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 Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion, Homestead School, the historic Jenkins House, Old Esso Station, and Old Fayetteville High School.
Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion, Alderson, Greenbrier County – 2013 List
In August of 2016, Friends of the Blue and the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) started the first phase of the enormous restoration project at the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion. The Mills Group and Allegheny Restoration were contracted to perform the work. By mid-December 2016, the following restoration work was completed:
- The spring box was repaired and made water tight.
- The brick columns were stabilized (with a stucco base coat having been applied, followed by Sika wrap to strengthen the columns, and then that having been overlaid with a final coat of stucco).
- The one leaning column was straightened and standing on its own.
- The interior of the pavilion was excavated and leveled.
- A new drainage system was installed to drain the spring into the nearby Kitchen Creek.
- A back flow drain was installed to prevent muddied waters from flowing back to the spring box in the event of rising water from Kitchen Creek.
The engineering design for the new drainage system was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the WV Division of Natural Resources. All the excavation work conducted in the interior pavilion and for the drainage system was overseen by an archaeologist. During the interior pavilion excavation, the original wood floor of the pavilion was located – as well as what is believed to be the original spring drain. However, the wood floor was left covered as it was below the level of the planned excavation.
Fundraising for the next phase of restoration will begin in 2017. The next phase will include repairing and waterproofing the foundation, installing a new floor and a roof, and other finishing touches. There are also hopes to get the community, politicians, and organizations involved in developing a “springs trail” in the area.
Friends of the Blue and GHS have worked tirelessly at making this restoration project possible, and their efforts were recognized in September 2016 by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia with its annual Preservation Persistence Award.
Homestead School, Dailey, Randolph County – 2016 ListIn May of 2016, Homestead School was one of two schools under consideration for closure by the Randolph County Board of Education (BOE) – due to financial constraints, several failed school levies, a decrease in student enrollment, and costly structural and maintenance issues. During numerous BOE meetings and public hearings, many community members urged the Board to reconsider the Homestead School closure because of the building’s historical value, as well as its value as a community centerpiece. Finally, in December, after a four-hour session with community members and school employees (which included reviewing materials and answering questions presented by the Superintendent of Schools and BOE staff), the BOE unanimously voted to keep Homestead School open.
Now that the school is no longer pending closure, it can qualify for grants to help fund much-needed structural and maintenance repairs and replacements – such as for the roof and for new electrical and plumbing systems, as well as other modern upgrades. (In January 2017, the roof began leaking in several places.)
General Albert Gallatin Jenkins House/Plantation, Lesage, Cabell County – 2012 List
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed restoration work on the building. They are still actively searching for a tenant for the building. In the meantime, the building remains vacant and the Army Corps continues to maintain the building and the surrounding property.
Old Esso Service Station, Fayetteville, Fayette County – 2015 List
The Old Esso Service Station’s owners submitted a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) nomination for the building in November 2016. The status of the nomination (which was researched and written by PAWV’s Preserve WV AmeriCorps member at National Coal Heritage Area) is currently pending. If an NHRP listing is awarded, the owners will apply for a Historic Preservation Development Grant through the WV Division of Culture and History. If they receive the grant, they plan to utilize the funds to replace the roof; they have already obtained estimates for its replacement
Previously in 2016, a temporary roof patch was applied to protect the building until funding could be obtained to replace it. Additionally, the owners removed and replaced the large, broken front window, secured the remaining windows, and removed large trees, brush, and debris from around the building.
Old Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, Fayette County – 2014 List
The school building’s extensive mold problem was treated in July 2016, and the building has been sealed. It will remain sealed until March or April of 2017. At that time, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s Statewide Field Services Representative, Lynn Stasick, intends to perform a room-by-room, prioritized needs assessment. That will assist with bid specifications for restoration contractors, who will then submit bid proposals for the complete restoration of the school building. The plan is to begin restoration work in June 2017.