The former United Brethren Church

150-year-old building in downtown Buckhannon receives ‘Saving Historic Places’ grant

BUCKHANNON — A historic building in Buckhannon recently received nearly $12,000 in federal funds for window repair.

The former United Brethren Church on Florida Street received a Saving Historic Places Grant from the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, according to a press release. The building is currently being renovated by local artist Tim Hibbs, owner of the Blaxxmith Shop Studio Art Gallery, to serve as a creative hub for groups like the Infamous Art Collective.

Read My Buckhannon’s previous coverage by clicking here. Below is the full press release announcing the grants:

The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia recently introduced the first four recipients of the newly established Fund for Historic Schools Grant, as well as four recipients of Saving Historic Places Grants.

Recipients of The Fund for Historic Schools Grants include:

  • Rupert School (Greenbrier County), 
  • ​Calhoun County High School, 
  • Bluestone School in Bramwell (Mercer County), and 
  • Waiteville School (Monroe County)​​

Round two Saving Historic Places Grant recipients include:

  • Tyree Tavern (Ansted, Fayette County), 
  • Hughes House (Wheeling, Ohio County), 
  • Kerns Fort (Morgantown, Monongalia County), and 
  • The Former United Brethren Church (Buckhannon, Upshur County).

“The goal of both the Fund for Historic Schools and Saving Historic Places Grant (SHP Grant) is economic development,” said executive director Danielle Parker. “For the schools program, special attention is placed on vacant schools because of the serious negative effects their vacancy and deterioration have on rural communities. While the SHP Grant helps to save endangered historic places. In all cases, these projects have high levels of community support, demonstrable reuse plans, and potential for positive economic growth in disadvantaged communities. We look forward to being able to contribute subgrant awards to the rehabilitation of these historic buildings, and we would like to thank our funder, the National Park Service, for making this possible through a Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant.” 

About the Round Two Saving Historic Places Grant Projects

Tyree Tavern, an historic inn and tavern that was occupied at times by both Confederate and Union troops, was constructed c. 1800 and independently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This project has been awarded $12,000 for structural beam replacement work.

Friends of Wheeling’s Hughes House restoration project will receive $10,000 for window restoration. The nonprofit organization is working to save the historic structure which is an important piece of the North Wheeling National Historic District streetscape. 

Kerns Fort in Morgantown is a settler’s cabin built in 1772 that served as a fort during early colonization and housed militia during the Revolutionary war. The building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been awarded $15,000 for a new roof to prevent water intrusion.

The former United Brethren Church, a Gothic Revival style brick church built in 1873, is a contributing structure to Buckhannon’s Central Residential Historic District. Adaptive reuse of the building will bring creative arts endeavors to the district. This project has been awarded $11,817 for window stabilization and repair.

In 2023, PAWV developed the Fund for Historic Schools, a subprogram of the Saving Historic Places Grant Program and won a $750,000 Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant from the National Park Service to support the program. The Fund for Historic Schools Grant is a competitive grant program designed to encourage economic development through the renovation and preservation of certified historic school buildings in rural West Virginia communities experiencing high levels of poverty while saving these meaningful community landmarks for generations to come.

About the Fund for Historic Schools Grant Program Projects

The Rupert School building project has been awarded $275,000 for roof and window replacement. The former school building was built in 1942 and decommissioned in 2019. Not wanting to lose the building to neglect, the community rallied to find a new use for the school. Woodlands Development Group has purchased the Rupert School building and plans to redevelop it as a health clinic and affordable housing. 

Calhoun County High School is in the process of being redeveloped into a community center improving health, education, and economic outcomes for nearby residents. This project, spearheaded by The 1982 Foundation, will receive $275,000 for window rehabilitation and replacement work.

Bluestone School was an African American high school in Bramwell whose architectural plans were produced by master architect Alex B Mahood. The schoolhouse is a contributing structure to Bramwell Additions Historic District. This project is slated to receive $65,000 for window rehabilitation. 

Waiteville School, a one-story classic schoolhouse topped with a cupola and bell, was built in 1950 and is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Waiteville Community Center, Inc. will receive $50,000 for the installation of storm windows and flooring rehabilitation work so that the building can serve the community as a hub for gatherings and as an emergency warming center. 

Dr. Lyn Guy, former Superintendent of Monroe County Schools, advocates for saving meaningful, but defunct, school buildings from neglect and demolition and instead, putting them to good use: “The Waiteville School is one of those cherished places, where a small community now has a community center,  dedicated organizations, and many, many volunteers, who hold it dear.”

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