot itself was in danger of being scrapped. Geneva Hill, a Chester native, brought citizens to action in helping to save the Teapot from destruction.
1987 C&P Telephone offered to donate the Teapot to the City of Chester. A restoration committee was formed by Councilwoman Anne Ford who polled town residents on their feelings about the Teapot. The town overwhelmingly approved the restoration of the Teapot and fund-raising plans were made. The Teapot was moved to various places in Chester while the $3000 required to restore it was raised. Repair work eventually began on the floor and roof joints. The exterior tin of the Teapot was also sandblasted for cleaning, but it caused wrinkling in some places. As this repair work continued, problems with the State Highway Department and various townspeople caused much debate on where the Teapot should be permanently located. The debate drug on and the Teapot endured a number of years of bad weather which created new problems for it. At this point, Ford's committee was disbanded and further restoration attempts were halted.
Early 1990 The Chester City Council votes to provide funds toward the restoration of the Teapot after Councilman Frank DeCapio offered to take responsibility for its rehabilitation. The Teapot was moved to a location adjacent to the Jennings Randolph Bridge Ramp, a heavily trafficked area at the junction of State Route 2 and U.S. Route 30. The property and a fence were donated by the State. A concrete pad for the Teapot to sit on was donated by the Tri-State Pottery Festival Association. Through the spring and summer of 1990, retired general contractor Sayre Graham, Mayor Roy Cashdollar, and other volunteers finished the Teapot's restoration. Graham removed the old dilapidated tin and replaced it with a rolled roofing tin which basically duplicated the original. Vinyl was placed in between the widths of tin in order to help with expansion and prevent wrinkling. The doors and windows from the concession stand days were reframed and sealed shut. The floor and many of the wooden staves of the frame were replaced as well. A new spout was cut from plywood using the original as a pattern, and it along with the original handle were covered with new tin and placed back on the Teapot. The roof had been replaced during the previous restoration and was still in good shape. The original glass ball which had served as the knob of the Teapot's "lid" was long gone and up to this point, a gold-painted basketball had taken its place. A new plastic ball was obtained to replace it. The Teapot was painted back to its original red and white colors late in the summer. The grounds around the Teapot were also landscaped. The Teapot was officially dedicated at a ceremony held in Chester's community center on October 12, 1990.

Information compiled from:
Jourdan, Katherine M. "Another Roadside Attraction: The Chester Teapot." Goldenseal, Vol. 17, No. 1: Spring 1991.