Alliance declares historic stone walls across West Virginia "endangered"

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Alliance declares historic stone walls across West Virginia
More than 100 years old, an unmortared stone wall in Charleston requires no repair. (Photo: David Sibray)

ELKINS, W.Va. — To help educate the public about the value and stability of historic stone walls, the has declared those in historic districts across the Mountain State "endangered."

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According to Danielle Parker, the organization's executive director, "statewide, hand-cut stone walls aged 50 years or older are part of this endangered properties listing."

Historic stone walls retain the hill surrounding the McDowell County Courthouse.

The alliance, comprised of experts in historic preservation, publishes a list of endangered historic properties annually. This year, it added the Charleston Municipal Auditorium and the .

Properties added to the list are eligible for targeted advocacy, statewide publicity, and technical assistance through the alliance. They may apply for alliance grants and collaborate with the alliance for fundraising assistance. Endangered sites also receive a preference for hands-on alliance workshops.

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Though many such walls in West Virginia are over 100 years old and require repair, they are vital to historic districts, and repair is often less expensive than replacement, according to David Sibray, a member of the organization's board.

While the walls are aging, Sibray said the actual danger is the perception that they are unstable or cannot be repaired.

"As a licensed real estate agent, I'm here to tell folks that their property values can tumble when these walls are replaced rather than repaired," Sibray said.

More information about the "West Virginia Endangered Properties List" may be found on the alliance's website at . Persons interested in assisting with preservation projects may contact the organization at info@pawv.org or 304-345-6005.

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