Updates compiled by Mercy Klein, Preserve WV AmeriCorps
Each year, PAWV announces the West Virginia Endangered Properties List – a collection of historic resources at risk of being lost to neglect, demolition, and other human and environmental factors. PAWV works with stewards of each property to help improve and save the property so it can be reused. Preservation projects usually take several years to complete, and they need continued support after the initial listing. In the spirit of “Where are they now” updates, PAWV is doing a post about how the endangered properties’ projects are progressing. Projects featured in this post (listed alphabetically) include the Ananias Pitsenbarger Farm, Wheeling’s Blue Church, Feagans Mill, 1400 Block of Wheeling’s Market Street, Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool, Staats Hospital, and the Tyler County “Poor Farm” Home.
Ananias Pitsenbarger Farm, Franklin, Pendleton County – 2013 List
On October 16, 2016, owners, Jeff and Teresa Munn, attended an awards ceremony at the Culture Center in Charleston in which the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) recognized select National Historic Landmarks, individual resources, and historic districts across West Virginia.
Additionally, by the end of this year, they are expecting the dendrochronology results from the November 2015 log dating project conducted by Kristen De Graauw and Shawn Cockrell of WVU. The owners plan to organize a community meeting/party at the farm to reveal the results.
As far as preservation repairs, there are several buildings suffering from weather deterioration. Sill beams have fallen to the ground and are now rotting. Information and estimates are being obtained from contractors on how to repair them. They hope to start the sill beam repairs in 2017.
Church of God and Saints of Christ Tabernacle – “The Blue Church”, Wheeling, Ohio County – 2010 List
In the past six months, the Wheeling National Heritage Area has completed several structural projects on the Blue Church. Structural masonry repairs have been done on the exterior of the south elevation at the entablature. Additionally, loose stucco on the south wall was removed, the wall repointed, and the brick was sealed. Structural roof repairs have also been completed. The roof repairs included the roof trusses, box gutters, collection boxes, and the edge of the roof. Five chimneys were also rebuilt or repaired to prevent water damage from washed out mortar. At the time of this entry, the roof was being replaced. Its completion was scheduled for December 15, 2016.
The next project planned for the Blue Church is repairing the proscenium’s structurally unsound arch. A structural engineer is currently creating drawings to address the situation.
Feagans’ Mill, Kabletown, Jefferson County – 2014 List
Feagans’ Mill recently applied for a National Register of Historic Places nomination in September/October of 2016. The status of their nomination is currently pending. The owner of the mill, Daniel Lutz, is in the process of preparing for a timber felling project to clear the close growing timber which could threaten the mill in the event of a storm. His 2017 project fundraising plans include sales of Feagans’ Mill flours, meals, etc, at local events, offering the mill memorabilia (bolo ties, feed sacks, etc.), and creating a “Friends of the Feagans’ Mill at Wheatland Village.”
The 1400 Block of Market Street, Wheeling, Ohio County – 2016 List
The City of Wheeling has purchased the last adjacent building in the row of properties on the 1400 Block of Market Street in hopes that ownership of all four buildings would be more attractive for development. The properties suffer from water damage due to roof leaks and they sit vacant. The City is applying for survey and planning grants to repair the roof, and they are currently showing the properties so they can be productively repurposed.
Margaret Mansion Weir Memorial Pool, Weirton, Hancock County – 2014 List
The Marland Heights Community Association has made some necessary repairs to the concession stand and the tennis courts have been resurfaced. They have also started a brick garden fundraiser whereby bricks can be purchased and engraved for $50. Engraved bricks have been incorporated into the walkway at the pool’s entrance. Other items available for purchase include old locker room baskets, and t-shirt and mug memorabilia. All fundraiser proceeds go directly to pool renovations. Paint and filtration projects are next on the agenda and they are actively applying for grants to fund them.
Staats Hospital, Charleston, Kanawha County – 2012 List
Within the last six months, Crawford Holdings, owner of the former Staats Hospital, have primed and painted all the metal work on the front façade. They have also received a $35,000 matching grant from the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office which they plan to utilize for the building’s ninety windows. Crawford Holdings is currently seeking potential tenants to commercially lease their first floor spaces.
Tyler County Home, Tyler County – 2009 List
No progress has been made towards rehabilitating this historic property since its 2009 listing on PAWV’s Endangered Properties list. Tyler County Home, also known as the “Poor Farm,” is currently owned by the Tyler County Commissioners and the property is leased to the Fair Association. A group of ten concerned community members who are passionate about preserving this piece of Tyler County history have formed the Tyler County Restoration Committee. About nine months ago, the group elected Peggy George to be their new committee President. Within nine months, the group has successfully fundraised $10,000 for the building’s rehabilitation. The building remains vacant and continues to deteriorate due to frequent vandalism and severe water damage from a leaking roof and box gutters and downspouts that are in desperate need of stabilization and replacement. The Restoration Committee plans to continue their fundraising efforts in 2017 as well as conduct a survey to assess the community’s interest in preserving and repurposing the County Home. They will present their fundraising and survey efforts to the County Commissioners in early 2017. The hope is that they will be able to work together with the County Commissioners in obtaining additional funding with historic preservation grants and to get started on the long process of rehabilitating this property.