County plans historic review downtown

September 27, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County officials have agreed to conduct a historical review on a group of county office buildings along Washington Street that may be torn down for new office space, officials said.

The historical review, which will be conducted by TRC of Nashville, Tenn., will examine issues such as the physical characteristics of the buildings and whether they have any history significance, said Jefferson County Commission member Jane Tabb.

The study, which will cost $10,054, will help the commissioners decide whether the buildings should be torn down, Tabb said.

The structures include offices that house agencies such as the Jefferson County Planning Commission, Jefferson County Tax Office and Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, county officials said.


Earlier in the year, the county commissioners said they were studying up to four proposals to create new office space downtown, a project that could cost up to $30 million depending on which plan might be chosen.

Tearing down the old Jefferson County Jail at the corner of George and Liberty streets has been considered as a way to make room for new office space.

Jefferson County Preservation Alliance to Save Our Heritage, a group of local residents, has been fighting the move, saying the jail should be preserved because of its architecture and because of a series of trials that were held in Charles Town in 1922 for miners involved in a labor uprising referred to as the Battle of Blair Mountain in southern West Virginia.

Although the commissioners have voted to tear down the jail, they have discussed whether they could change their decision.

A recent historical review of the jail said demolition of the building would have an "adverse effect" on Charles Town's historic district.

The historical review also said demolition of the jail would damage the north facade of the Jefferson County Courthouse and change the character of the town's historic setting.

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