Museum, protected status in works for Burr house

August 09, 1999

Peter Burr HouseBy DAVE McMILLION

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Staff Writer, Charles TownCHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Plans are coming together for a museum to commemorate West Virginia's oldest timber frame house.

The 248-year-old Peter Burr house along W.Va. 9 about five miles west of Charles Town has remained intact through the decades, despite development around the home.

The two-story home is within sight of the Burr Industrial Park, and is a short distance from T.W. Lowery Elementary School.


The house is on its way to permanent protection with the help of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, which took possession of the structure last year.

The commission plans to develop a museum at the site of the house, including a meeting room, gift shop and restrooms, said Liz Thompson, spokeswoman for the commission.

The commission has developed a 10-year plan for the development for the museum, said Thompson.

The idea is to create a "poor man's Williamsburg" at the site, Thompson said.

The commission wants to keep the museum simple to help convey the story of Peter Burr. Although Burr was the cousin of Aaron Burr, vice president of the United States between 1801-1805, Peter Burr was considered to be an average farmer, said Thompson.

The commission has already started living-history programs at the site to depict life in Jefferson County during the mid-1700s. The demonstrations have included shingle splitting, candle making and gardening, said Thompson.

The museum will be in a two-story log structure and a frame house that were built about the same time as the Peter Burr house, Thompson said.

The buildings, which were recently donated to the commission, will be dismantled and moved from their site in nearby Shenandoah Junction and reconstructed at the Peter Burr property, according to Thompson.

The commission plans to start moving the structures this fall.

Meanwhile, the commission has hired a firm to plan complete renovation of the Peter Burr house.

The Peter Burr house is considered to be the oldest timber frame structure in the state and is one of the last houses still standing that demonstrates Connecticut-style architecture of its day, Thompson said.

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