In 2019, the Davis Coal & Coke Company Administrative Building in Thomas was placed on PAWV’s West Virginia Endangered Properties List due to years of vacancy and deferred maintenance.
The Vandalia Heritage Foundation and Friends of Blackwater have continued to work alongside the City of Thomas to rehabilitate the former headquarters of the company founded by coal magnate Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. Some promising progress has been made so far through funding from a 2019 West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office grant matched by the Vandalia Heritage Foundation.
In 2020, significant repairs were made to the basement level of the building by Past Respects. A failing foundation wall was replaced, the floor was leveled, the basement door was restored, and brick and stone were salvaged for use as a sidewalk. Some rotting flooring on the first level was removed, while other serviceable parts were left intact.
An update from the Friends of Blackwater notes that the completion of initial repairs and stabilization work allows one to “see how the building – state of the art for the era – functioned as the command center of a huge workforce of laborers and craftspeople of every description – from miners to teamsters, from trackmen to engineers, from masons to clerks.”
Judy Rodd, Director of Friends of Blackwater, is hopeful for the future of this historic Tucker County building, and notes that Friends of Blackwater, along with community partners, are currently searching for more funding to continue restoration efforts. To learn more, visit https://saveblackwater.org/?s=engineering+building
In 2002, PAWV added the Cass Historic District to one of its first ever West Virginia Endangered Properties List. When it was listed in 2002, it had been sitting unused and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources had just taken ownership.
PAWV recently caught up with the Superintendent of the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park to learn about the successes going on within the Cass Historic District, which is incorporated into the State Park. Watch this video to learn about the preservation, restoration, and recreation at the park over the last 20 years.
The town of Belington, WV has worked to successfully preserve a major cultural asset: The Golden Rule building, a landmark structure built in 1902 and a reminder of the town’s flourishing commercial past. In 2014, The Golden Rule was identified as an endangered property by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia due to years of deferred maintenance.
The Belington Revitalization Committee (BRC) identified the restoration of the Golden Rule building as a top priority for the community. It teamed up with Woodlands Development Group to fund stabilization, list the building on the National Register of Historic Places, and gradually rehabilitate it for redevelopment as a mixed-use building. Rehabilitation work began in 2018 after Woodlands Development Group procured the property, and has continued throughout the years.
The redevelopment of the former vacant Golden Rule is a major boost to the community of Belington, whose history is intertwined with the building. For nearly 100 years, the building was home to a grocery turned department store. Now, it has gained new life as affordable 1- and 2-bedroom apartments upstairs and will function as a community event space and possible business space on the first floor.
A community event was held in the newly opened building on May 22, 2021 to celebrate the successful rehabilitation project. Vendors interested in occupying the retail space should contact 304-823-1531, while apartment rental inquiries should be directed to 304-636-6495.
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.