Downtown Kingwood Historic District Walking Tour
A walking tour of the downtown section of the Kingwood Historical District.
This home was constructed for James and Persis McGrew in the early 1840s. The McGrews raised each of their three children here and expanded the home after the Civil War. McGrew, an influential representative that supported the Union during the Virginia Secession Convention, used his influence along with others to garner support for secession from Virginia and the creation of the pro-Union state of West Virginia. His home also served as the childhood home of William C. McGrew, a state delegate and mayor of Morgantown. After James McGrew's death in 1910, the home passed through a variety of hands before the town scheduled it for demolition. The local tourism bureau and a group of volunteers saved the house, however, with a successful nomination to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The Society for the Preservation of the McGrew House now operates as a museum and educational center devoted to the study of James McGrew and local history. While the house is open every third Sunday on summer months, during special events, and upon advanced request, the society's gift shop is open from May to October on Friday afternoon and evening and on Saturday mornings.
The Kingwood National Bank building, built in 1908, stands on the northeast corner of Main and Price Streets. This is a fine two-story, Romanesque Style structure with rusticated ashlar stone facades. The building currently houses the law offices of Virginia Hopkins.
The Preston County Journal Building was built in 1880 by William 0. Dawson, who established the Journal (a local newspaper), later became Governor of West Virginia.
Constructed by local attorney James A. Brown in 1859 for his wife Isabel, the Preston County Inn has served as such for the past seventy-seven years. Unfortunately, Isabel died of smallpox within the first year of the couple's residence in their new home. The two-story brick Federal-style structure remained James' home, during which time he played a prominent role in local politics. In 1861 the residents of Preston County elected him to serve as its prosecuting attorney, in which capacity he helped to maintain law and order during the area's secession from the Confederate state of Virginia. He served in that position for two years, and went on after the Civil War to run (unsuccessfully) for judge of the Third Circuit Court in 1880. Brown's house passed through a number of hands after his death before becoming an inn in 1932. Since then, the inn has seen ten different owners. It currently houses a restaurant and guest rooms operated by Jean and Deb Guillot, who visited the area in the early 2000s and purchased the inn shortly thereafter. The Guillots have pieced together an extensive history of the building and James A. Brown himself, which is available on their website. Guests can book rooms at the inn throughout the year and visit the restaurant for lunch Monday to Saturday and dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
The Preston County Courthouse Complex was built in 1930. It is a good example of the Art Deco or Public Style building of this period. There are only a few of this type of Courthouse in the state. It is constructed of beautiful pink sandstone.
The Old Hospital Building located at 103 West Court Street was built in 1905. This building, which is in use today as law offices, was the first hospital in Kingwood.
The C. M. Bishop Residence was built in 1872. The current configuration appears to indicate that there was a major addition at some time since the original construction.
The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1878. It was made of local brick and the cost of the building and furnishings was approximately $6,000.00.
Incorporated on January 2, 1841, the Kingwood Academy was one of the earliest schools built in Preston County, West Virginia. Established due to increasing population and a boom in the economy of the county, this building was an integral part of Kingwood, West Virginia and its community. Prominent West Virginians, including first president of West Virginia University, Rev. Alexander Martin, got their start teaching at the Academy.
The Old Gas Station located on the southwest corner of Price and High Street was built in 1927. This station, with its red tile roof, is reminiscent of the first service stations in this century, and was a package design produced by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.
This church was built in 1879 with local brick from a brickyard which was located on the north side of Main Street, in the dip just below the post office.
The Bonafield House of Wesley United Methodist Church is believed to have been built in the early 1850s.