Latest News, WV Press InSight Videos

Groups work to preserve Raleigh County coal camp

Photo submitted to The Register-Herald These historic coal camp apartments in Helen will be mothballed until further renovation occurs.
Photo submitted to The Register-Herald
These historic coal camp apartments in Helen will be mothballed until further renovation occurs.

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Preservation, development, community and government agencies have banded together to preserve an apartment complex in the Raleigh County coal camp community of Helen for future generations. The project could serve as a model for preservation groups across the state.

David Rotenizer, Raleigh County extension agent, said the apartment building was marked for demolition as a dilapidated and abandoned property by the county, but losing the buildings might have prevented the town from being considered as a future historic district on the National Register.

 “Helen is one of the best preserved coal camps in the Winding Gulf Coalfields and our goal is to preserve this building for its historic value to the community and the potential for the community to one day become a historic district,” said Rotenizer.

The former owner agreed to sign the property over to We Grow: Winding Gulf Restoration Organization for assistance in paying off back taxes. In December the county commission agreed to pay back taxes and transferred the property to the local group.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the project is that groups like National Coal Heritage Highway Authority, Department of Environmental Protection, Raleigh County Commission, Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority, Mountain State Leaders Program, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia and the WVU Extension Service are all working together to make sure this structure from the past has the chance for a future.

During the weekend of April 11, agencies and volunteers will work to clean trash from the structure and secure the property through a process called “architectural mothballing…

 

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter