2012: The Northern Railroad Water Tower (Preston County) was constructed in the early twentieth century during the development of the Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad. It was historically used for storage to assist with the fluid operation of the trains hauling building stone, lumber, glass sand, and the enormous coal resources found between Rowlesburg and Morgantown. Situated on a brownfield site and former rail yard, the tower poses a safety threat because of its leaning frame. Friends of the Cheat (FOC) in conjunction with the Preston Rail Trail Committee and the Preston Economic Development Authority have been working to secure the rail yard for use as a rail-trail system with the preserved water tower acting as a trail head for a Rail-to-Trail corridor. FOC has applied for a FOCUS grant through Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center to determine the community’s interest and needs in an effort to develop reuse plans for the rail yard and tower.
2012: The Arthurdale Heritage School buildings (Preston County) are owned by Arthurdale Heritage, Inc. (AHI) and are integral to the history of Arthurdale, the nation’s first New Deal Homestead Community. Constructed in 1936 under former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration, the high school, cafeteria/administration building, and elementary school have sat vacant for the past ten years but were mothballed in 2003. Due to AHI’s limited budget and staff, the buildings are currently threatened with deterioration from disuse. The ultimate goal is to develop a clear strategy to rehabilitate and adaptively reuse the buildings to be self-sustaining. Grant funding is being actively sought, and a committee is working to determine the next best step for development.
Masontown, Preston County
March 2019 Update: This 1907 Coal and Coke Building was "saved" and de-listed from Endangered Properties List in 2018. It now serves as a visitor information and restroom facility for the Deckers Creek Rail-Trail in Masontown, WV. It serves as part of a Preston County mini-park and trailhead for the 48-mile rail-trail network. It is now maintained by the Preston County Parks and Recreation Commission.”
2017 Update: In July 2017, the Mon River Trails Conservancy (MRTC) received engineering design approval and the Notice to Proceed for Construction from WV Division of Highways for the site’s restoration project. The MRTC plans to repurpose the former Elkins Coal and Coke building as a new visitor center and restroom facility for the Masontown Trail Head on the Deckers Creek Rail-Trail. Preston County Parks and Recreation Commission (PCPaRC) has agreed to maintain the property and trailhead facility once is has been rehabbed. Advertisement for contractor bids for construction was scheduled for mid-August and bids will be opened on September 7, 2017. The contractor agreement includes a construction deadline of 4 months from the Notice to Proceed. Keeping in mind maintenance ease and vandal-proofing, the restoration and repurpose design elements of the building will include:
Additional fund-raising will be necessary as the above plans will likely reduce the budget for the history and culture displays planned for the visitor center inside the building.
2011: Elkins Coal & Coke Company Building (Preston County) sits along the Deckers Creek Rail Trail near Masontown. It is associated with the Elkins Coal and Coke Historic District containing the Bretz coke ovens, a National Historic Landmark. The Romanesque style stone structure is deteriorating and damaged by vandalism. The Monongahela River Trails Conservancy plans to convert the building and its nearby picnic shelter into a visitor’s center and restroom facilities for use by trail users and those traveling the Old Route 7 Byway.
Endangered Properties List
If you are interested in assisting with any of these preservation projects, contact the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia at firstname.lastname@example.org.