Preservation Alliance of West has begun to implement a new program entitled the Buildings At Risk Register featuring historic buildings in West Virginia facing risk of being demolished from neglect, vandalism, owner seeking demolition, or environmental factors. The Creel (or Cain) House in St Marys, Pleasants County, and Top O Rock in Charleston, Kanawha County were approved for this listing in March 2015. The Creel House is being listed after the owner filed a demolition permit, and Top O Rock is listed to highlight an adaptive re-use design competition for the severely vandalized Modernist structure.
The Creel House is only one of two properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places for Pleasants County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 after being recognized for the original owner’s significant contributions to the development of Pleasants County. The fate of the Creel house is unknown as the demolition permit is valid until August 2015. A 501 c 3, Save the Historic Creel House, formed after the demolition permit was filed to bring attention to this historic structure and to advocate for its preservation.
Top O Rock is a spectacular, easily seen example of the Modernist period of architecture, rare in the Kanawha Valley. Its future is looking bright as there is a design competition to develop plans to preserve and adapt West Virginia’s Top O Rock for innovative business or community use. The competition is open at toporockwv.com. Awards of $2,500, $1000 and $500 will be distributed to winning submissions from individuals, teams of design industry professionals, community redevelopment organizations, or students for the rescue and adaptive redevelopment of the six story glass and steel modernist masterpiece that overlooks West Virginia’s capital city. According to the competition website, the contest offers an opportunity for individuals, teams of design industry or non-industry professionals, emerging professionals, students, or community development nonprofits to explore plans that include historic preservation, adaptive and sustainable land reuse for public benefit, business or education innovation.
The new Buildings At Risk Register will be used to bring attention to at-risk historical resources that may be lost and efforts to save these special places. “The purpose of the register is to demonstrate that these places matter to West Virginians and there is interest in saving them. It will also be an educational tool about the preservation of historic properties all over the state,” explained Danielle LaPresta, executive director for the alliance. The alliance launched this program in February and has received multiple submissions in only a few weeks. The register will serve as a watch list for individuals wanting to know the status of historical resources in West Virginia. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis and are reviewed once a month by a committee comprised of members of the alliance’s board of directors and staff. The alliance will maintain close contact with persons submitting at risk site applications for advocacy purposes. For a full list of sites on the register, visit https://preservationallliancewv.wordpress.com/b-a-r-r/sites-on-the-buildings-at-risk-register/. Learn more at http://www.pawv.org or by calling 304-345-6005.