The Riverside African-American School in Elkins opened in 1906 as a simple one floor brick building. In 1925, a second floor was added. What makes this building highly significant is its history as the educational forum for the Black and Native American populations of Randolph County and surrounding areas for five decades.
PAWV added the historic school to the WV Endangered Properties List in 2010 because of deterioration. Since this listing, the Riverside School Association has purchased the building and made tremendous headway in stabilizing the building and working to create the multi-cultural heritage center. The Association holds a special fundraiser, the Riverside Blues Fest, every July to raise money for the building preservation project.
To learn more about the history of the school, watch the special WBOY Channel 12 segment.
The Waldo Hotel is located in Clarksburg, WV. It was one of the grandest hotels in the region when it was built in the early 1900s.
PAWV added it to the WV Endangered Properties List in 2009. Since its listing, there have been many ups and downs. Many local citizens wanted to demolish the building – seeing it as a safety hazard and an eyesore. However, a group of dedicated volunteers, the Waldo Hotel Preservation Society, have the vision to preserve and adapt this building for modern needs. The Waldo Hotel Preservation Society has been fundraising and working with developers to re-use this building.
In May 2014, the Society announced that the property is currently under contract for eventual purchase by a capable party that is already working to repair and redevelop the building. Learn more about the property and the project in the WBOY Channel 12 video.
The WV Endangered Properties List was revived in 2009 after PAWV received a three-year Partners in the Field grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This grant ended in 2012, and PAWV has maintained this program, without additional grant funding. We rely on membership donations to keep this program alive. If you are interested in becoming a member of PAWV, visit our PayPal page HERE.
PAWV added the Arthurdale School Buildings to the West Virginia Endangered Properties List in 2012.
Arthurdale was the first homestead community created under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. Eleanor Roosevelt had a major influence in the development of the community and the Arthurdale campus. She donated books, money, and supplies to the school.
From 1934-1936, Elsie Ripley Clapp served as administrator of the Arthurdale School. A student of John Dewey, Clapp saw the school in Arthurdale as a great opportunity to create a community school. Students learned through hands-on activities rather than theoretical learning and undertook projects related to agriculture and construction. Elsie Clapp helped design the school campus, which opened in the fall of 1935 and featured a high school, cafeteria, gymnasium/auditorium, elementary school, primary school, and nursery school.
WBOY Channel 12 featured the Arthurdale School buildings as part of a 12-week series about West Virginia’s Endangered Properties. Get a glimpse inside the school in this video.
Learn more about the school buildings at Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.’s website.
Lynn Stasick is the statewide field services representative for Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Lynn’s primary job is to work with stewards of sites listed on the WV Endangered Properties List. Lynn’s position is maintained through membership donations. This position originated from a Partners in the Field grant made possible by the National Trust’s for Historic Preservation, but this grant ended in 2012. If you are interested in becoming a member and donating to this program, you can do so at our PayPal page.
The old Pratt Truss Bridge spans 265 feet across the Kanawha River. In 1884, the Gilmer County Commission purchased steel components from the Canton Iron Works in Canton, OH. The construction of the bridge greatly enhanced the development of the city of Glenville and Glenville State College.
The bridge is decommissioned from use, and in 2010, a major snowstorm caused part of the bridge to collapse. Learn about some of the struggles associated with restoring this bridge in the WBOY Channel 12 video.
The West Virginia Northern Railroad Water Tower was added to the West Virginia Endangered Properties List in 2012. It is a unique structure to the list – and the only water tower, so far.
The Friends of the Cheat are working to revitalize the entire brownfield area, including the water tower, as a rail trail. The goal is to preserve the water tower and have it serve as the trail head.
Learn more about the project and about what makes this water tower historic in the WBOY Channel 12 video.
The Mannington Train Depot was added to the WV Endangered Properties List in 2011. The depot is located in Mannington, Marion County, WV. Mannington Main Street is working to re-use this historic building.
Learn more about the re-use project for this building in the WBOY Channel 12 video.
The Abruzzino Mansion was added to the West Virginia Endangered Properties List in 2013 due to a devastating fire that damaged a significant portion of the house. Located in downtown Shinnston, WV, this building has benefited from recent preservation work and updating. The current owners would like to see this building turned into a children’s museum. Learn more about the building from the WBOY Channel 12 video.
If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Historic preservation is happening in rural West Virginia. Learn about the adaptive re-use of the Elkins Coal and Coke building in Masontown, Preston County, WV. The goal is to turn this building into a bathroom facility for the Mon River Rail Trail. You can contact the Mon River Trails Conservancy to learn how you can help.
Thanks to WBOY Channel 12 for another great feature!
To describe how it felt to witness this destruction in person is impossible. It was AWFUL. I cried. Ninety-one pictures later and I was ready to show the city of Charleston the wretched state of this “beloved”and “iconic”structure.
Constructed in 1968 by local architect and engineer Henry Elden, Top-O-Rock is a magnificent 10,000 square foot structure of steel and glass that functioned as both working and living environment under the same roof. An unconventional combination of industrial and organic principles, it was designed to incorporate the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Elden referred to it as “A glass jeweled box set in a hillside without disturbing the beauty of the natural terrain”. This terrain being a steep twenty-seven foot sandstone cliff with panoramic vies of the city. It consisted of 8500 square feet of solar plated tinted glass that was held together by an intricate framework of 90 tons of steel and 880,000 pounds of concrete that engaged the heavily wooded landscape that surrounded it. The structure itself was adapted into its’natural surroundings. Charleston residents had never seen anything like Top-O-Rock. It was considered Elden’s architectural masterpiece. And he joyfully shared this with the community, opening the doors to anyone that wanted to see its grandeur in person. He hosted a variety of galas, parties and other functions. It became known as one of Charleston’s most iconic houses and remained that way until Mr. Elden’s death in 2009. It remained vacant until it was purchased in 2011.
An advocate is defined as a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy and offers support to the interest of another. In a nutshell, an advocate becomes the voice for an entity that is unable to speak for itself.
To say that I was upset was an understatement. I was sad. And I was VERY angry. The house had been abandoned and neglected and left alone to defend itself against the elements of nature as well as vandals and thieves. How could this have happened? How did the condition get the this point? Who was responsible? And what could be done? I wanted answers. AND I wanted everyone in Charleston to see what collective ignorance had done to a once magnificent place.
Naturally, sharing the pictures on Facebook was the quickest way to reach a large audience. Combined with numerous emails to the local media, word spread quickly that Top-O-Rock was in dire need of help. I posted on Sunday evening. The response was overwhelming. By Monday morning, requests to the City of Charleston were made and the necessary steps to determine what was needed to secure the structure began. A violation order was issued to the owners with 21 days to meet the requirements. A collective sigh of relief was felt in the community. Until a local contracting firm said it had been approached to possibly demolish the house. That single word: DEMOLISH was completely unacceptable to me. I knew at that moment, I was going to do anything and everything to save Top-O-Rock.
On Tuesday morning, I started a Facebook group and page called “Save Top-O-Rock”and shared it with my friends. Within 30 minutes I had 150 members. By the end of the day, I had 500 members. It was amazing. Membership requests along with offers of assistance, advice, financial donations, resources to utilize and volunteers was OVERWHELMING. I was relieved that there were so many other people out there willing to lend a voice and become an advocate. Today, we are 1400 members strong. TOGETHER we continue to fight for our beloved Top-O-Rock. It has been an emotional and tough few weeks but to date, the owners have secured the house and are working with the community to save it. For now, demolition is off the table. And we ARE continuing to make, albeit slow, progress.
So the next time you find yourself driving down MacCorkle Avenue, remember to take a look up at the glass jeweled box on the hillside peeking out the trees, where it sits patiently waiting for another chance to speak for ITSELF.
Top O Rock is a distinctive house sitting atop a rocky outcrop which provides 360° view of Charleston and the Kanawha River. The building was designed by Henry Elden, an industrious and award winning architect whose works are known throughout the area. Due to recent vandalism and deferred maintenance, the Charleston Building Commission last week sent the current owners a notice to submit a development or demolition plan within three weeks or face possible fines.
The current owner purchased the house in 2011. Since the transaction, the house has remained vacant. Due to the ongoing vandalism, the property owners have hired a security guard. On May 7th, the WV MetroNews reported Rodney Loftis and Sons Contractor, “has a contract to tear down the house and is going through the normal process of asbestos assessment and other pre-demolition requirements. He said the demolition could start in three to four weeks.” It is not clear if the contract has been signed and the contractor is not speaking publicly on the subject.
If you are interested in keeping up with any developments or voicing your concern, click on the Save Top O Rock Facebook group page and ask to join.
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