West Virginia Endangered Properties List

Preservation Alliance of WV is gearing up to start reviewing nominations to the 2013 West Virginia Endangered Properties List!

For those not directly involved in a historic preservation organization, you might be wondering what an endangered list is.  Endangered lists are used by preservation organizations to bring attention to the plight of at-risk properties and to provide assistance to the dedicated organizations involved in their preservation.

The Arthurdale School Buildings were listed on the 2012 PAWV Endangered List and are integral to the history of Arthurdale, the nation’s first New Deal Homestead Community. Constructed in 1936 under former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration, the high school, cafeteria/administration building, and elementary school have sat vacant for the past ten years but were mothballed in 2003. Due to AHI’s limited budget and staff, the buildings are currently threatened with deterioration from disuse. The ultimate goal is to develop a clear strategy to rehabilitate and adaptively reuse the buildings to be self-sustaining. www.arthurdaleheritage.org/

The selected properties contribute to our understanding of our heritage, which will be diminished if they are lost.  Types of properties already listed on the PAWV Endangered Properties List include archaeological sites, bridges, county courthouses, churches, hotels, and schools, among other types of structures/landscapes.  To be considered an endangered historic resource, these properties must be listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and meet other criteria such as historic significance, preservation emergency and local support.

Local support is essential because we want to work directly with local property stewards or organizations working to save the property.  They are the grassroots forces with the ideas for how these historic treasures can be reused to benefit their community, and they are ultimately doing all the major work.  Without local support for the preservation of an endangered resource, it is impossible for us to help.  So what’s great about this list is that it highlights the efforts of local people.   Another key point is that the list helps us to identify local preservation work, and as the statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization, we can provide free technical assistance (grant writing, structural needs assessments, etc.), advocate and market for the group, and bring this

The Whipple Company Store was listed on the 2011 Endangered Properties List and was a focal point in the area’s once thriving coal community. Today, it is an important heritage destination in the New River Coal Fields, representing a critical element in telling the story of the 1921 mine wars, the struggle for unionization, and the lives of the miners and their families. The owners are seeking funding to make critical repairs necessary to preserve the unusual and eye-catching hexagonal building and keep the museum open and accessible to the visiting public. www.whipplecompanystore.com/

project to the forefront of decision makers and preservation professionals in the state.

The ultimate goal of the endangered list is to de-list the properties.  Preservation successes call for de-listing and, unfortunately, losses do too.  But for a success we hope to raise enough support for the local property stewards to rehabilitate, protect, and/or preserve the endangered property.  If it is appropriate, another aim we have with this list is to secure another use for the historic resource.  Just because something is historic, it does not need to be frozen in time or turned into a museum.  Historic preservationists frequently advocate for a new use and reuse of a historic structure all the while preserving the historic details that make this site so significant and memorable.  We want to reuse our historic treasures, but we don’t want to forget what made them so important to us to initially.  Landscapes and the built environment are physical reminders of our past helps us to plan for our future.

Properties are selected through a competitive application process.  If you have a property

Happy Retreat was listed on PAWV’s 2010 Endangered Properties List. The threat to Happy Retreat arose several years ago when the owners expressed their desire to sell the home and its 12.2 developable acres. Two other Washington family homes had just been lost to development, so the threat was all too real. To stave off a sale, the grassroots Friends of Happy Retreat began raising funds to keep the property under option. After four years, however, the group realized that it would be impossible for them to raise enough private funds to acquire and sustain it for public enjoyment. So the nonprofit is now seeking public partners to join them in a new initiative: to develop Charles Washington’s Happy Retreat into the centerpiece of heritage tourism in Charles Town. www.happyretreat.org/

in mind for the 2013 endangered list, click HERE for a nomination form and information on how to apply.  Applications are due 15 November 2012.  For more information on previous years lists, visit HERE.

The Wyco Church was listed on the 2009 Endangered Properties List and is a remnant from the early 20th century coal camp. The church was used until the 1990s, and ownership was transferred to the Rural Appalachian Improvement League in 2003. Preservation work was progressing, and students from Cornell University, along with PAWV, rehabbed all the windows in the church. Work has recently stalled on this important property in Mullens, WV, and the Rural Appalachian Improvement League needs help with funds to finish repairs and restoration work. http://www.railwv.org/wyco-church-progress.htm

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