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Beverly’s Historic Architecture

The town of Beverly, both in and out of the Beverly Historic District, contains examples of a wide variety of late nineteenth and early twentieth century architectural styles, including Cabin, I-House, Tri-Gable L, Princess or Queen Anne, Bungalow, and Commercial.  Some of these buildings are academic, “textbook” examples of their particular style. More common - and equally significant - are the vernacular buildings that show the influence of popular styles primarily in their decorative detailing.

The Beverly Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It includes the historic structures located from the Beverly Cemetery south along Main Street to just past Files Creek, as well as a few structures on Water Street and Walnut Street. A recent survey sponsored by the Beverly Historic Landmark Commission, funded by a CLG grant from the WV State Historic Preservation Office has updated the information about these structures and others in Beverly, and the information learned in that survey is included in this web site. Three additional sites have individual listings on the National Register: the Blackman-Bosworth Store; Butcher Hill (Ward House); and outside of Beverly, Rich Mountain Battlefield.

Much of the existing and historic architecture in Beverly is residential in character.  The overall ambiance of the town is one of a residential community.  There is a small section of concentrated development around the original courthouse square containing some commercial buildings.

The distinctive characteristics which define a building’s style are especially important to preserve, and should receive special consideration in planning for maintenance or rehabilitation.  For more information on preservation recommendations for Beverly, as well as a Bibliography of further resources, see the Beverly Design Guidelines.

 

Residential styles

 

Cabins

Many of the earliest buildings in Beverly were log cabins.  These were either one- or two-story rectangular houses with few windows or openings. Technically, these cabins are included in the designation Pre-Railroad Folk Houses.  The houses built during this period spanned the long interval between the earliest permanent settlements of the 17th century and the growth of the railroads as an efficient national transportation network in the last half of the 19th century.  Throughout these two hundred years, many modest dwellings were, of necessity, constructed of local materials without stylistic embellishment. Because the eastern half of the country was covered with virgin forests, wooden folk building became the rule here. As sawmills became more accessible in the area, the log construction was replaced by post and beam structures, or by frame buildings.  In most cases, the log cabins that survived very long were added to, and the exterior and interior surfaces covered over, as the family became more established. 

A few of these cabins still exist as parts of larger homes, including sections of the Collett House, the Peter Buckey House, the Rowan House, and the Butcher House. The Stalnaker Cabin, which has been moved from south of Beverly, is being restored as an example of a log cabin.

 

I-House

Another very common example of Folk Houses is the I-House. This style, two rooms wide and one room deep, is a traditional British folk form.  They are usually two-stories high, with a central entrance and hall, and a gable roof.  It is most commonly either 3-bay (window, door, window) across the front, or 5-bay (2 windows, door, 2 windows).  As seen from the front, these houses are basically symmetrical.  Most of these houses in the Beverly vicinity are built of wood frame construction, but a few are of brick.  Often they would have a one or two story L extension at right angles in the rear, either as an original cabin that was added on to, as an integral part of the original construction, or as a later addition.  I-houses in Beverly and vicinity (they were also common as farmhouses) still exist dating from the early 19th century through the early 20th century. 

Some houses that were originally I-houses have been added on to either at one end or at the back, making the original configuration less obvious today.  Chimney placement can help to indicate the age of the house, as the early 19th century houses tended to have outside end chimneys on either end, while later houses would more likely have interior chimneys.  Earlier homes were also more likely to have windows with 6 or more panes, or lights, in each sash, while later houses would have fewer, larger, lights.  The larger and more affluent houses of this type may be considered to be of Federal style of architecture, or may have some Federal style ornamentation such as shutters or doors with sidelights or fanlights.

 

Federal Style

This is a residential style that usually contains a side gable or front gable entrance; two stories tall, with a simple exterior appearance.  Openings, doors and windows are generally symmetrical on the facade.  Windows may be six over six or nine over nine or other variations on multiple panes.  There is a shallow overhang of the roof, sometimes with corbeled brick or other detailing at the top of the wall.  Gable rakes are usually the same plane as the wall. The entrance may have a fanlight or sidelights.

 

Tri-Gable L

By the late 19th or early 20th century, it became more common to build houses that were not symmetrical in their front appearance. This style descended from Greek Revival-styled houses and became common in rural areas.  In this style, an additional side-gabled wing was added at right angles to the gable-front plan to give a compound, gable-front-and-wing shape. These are called a tri-gable L for the three gables.  A shed-roofed porch was typically placed within the L made by the two wings.  These homes were usually wood frame, often with ornamental trim or scrollwork and possibly bay windows.

 

Princess or Queen Anne Style

This highly ornamented, asymmetrical building style was popular from 1880 through 1910. These usually wood framed buildings often had a front-facing gable dominating the asymmetrical facade and frequently a tower. This style is characterized by steeply pitched roof of irregular shape featuring a combination of hipped and gable roofs, wall texture variations including patterned shingles, with German, clapboard, or shingle siding, and cutaway bay windows, and other devices to avoid a smooth-walled appearance. There is much wood ornamentation at the eaves, the porches, around the windows and doors, and at the crest of the roof. A partial or full-width one-story porch often extended along one or both sidewalls.

Elaborate versions of this style -- often architect-designed -- were called “Queen Anne,” while less elaborate houses utilizing some of the same elements are known as “Princess Anne.”

In Beverly, the Humbolt Yokum House, the Cunningham House, and the Ward House are Queen Anne.

 

Bungalow or Craftsman Style

A number of Beverly houses from 1905 through 1940 are of a bungalow style.  These are likely to be one or 1 ½ story, with low-pitched, gabled roof (occasionally hipped). Identifying features of this style are wide, unenclosed eave overhang with brackets or roof rafters usually exposed and decorative (false) beams or braces commonly added under gables. Many had dormers, either gable or shed roofed. The broad and prominent porches were a feature of the house, with porch roofs sometimes integral to the roofline instead of added on. Supporting the porch roof were usually square, tapered, or squat columns or pedestals frequently extending to ground level without a break at the level of the porch floor. Many had raised first floors, with a “heavy” appearing foundation level, of brick, stone or molded concrete block. Many windows were novelty shapes with odd numbered vertical divisions in the upper sash.

 

Commercial and Public Buildings

Many early commercial buildings were of similar styles to the houses.  Some were simple rectangular buildings, with either the side or gable end facing the street, but more massive than the houses.  They were typically two stories built of either wood frame or brick. Most would be called Commercial Style, as a descriptor of simple commercial architecture that does not follow clear and definitive architectural styling patterns of a known period.

An unusual feature found in several early Beverly commercial buildings and houses are windows with 9 lights above 6 lights.

The later commercial buildings often feature large plate glass windows with flat transoms on the first floor entry level and rectangular, single pane, double hung, sash windows with an unenriched window frame, sill and lintel.  Roofs are flat or with low-pitched lines and features a small cornice with little detailing or decoration, if one still remains.

Many of the commercial buildings built from the 1890’s through the 1920’s had a “false front” facade with a front parapet wall with a gable or false gable peak in the center.  Some were covered with stamped metal siding instead of wood siding.