Now available on the online edition of the West Virginia Encyclopedia is a virtual exhibit of 58 historic Charleston houses. Each of the 58 houses have been chosen for their age and/or cultural significance. The online exhibit contains the list of names and photographs of the houses. A brief history of the selected house is displayed when either a photographs or a name on the online exhibit is clicked.
The online exhibit presents houses found on Charleston’s five historic districts: the East End, South Hills’ Grosscup Road area, West Side’s Edgewood Neighborhood, residential areas and commercial properties in the downtown and Elk City districts. Some of the houses on the exhibit are still maintaned as private residences.
Among those in the exhibit is a house found on West side’s Second Avenue designed by John C. Norman, the second black architect licensed in West Virginia. Also included are houses moved across the Kanawha River by barged when the Capitol was built. The circular house also known as Top O Rock in MacCorkle Avenue made it as the newest house in the exhibit – built in 1968 by the late architect Henry Elden.
On the other the Holly Grove, found next to the Governor’s Mansion on Kanawha Boulevard, is the oldest house on the exhibit having been built in 1815 by Daniel Ruffner.Among those houses included in the exhibit built before the Civil War is the 175-year-old MacFarland-Hubbard House also on Kanawha Boulevard and current address of the Humanities council.
The online exhibit was put together by Becky Caldwell, editor of the online edition of The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Due to the project, she was able to add more informartion on the online encyclopedia on the architects and houses’ owners as well as entries on architecture, historic preservation and National Register of Historic Places.
Her consultants for the online exhibit included Billy Peyton, Professor of History at West Virginia State University, historian Ken Bailey and the president of the Kanawha Valley Historical and Preservation Society, Henry Battle. She credits Mike Keller, media editor for e-WV for the photographs. It took approximately six months to complete the online exhibit.