BECKLEY, W.Va. — Engineer Chris Galitz will present a program on the maintenance of historic brick buildings at 5:15 p.m., March 12 at the Downtown Beckley Business Association’s bi-monthly meeting.
Most buildings in the city’s downtown historic district are of brick, so association members thought that engaging a masonry expert would be of particular benefit, David Sibray, an association spokesman, explained.
“Property owners in downtown are concerned about the feasibility of maintaining their buildings, especially now that they know that state and federal financing is available,” Sibray said.
A professor of engineering at Virginia Tech, Galitz has authored articles on the subject of brick maintenance and is a frequent expert witness on construction matters.
All downtown property and business owners and tenants and members of the general public are invited to attend the program, which will be held at the Tickety-Boo Mercantile at 337 Neville St. Association. Members are asking that all who attend consider donating $10 to help cover the speaker’s fee and related costs.
Sibray said upcoming programs will focus on the economics of national historic districts.
For membership information or to make arrangements to attend, please contact Jim Chambers at 304-573-4332 or David Sibray at 304-575-7390.
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia today announced during a press conference at the state capitol the addition of three resources to its list of more than 40 endangered historical properties in West Virginia.
A farmhouse in Mount Nebo, a service station in Fayettevillle, and the entire national historic district in Beckley have been designated as endangered by the alliance, according to its executive director, Danielle LaPresta.
Disclosed every February since 2009, the list has become one of the organization’s most useful tools and has allowed it to build interest in the rescue of threatened landmarks and landscapes. Properties that make the list qualify for assistance through the alliance.
LaPresta said this year’s announcement is noteworthy in that it includes a multi-property national historic district.
LaPresta said the organization is considering how it will provide assistance to property owners in Beckley as the endangered resource is so large. Typically the resource is smaller, as is the case with the former Esso station at Fayetteville, in Fayette County, and a farm near Mount Nebo, in Nicholas County.
The former service station on W.Va. 16 was built in 1945 and operated through the late 1990s. In 2014, the current owners purchased the station with the intent to renovate it and pursue a tenant to operate a shop or restaurant. During the period between the closing and sale, the station was neglected. Its leaky, failing roof could collapse from the weight of snow and water damage within has caused mold and white rot issues, LaPresta said.
“The owners are passionate about rehabilitating this property, but they have little experience with preservation,” she said, “so we’ll help provide the guidance they need to save the site before it deteriorates beyond a point of salvage.”
The Old White House, near Mount Nebo, is a two-story log structure covered in clapboard and built in about 1845 by Matthew McClung on land given to him by his grandfather William McClung, a settler who claimed nearly 100,000 acres on the Gauley River. The farm has been in the McClung and McMillion families since. For the past 30 years, it sat vacant and suffered from vandalism and from water damage from a leaking roof, LaPresta said.
“The owners are in the process of passing ownership to their grandson, who is passionate about restoring the property and will implement a management policy so that it may serve as a community resource,” she said.
After being nominated by individuals and organizations, properties which have been added to the alliance’s list are selected through a competitive application process based on imminent danger, on local support for their reuse, and on their eligibility for or listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The organization’s field services representative, Lynn Stasick, works with local residents rallying to save and repurpose these endangered sites, providing advocacy, capacity building, and preservation assistance such as structural needs assessments.
Endangered properties that are not immediately eligible for the list may be eligible for the alliance’s new Buildings-At-Risk Register program. These properties are not immediately eligible for technical services, but their listing may be used as a means to leverage support and may be added at any time of year. Inclusion on the register may also be the first step on the approach to the endangered properties list.
Current endangered properties in West Virginia may be found of the Preservation Alliance’s website.
Citizens who are interested in assisting with preservation projects may contact the alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.pawv.org for preservation updates, for more information about each of the endangered properties, or to download a nomination form for next year’s endangered properties list.
The Purple Fiddle found its home in 2001 on Front Street in what was formerly the Depollo Building. Joseph DePollo opened his general store on Front Street in 1903. The present building was constructed in 1915-16 and the family of 10 lived on the upper floors. The store functioned as a gathering place for miners on the way to and from work. The DePollo store still features many of its original features, inside and out, including the counters, shelves, ceiling and storefronts. The Purple Fiddle continues to serve as a gathering place for locals and visitors today. The owners consider the people the best attribute of the Fiddle, writing, “What is cultivated here is heart-warming and very much in the spirit of longtime Depollo Store owner, Mr. John DePollo, and his impromptu social gatherings. Its is more than just a place to meet and greet, it has become the heart of an amazing community, where tender and creative souls gather to nurture powerful ideas and build surprising futures.”
The Purple Fiddle has drawn many talented groups over the years, including the now world-famous Avett Brothers. Other up-and-coming bands continue to put the Fiddle on their tour stops. As The Purple Fiddle continues to thrive, quality entertainment is never hard to find on the weekends in Thomas, WV.
Combine your stop at the Fiddle with near-by outdoor excursions including Blackwater Falls State Park, Canaan Valley State Park, Whitegrass Cross-Country Ski Area, and Timberline Downhill ski resort.
Learn more about the Purple Fiddle schedule: http://purplefiddle.com/.
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