Just a hundred yards from downtown Charleston, West Virginia lies the Sunrise Mansion and the Sunrise Carriage Trail. The estate provides a welcoming respite from city living with its natural forest and a gentle, meandering path from MacCorkle Avenue all the way to the mansion.
The estate used to be the home of William A. MacCorkle, West Virginia’s ninth Governor. MacCorkle had the mansion built in 1905, on a sprawling 16-acre woodland property. The mansion was to be built on top of the hill, and getting the construction materials from the center of town up the top meant having to use the steep public route. To solve this problem, a gently sloping, but meandering trail was constructed that leads from the open glade at the end of the South Side Bridge up to the mansion. The trail goes on a gentle zig-zagging path up the hill, stretching to 0.65 miles.
Along the trail are two landmarks. The first is the marker of the place where the bodies of two women were discovered by Governor MacCorkle. According to the historical accounts, the two women were shot on the spot during the Civil War, after being accused and convicted of being spies. The bodies were properly buried on the plot of land right across the marker.
The second landmark on the Sunshine Carriage Trail is the arced stone shrine dedicated to Isabelle MacCorkle, Governor MacCorkle’s daughter who died due to the injuries she suffered from a car accident. When the Governor died in 1930, is ashes were interred in the memorial.
When you get to the top of the hill, you are greeted by the majestic sight of the Sunrise Mansion and a sweeping view of Charleston below. The mansion has lived through a lot since its construction in the early 1900’s. It was the home to the Sunrise Museum, until it moved to the Clay Center Center for the Arts and Sciences. Currently, the mansion is privately owned, and it has been meticulously restored to its former glory.
The trail is popular among Charleston residents who seek to get away from the city buzz, even for just a couple of minutes. The trail continues to be a favorite among walkers, joggers and bikers, specially with its natural forest and fresh air.
Friends of the Sunrise Carriage Trail
740 Myrtle Road
Charleston, West Virginia 25314
Trail Hours: Dawn to Dusk