Building the Beverly Heritage Center
The Beverly Heritage Center interpretive museum and visitor center project brings together four adjoining buildings in the heart of historic Beverly, Randolph County, W.Va. The historically significant 1900 Beverly Bank building, the 1808 Randolph County Court House, the 1912 Hill building, and the 1856 Bushrod Crawford building have all been carefully rehabilitated and connected. They are now linked by a new, enclosed, porch-like entrance gallery on what was originally the rear of the buildings, providing unity for the complex with space for modern visitor services and handicapped accessibility without modifying the historic facades.
The concept plans for the Beverly Heritage Center complex grew out of a multiyear planning process by Historic Beverly Preservation and Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation with help from the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance and other community organizations. The Museum Plan laid out the proposal for the Beverly Heritage Center to serve as the visitor center and museum for the Byway, Rich Mountain, and Historic Beverly. The Beverly Heritage Center was planned to provide an exciting, major upgrade to the programming available at the original Visitor Center, and to serve as an anchor and attraction for visitors coming to the area.
The original planning process included heritage tourism consultant Scott Gerloff of Potomac Heritage Partnership, museum consultant Dan Murphy from PRD Group, architect Victor Greco of SMG Architects, and landscape architect Jack Ankrom of EDG. During the process we held focus groups and public meetings, as well as multiple meetings with the planning group from HBP and the partner groups. SMG Architects remained the architect throughout the project, with later landscape work by Hayes Landscape Architectural Studio. Museum exhibit development became a team process led by museum designer David Vago, content consultants Hunter Lesser, Rob Whetsell, and Richard Wolfe, and a team of scholars, staff, and volunteers who helped design and implement the exhibits. The introductory film was produced by The Walkabout Co.
Construction work on the Beverly Heritage Center began in the fall of 2004, with multiple phases working on the different buildings. Major contractors were Allegheny Restoration and Steorts Contracting. As of summer 2012, major work is complete on all four historic buildings and the new gallery, and the four major exhibits are installed and open. Work on remaining tasks including the gallery floor, landscaping, and rebuilding the Courthouse cupola is planned to resume in fall of 2012.
The Beverly Heritage Center is a partnership effort between Historic Beverly Preservation, Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance, along with other community and regional heritage groups.
The slideshow video (top) was authored by Jessica Serrao with assistance from Kristina Gaddy and Megan Grisolano, as a part of their service to Historic Beverly as AFHA AmeriCorps members. Photos used include photos by Walter Smalling, Phyllis Baxter, and Jessica Serrao.Historical photos courtesy Randolph County Historical Society and Historic Beverly Preservation.