A Little History

Pence Springs Flea Market is owned and operated by Van James II and has been in the James family and serving the community since 2005. This historically unique market still holds the Spring House built in the 1800s on the property. The building was used to bottle water from the Springs that even today bubbles from the ground at the end of the building. When walking past the old building, you just might notice the faint aroma of sulfur from the water. Have a drink -- if you dare! Read below for a little more history!

Located on S.R. 3 at the village of Pence Springs, Summers County, 12 miles east of Hinton. Buffalo frequented the springs long before white settlers came. The original patent on the property was held by William Kincaid and later by Jesse Beard. The First hotel was built in 1872 and was sold in 1878 by Beard’s heirs to Andrew Pence, who later made additions to it. Then about 1900 another large hotel, “The Valley Heights”, was built nearby by E.M. Carney. He bored a number of wells abound Pence’s property in order to pump the Sulphur water. This resulted in a law suit in 1904- Pence vs. Carney – to enjoin the pumping and the wasting of water by Carney. The court, however, decided that Carney had the right to pump the water in a reasonable way which would not be harmful to Pence’s operation. In 1918, another hotel was built along S.R. 3. This building was purchased in 1947 by the State of West Virginia for use as a woman’s prison. It closed in 1983 and then was purchased in 1986 by O. Ashby Berkley. You can see this hotel by looking up on the hill when standing down at the flea market. The spring house at Pence Springs is on the property where the flea market operates. This house was built in the 1870s and still stands today.