The red-and-white landmark known locally as ‘‘The World’s Largest Teapot’’ stands in Chester at the top of the Northern Panhandle. The teapot is a symbol of the local potteries that flourished in Chester, nearby Newell, and across the Ohio River in East Liverpool, Ohio. To historic preservationists it is a piece of commercial archeology, a representative of a type of figurative roadside architecture rapidly vanishing from our landscape.
The whimsical teapot first appeared on Chester’s Carolina Avenue, State Route 2, in 1938. It was erected by William ‘‘Babe’’ Devon. Originally a huge wooden barrel for Hire’s Root Beer, a spout and handle were added and the structure was covered with tin to form the shape of a teapot. The knob on the ‘‘lid’’ was a large glass ball. Inside, Devon sold postcards, ice cream, hot dogs, and soda pop through the 1930s and ’40s. Later sold to several different owners, the teapot continued to sell seasonal gifts, china, and novelty pieces from its shelves until the late 1970s.
The land and buildings were purchased by C&P Telephone in 1984, and the teapot was moved in 1990 to a location next to the Jennings Randolph Bridge ramp. The smaller ‘‘creamer’’ was also restored and placed nearby. The ‘‘World’s Largest Teapot’’ once again stands proudly by the roadside.
This Article was written by Katherine M. Jourdan
Last Revised on June 25, 2012