Beginning in Spring 2016, a buzz of activity has taken over Waldomore, a historic library and museum located in Clarksburg, WV. Over the past couple of months, an extensive renovation of the building has been ongoing. From electrical to plaster work, a myriad of improvements have brought the structure back to life. As the restoration continues, the development of new planning and programs are helping to set up the next chapter for Waldomore.
Constructed in 1842 by Waldo P. Goff, Waldomore originally served as residence to the Goff Family. After almost a century as home of the Goff’s and their heirs, May Goff Lowndes donated the building and site to the City of Clarksburg on the condition that it was to be used as a library and museum. From 1931 to 1975, Waldomore operated as the Clarksburg city library. After the completion of a new library structure in 1975, Waldomore was repurposed as a center for historical and genealogical research as well as a civic meeting and event space. Today, Waldomore continues to serve the citizens of Clarksburg and the North Central Region.
Prior to the project, Waldomore was in strong need of renovation. Issues including an aging and insufficient electrical system as well as plaster damage caused by years of a leaking roof were just some of the complications plaguing Waldomore. For the past several years, the City of Clarksburg and the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, the owner and overseer of Waldomore, had submitted a number of grants in hopes of securing funds to overhaul the site. In early October, the City of Clarksburg was awarded a grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, for the purpose of restoring the structure. Along with additional funds from the City of Clarksburg, close to $500,000 has been allocated to the renovation.
Due to the nature and scale of the project, the contents of Waldomore had to be removed and placed in temporary accommodations while renovations were taking place. For a period of seven months, Waldomore staff and volunteers joined together in the arduous task of planning and executing the move. Many weeks were spent preparing the building’s collection for the staff and movers to take to their temporary home. With the first half of the move completed, almost 800 boxes, 100 pieces of furniture, and five chandeliers were removed from Waldomore. Once the renovation is finished, the task of moving the building’s contents begins once again.
As of early August, a majority of the renovation has been completed. Projects performed include the removal and abatement of lead and asbestos throughout the building, removal of electrical wiring and installation of a new system, the replacement of ceilings in several rooms, and the restoration of plaster on the second floor. Tasks that will be performed in the weeks to follow will consist of painting the interior, installation of new carpeting on the second floor, as well as the addition of new light fixtures. Unless any unexpected complications were to arise, the renovation of Waldomore will be completed by Fall 2016.
The past year has been an exciting time for Waldomore and the City of Clarksburg. The renovation of this Clarksburg institution has brought forth a new chapter in the storied life of this site. With completion of the renovation, Waldomore will be able to better perform its duties for the residence of Clarksburg. Through improved facilities, Waldomore will be able to further its mission as a center of historical research and expand its outreach into the community and region.