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
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.