2010: The Riverside African-American School in Elkins began 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. Fifty-five years of neglect have taken their toll. Water intrusion has caused severe structural deterioration to Riverside’s interior walls, floors, windows, and roofing system. School alumni and a dedicated team of volunteers are working to purchase and rehabilitate the building as a new “Riverside African-American Heritage Center” to serve the local community.
2010: Little Kanawha Valley Bank is a quaint, one room, wood-frame building in Glenville represents a visible example of rural Appalachian economic development. Constructed in 1901, it is clad in decorative pressed metal with wire bank teller’s cages still in the building. This structure is facing serious preservation issues. Termite infestation and poor drainage have had a devastating effect on the sills, floor beams, flooring, and to an unknown extent, other interior and exterior components. The window sills and sashes are decayed and some of the exterior pressed metal panels are deteriorated. It is significant as a heritage tourism asset for the Little Kanawha Byway and the Glenville Folk Festival.
The diner struggled for several years until 2015 when an employee (of one year) was promoted to general manager. The diner prospered under the new general manager and he later began to lease the business from the Pollitts. In a short time, he offered to buy it.
At the time of the site’s last update in February 2017, the diner was in the process of changing ownership. However, the new ownership plans fell through when the diner closed down abrubtly in July 2017 due to financial mismanagement by the general manager – its future new owner.
The business is back in the hands of the Pollitts and they have no plans to reopen it until they find someone to lease or buy the building. Until such time, the Quarrier Diner will be return to an “Endangered” status on the Endangered Properties List.
2011 Update: The Quarrier Diner in downtown Charleston officially re-opened its doors for business on October 27, 2011. The diner was built in 1947 and served many American classic dishes to patrons until closing its doors in 1999. Anna Pollitt and her family purchased the diner in 2010 with the purpose of renovating the building. The Quarrier Diner was listed on Preservation Alliance of WV’s 2010 Endangered Properties List. After a year renovating the diner, which includes Timothy’s Bar downstairs and a banquet area upstairs, the building is open.
2010: The Quarrier Diner in Charleston is one of several Art Deco style buildings populating Quarrier Street. Built in 1946, the restaurant seated 300 people and was a popular destination for fifty years. The building is constructed of brick with a façade of contrasting maroon and cream glass panels with curved windows and a curved entranceway and handrails. Now vacant but stable, the building is missing windows and has roofing issues. But its greatest threat is unsympathetic development. The property is listed for sale and the FBI has shown interest, with developer proposals that the Quarrier be demolished. An alternative use or development plan that includes the historic structure will be needed to save this building.
Charles Town, Jefferson County
March 2019 Update: Restoration of the brick smokehouse and stone kitchen began in November. It was paused for the winter but will begin again in March/April and will be completed before summer. Last summer, restoration of the roofs on the main house was completed. The standing seam metal roof on the central portion of the house was restored, and new gutters and downspouts installed. The standing seam metal roofs on the two wings were replaced with new standing seam metal roofs. New gutters and downspouts were installed.
2017 Update: There has been quite a bit of activity at Happy Retreat since the last update. The Jefferson County Historical Society moved its office to Happy Retreat; the Historic Structure Report (HSR) was completed; and Friends of Happy Retreat (FOHR) hosted a few events at the site --a Wine and Jazz Festival and a book club.
The Historic Structure Report has given insight into the history of the construction and use of Happy Retreat. The HSR included a paint analysis that helped reveal the age of construction of the west wing of the house and a Preliminary Structural Assessment of the outlying building.
Due to the lack of original wood floors and floor joists in the first and second story, dendrochronology could not be used to determine the age of construction of the house’s west wing. Therefore, a paint analysis was implanted to help date construction. Using a technique known as cross-section microscopy, small samples of paint were examined microscopically to determine the number of paint layers and their colors. In one room, the analysis revealed a complete chronology of the paint colors used back to the day Charles Washington first entered the house. Paint analysis also helped date the door and window of the west wing as well as reveal that the current mantel had been moved from another location.
The Preliminary Structural Assessment of the brick smokehouse, stone kitchen and privy outbuilding determined that that the smokehouse is in good structural condition, but it will need repointing and replacement of damaged bricks. The kitchen and privy however, require some work. The brick kitchen and privy walls will need to be rebuilt. The shingles on the outbuilding will also need to be replaced as they contain asbestos.
As far as events hosted at Happy Retreat, FOHR successfully hosted a Wine and Jazz Festival on June 10, 2017 with over 500 people in attendance. The festival included three Jazz bands, over 50 different local and national wines, and food from local restaurants and bakery. All proceeds went to the restoration and maintenance of the site. A book club, with free membership, was also started in June 2017.
On September 9, 2017, FOHR will host their second Craft Beer and Music Festival at Happy Retreat.
2010: Charles Washington, who founded Charles Town in 1786, began constructing his Early Classical Revival mansion, Happy Retreat, in 1780. Nearby at least seven other homes were constructed by Washington family members, including Charles’ brother George, who frequently visited Happy Retreat. The threat to Happy Retreat arose several years ago when the owners expressed their desire to sell the home and its 12.2 developable acres. Two other Washington family homes had just been lost to development, so the threat was all too real. To stave off a sale, the grassroots Friends of Happy Retreat began raising funds to keep the property under option. After four years, however, the group realized that it would be impossible for them to raise enough private funds to acquire and sustain it for public enjoyment. So the nonprofit is now seeking public partners to join them in a new initiative: to develop Charles Washington’s Happy Retreat into the centerpiece of heritage tourism in Charles Town.
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.
2010: Church of God and Saints of Christ Tabernacle is a superb Greek Revival Romanesque church. It is a key anchor of the Wheeling historic district in which it is listed. Built in 1835, the interior has cathedral ceilings, original stained glass windows, and a balcony with slave gallery. Although still in use, this building has severe problems. The roof and box gutters have failed allowing water to intrude and the front steps supporting the columns and portico are crumbling. In addition to church services, the church is home to Saints Charity which this year alone provided clothing, hunger relief, living assistance, computer literacy, and children’s summer programs to over 1,200 families.
2012 Update: In October 2012, the New River Community and Technical College Greenbrier Valley Campus celebrated the opening of its new college library in the historic pink library building. The college library moved into the historic buildings in the summer of 2012 with the intention of serving all five of the college’s campuses, in addition to being open to the public. After being listed on Preservation Alliance of WV’s 2010 Endangered Properties List, the City of Lewisburg replaced the roof, installed a heating and air conditioning system, and rehabilitated the wood windows with the help of Lynn Stasick, statewide field representative. The City of Lewisburg leased the library and annex buildings to the College, which finished the renovations. The main library building was built in 1834 to be used as a law library by the jurist of the State Supreme Court of Virginia, and the annex was a former slave house.
2010: Greenbrier County Public Library is a 1834 Adams style building in Greenbrier County and was significant as the “Library and Study for the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia” prior to West Virginia statehood in 1863. The building served as a Union hospital and barracks and still has soldier’s inscriptions on the interior walls. Owned by the town of Lewisburg since 1935, it was the Greenbrier County Library from 1941 until 2007. The building is reasonably stable, but interior floors have buckled due to water intrusion, and water pipes have burst from lack of heat. It needs a new roof and rehabilitation of windows and bathrooms. The New River Community and Technical College is interested in creating a student fine arts gallery and arts library here.
2010: Hawk’s Nest State Park Museum at Ansted was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The native chestnut log building sits atop massive fieldstone foundations. Until 2005, the museum housed the Calhoun Collection and Native American artifacts. This building serves as an anchor for the lower park picnic area, gift shop, restrooms, and New River overlook; all constructed by the CCC. The museum closed due to accessibility issues and is in need of major repairs. Work on roof, gutters, siding, timbers, stonework, windows, and heat are all needed. Once repaired, the building can be an interpretation center for the park.
2010: Berkeley Springs Train Depot is a 1915 Mission/Spanish Revival style depot features a low profile and red tile roof. It is locally significant as being the last remnant of the once-present Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The depot was rented to the town of Bath (Berkeley Springs) until 2005 as a municipal center and police department. In 2009 the building was closed due to its rapidly deteriorating condition. The heavy roof tiles are falling through the rotting underlayment with temporary supports to stabilize the eaves. Once rehabilitated, the facility will house a community meeting center with displays showcasing the B&O railroad significance with the depot as the remaining icon of the era.
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.