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Endangered List 2013 Main Page

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Where Are They Now: Follow-Ups

FOR GENERAL RELEASE                20 February 2013         
For more information, contact:
Danielle LaPresta                 304-345-6005
Lynn Stasick                            304-685-8119

Five Properties Added to the West Virginia Endangered Properties List

Each year, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) selects at-risk historic properties for its West Virginia Endangered Properties List. These properties are threatened to be lost by human and environmental factors such as demolition, neglect, and inappropriate development. This list allows PAWV to prioritize its service and provide special preservation assistance and advocacy to help local support groups in their efforts to save and reuse these significant sites for heritage tourism and economic development purposes. Five historically-significant sites from four counties were added to the 2013 West Virginia Endangered Properties List. Sites such as an in-tact German mountain farm complex and the church where the first YMCA was organized made this year’s list. These sites were announced during a special press conference at the State Capitol in Charleston on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

The Historic Second Presbyterian Church (Ohio County) is located at 2001 Market Street in the heart of the Wheeling’s Center Market Square Historic District. The Greek Revival Church has stood at its current site since 1850 and was the heart and soul of Wheeling’s Abolitionist Movement. In February, 1865, one week after President Abraham Lincoln outlawed slavery with the passing of the 13th Amendment, the Freedmen’s Association held its meeting at the church. Additionally, in 1859 the church’s Reverend Richard Dodge, a good friend of President Lincoln, organized the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), which is still popular to this day. The church is currently threatened by environmental damage since a large portion of the roof collapsed due to truss failure in the summer of 2011. The roof’s trusses were weakened decades ago after being cut and modified to hang a chandelier in the sanctuary. Now the building’s owner, Near Earth Object Foundation, is rehabilitating and preserving the historic church to reopen it for presentations, plays, and educational events, as well as an urban observatory, a project to observe and monitor Near Earth Objects that is supported by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

The Ananias Pitsenbarger Farm is a German mountain farm complex tucked away in the rolling hills of eastern West Virginia in Franklin (Pendleton County). From 1799-1973, only three German families owned the self-sustaining farm, which consists of 23 log-and-frame buildings constructed by hand and made from local materials. Except for some deterioration and field overgrowth, the farm looks very much the same as it did 100 years ago, and many of the distinct German building traditions are still evident including hand-carved wood hinges and pegs. The Pitsenbargers were known locally and to this day for their hospitality to travelers and strong belief in Old World German and occult traditions. The current owners are working hard to preserve the site and the unique history, but this is quite a task as most of the buildings have not been maintained for over 40 years. They are seeking help from PAWV in preparing a preservation plan so that the farm can be preserved and used for recreational and tourism purposes.

The Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion is located approximately 9 miles north of Alderson (Greenbrier County) in a cattle pasture surrounded by mountains. The Greek Revival pavilion, or springhouse, was constructed in 1845 and was the heart of a mid-nineteenth century resort complex at Blue Sulphur Springs where Dr. Alexis Martin was the resident physician. Dr. Martin administered the first mud baths in the United States at the resort while also treating patients with the mineral waters and other remedies. The pavilion and former resort also served as a bivouac and hospital for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War until being burned by Union troops. The deteriorating pavilion is the only structure remaining of the once fashionable resort and has not been maintained for many years. Now the Greenbrier Historical Society is working with the current owner to obtain ownership of the pavilion and some surrounding acreage and is already making plans to reuse and develop the site for heritage tourism purposes.

The youngest of the newly-listed endangered sites is the “Westly”, a Sears Kit House located in the Lewisburg Historic District between the Greenbrier County Court House and the Governor Price House in Lewisburg (Greenbrier County). The “Westly” was one of the most popular kit homes sold through the Sears, Roebuck, and Company mail-order catalogs in the early-twentieth century and was made available to residents in Lewisburg with the expansion of the railroad from 1905-1907. The “Westly” and all Sears’s kit homes are special because they were delivered in over 10,000 labeled pieces with assembly instructions. In 1924, the original owner purchased and assembled the home himself. In 1941, the Greenbrier County Commission purchased the dwelling and used it as the office for the West Virginia University Extension Service. In recent years, the building has sat vacant, and although it is deteriorating, it maintains the original floor plan and is in good condition. The Lewisburg Historic Landmarks Commission and the Lewisburg Preservation Alliance nominated the site to bring awareness to the significance of these unique kit homes. The groups are engaging the Greenbrier County Commission to locate a new use or sensitive buyer to preserve and reuse the dwelling.

The Abruzzino Mansion is located in the Shinnston Historic District and sits atop a hillside overlooking the town of Shinnston (Harrison County). The Neoclassical mansion was constructed in 1921 by the prolific builder Charles Ashby Short for Frank Abruzzino, a prosperous West Virginia businessman who was an Italian immigrant. The mansion originally had 28 rooms, 4 bathrooms, and a third-floor ballroom and was converted into apartments in the 1960s. Remarkably, the renovators maintained much of the historic layout and features. Currently, one couple has taken on the task of restoring the mansion, and the project was unfortunately delayed when a fire destroyed the west wing and much of the red-tile roof in 2010. Now PAWV is helping them create a preservation plan in hopes that the building can be secured for a group or groups that can reuse the mansion for nonprofit purposes.

As the statewide, grassroots organization promoting historic preservation and our state’s cultural heritage, PAWV releases an Endangered List each year to highlight the plight of at-risk properties that contribute to our understanding of our heritage, which will be diminished if these properties are lost. After being nominated by local residents from all over the Mountain State, these properties were selected through a competitive application process on the basis that they are eligible to be or are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and have a preservation emergency with local support for a reuse project. PAWV’s field representative, Lynn Stasick, works directly with local residents rallying to save and repurpose these endangered sites by providing preservation assistance such as structural needs assessments, preservation expertise, capacity building, and advocacy.

If you are interested in assisting with any of these preservation projects, contact the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia at To follow the fate of Endangered List Properties, look for updates in the Saving Sites section on the PAWV website at More information about listed sites and nomination forms for next year’s Endangered Properties List are available HERE.

Copyright © 2013 Preservation Alliance of West Virginia