The turn of the century in Marietta marked an oil and gas boom which brought an unprecedented influx of people to this part of the Ohio River Valley. Little more than a swamp in 1890, Second Street was revitalized into the central hub of the city by 1900. With two new railroad depots and the street drained and filled, this building at 203 Second Street, built in 1899, became the site of a magnificent three-story brick structure known as the New Riley Block— named for its developer and owner, Colonel John H. Riley. The first floor was originally leased by the Baker & Uhrane Furniture Company, while the Joseph Seep Purchasing Agency and a local labor organization occupied most of the second floor. Rooms for board were rented on the third floor.
In 1902, John M. Hackett, a local oil entrepreneur, purchased the building and converted the first floor into a saloon and bowling alley where five-cent beer and the customary free lunch were served. Whiskey sold for about ten cents a glass. Patrons poured their own drinks and were trusted to tally up later. Hackett soon expanded his business to include hotel rooms upstairs. Later, his son, Hanley, took over the business until he sold it in 1965. The businesses and the building housing them have withstood all kinds of adversity—including Prohibition, The Great Depression, and floods of biblical proportion.
In 1981, the Adventure Galley (after the original moniker of the lead flatboat that brought Marietta’s original settlers to our Ohio and Muskingum River shores) opened on the totally renovated first floor of the building. Later, banquet and private dining facilities, along with an auxiliary kitchen and bar, were added on the second floor. A quarter century later, the entire facility was renewed again from top to bottom and the outdoor patio was added as the establishment was rechristened “The Galley.”