Preserving WV: Elkins Coal and Coke Building - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Preserving WV: Elkins Coal and Coke Building

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The Mon River and Deckers Creek Trails span across 48 miles of West Virginia. Tucked away on Deckers Creek Trail is the Elkins Coal and Coke Building. It's 13 miles from Morgantown in Masontown. It's suffered from dilapidation and vandalism but one group is hoping to make it a part of the trails and not just a part of history.

"This is currently a trail head," said Ella Belling, from the Monongahela River Trails Conservancy. "But we have a vision to see this building turned into restrooms and a visitor information center for trail users, and travelers on Route 7."

The building is part of the Elkins Coal and Coke Historic District, one of the few National Historic Landmarks in West Virginia.

The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is helping restore the building that went up in 1907. Elkins Coal and Coke industry switched from direct current to alternating current, which is more efficient, around the same time.

"We had an industrial archeologist in here and he looked around," said Lynn Stasick, from the PAWV. "You'll see these three broken off, enormous insulators. What we think is, and we really don't have much proof of this, that this was a power substation when they put in the new alternating current."

The Monongahela River Trails Conservancy is fund-raising and overseeing the preservation process.

The building had to have mounds of garbage cleaned out, and be closed off.

Access to the Elkins Coal and Coke Building, back to the rail trail, is only a short walk away. Which made the building vulnerable to different types of vandalism.

Slate is waiting inside the building to repair the roof. It's a major project that is on it's way to being completed, but the final product is still a far way off.

"It's one of the few remnants left of the coal and coke boom. Rail trail is a part of that history, because it once was the Morgantown to Kingwood railroad corridor," said Belling. "It was built purely under the goal of getting coal and coke into the Pittsburgh and Bethlehem steel industry so it helped power the country and it's a critical piece to try to save."

Turning this building into a visitor's center and bathrooms for the rails trails is going to take more than $100,000. If you would like to volunteer your time, or donate to the restoration, visit the Monongahela River Trails Conservancy website.

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