Beckley Courthouse Square Historic District

Endangered national landmarks in Beckley, W.Va.

The Beckley Courthouse Square National Historic District includes an eight-block area of civic, commercial, residential, and ecclesiastical structures in Beckley, West Virginia, in Raleigh County. The district was dedicated chiefly as a result of the integrity of its early 20th-century architecture, though many buildings have since been altered or destroyed, leading state officials to warn that federal status is threatened.

Development in the district is managed by the Beckley Historical Landmarks Commission, a municipal zoning and architectural review board. The former Beckley Ice & Feed Store, also an independent national landmark, lay outside the district and was demolished in 2013.

Historic District Controversy

The district has long been troubled by errant development.  State officials in 2007 reprimanded the city for demolishing buildings within the district and for a lack of code enforcement that had allowed property owners to inappropriately renovate buildings. In 2013 state officials warned the city that the destruction of three more buildings on Neville Street, as had been proposed by developer Dan Bickey, could lead to the district’s removal from the national register. The dissolution would end state and federal assistance programs, including  grant, tax credit, and low-interest loan programs that are currently provided to property owners. Consultants have informed city officials and property owners that destruction of the district through demolition and inappropriate development will negatively affect values and commercial viability.

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