|See a media presentation on the restoration
of the Beverly Heritage Center buildings HERE
Or go see the new BEVERLY HERITAGE CENTER website.
Beverly Heritage Center
The Beverly Heritage Center is rapidly becoming a top-quality attraction in the region. This interpretive museum and visitor center project brings together four adjoining buildings in the heart of historic Beverly, Randolph County, West Virginia. The 1900 Beverly Bank building, the 1808 Randolph County Court House, the 1906 Hill building, and the 1856 Bushrod Crawford building are linked together to form a 21st Century museum. Contractors and staff have worked hard renovating these buildings, installing exhibits, and creating a first-class museum facility.
The completed Beverly Heritage Center will provide:
Museum displays highlighting life and culture in Beverly and surrounding communities as told through the voices and stories of people associated with the town using oral history, folklore, folklife, and traditional music as well as tools, furnishings, decorative objects, and crafts.
Visitor information, a thematically related gift shop, and accessible restrooms.
Research room and archives for documents relating to the First Campaign of the Civil War
Work on the Beverly Heritage Center began in the fall of 2004. A major exhibit, called “Travel A Turnpike Through Time”, opened in June 2008. It interprets the history of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike and its key role in shaping Beverly’s exciting past.
Construction finished on the Hill Building in 2011, and exhibits on Beverly’s role as county seat, its 19th century commercial heyday, and West Virginia’s nationally-important Civil War stories have been developed.
The four buildings have been connected by a new, enclosed, porch-like entrance gallery on what is now 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 Historic Buildings
The Beverly Heritage Center (BHC) combines four significant historic buildings in the core of Beverly’s historic district into one unified Center. The original 1808 Randolph County Courthouse, one of the most significant buildings in the county, forms the core of the center.
The 1854 Bushrod Crawford building, now the Rich Mountain Visitor Center, has Civil War significance as McClellan’s headquarters.
The Beverly Bank building, a distinctive neoclassical revival white brick building, was home to the community’s bank from 1900 to 1933.
The Hill store building (LEFT) was built connecting the Courthouse and the Crawford building around 1907. With a peaked parapet front, stamped metal siding and decorative wood moldings on the upper windows and parapet, it is an attractive example of commercial development in the town during the early 1900s.
The four buildings are now connected by a new entry pavilion on the rear side of the buildings, providing unity for the complex, modern visitor services, and handicapped accessibility without modifying the historic facades.
In addition to being itself an attraction and educational facility, the Beverly Heritage Center supports, interprets and encourage visitation to other sites, displays, and establishments. It provides promotional support to such facilities throughout the Beverly area, at associated Civil War sites around the state and region—including the Rich Mountain Battlefield—and along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Byway, and it is a key attraction for the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area. By telling a range of compelling stories, the Beverly Heritage Center provides context and name recognition for these individual, historic and cultural sites, and thus promoting visitation around the region. This, in turn, will encourage longer visits and return trips. Combined with strong educational and research opportunities for schools, residents and visitors, the Beverly Heritage Center’s exhibits and amenities will make it a showpiece destination for Heritage Tourism.
This project showcases Beverly’s compelling stories. The town was one of the earliest settlements in the Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains, founded as the seat of the newly formed Randolph County in 1790. Beginning in the 1840s, it was a key crossroads on the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, which provided good transportation across the Alleghenies and access to the vitally-important B&O Railroad across Northwestern Virginia. This made it a crucial prize in the First Campaign of the Civil War. General George B. McClellan’s victory at nearby Rich Mountain and capture of Beverly was nationally significant, as it led directly to his appointment as commander of the Army of the Potomac and provided Federal control of northwestern Virginia—making possible the formation of the State of West Virginia.
The Beverly Heritage Center is a partnership effort between Historic Beverly Preservation, Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance, and the Randolph County Historical Society, along with other community and regional heritage groups. Funding to date has included a federal Scenic Byways grant, a state Cultural Facilities Grant, development grants from the State Historic Preservation Office, a National Endowment for the Humanities interpretive grant, and over $200,000 in private donations. The completed project will preserve a wonderful, historic community’s architectural gems, develop an outstanding educational asset for our county and state, and create a high-quality tourist attraction to bring new visitors to our region.
Beverly Heritage Center Plan
(Plan Subject to Revisions as It Progresses - Check Back Here for Updates)
The concept plans for the Beverly Heritage Center complex grew out of a multiyear planning process by Historic Beverly Preservation and its partners, including the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance. The 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. The Museum Plan was developed that laid out the proposal for the Beverly Heritage Center to serve as the Byway, Rich Mountain, and Historic Beverly Visitor Center. The Beverly Heritage Center will provide an exciting, major upgrade to the programming available at the current Visitor Center.
Rear View showing new interpretive center addition
The Visitor Interpretive Center portion of the BHC will feature high-quality interpretation about the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Byway, with Beverly as an example of an early Turnpike community. It will also interpret the First Campaign of the Civil War, which was fought for the control of the Turnpike, and related Civil War stories.
Another component of the completed Center will present a new Appalachian Community Culture gallery featuring authentic furniture, decorative objects, tools, and culture of the central Appalachian region. Beverly will be highlighted with local items and as an example of a nineteenth century town, while the gallery interprets the material culture, stories, and lifestyles of communities along the Turnpike and through the region. The exhibit will be enriched with art, music, and voices representing the culture. In order to keep interest fresh and serve returning visitors, objects exhibited will be rotated periodically, and will be supplemented by periodic presentations and demonstrations of regional music, crafts, folkways, and other cultural expressions.
The Center will also feature visitor information, visitor services, and a high-quality thematically related museum store. The upstairs of the complex will include curation and storage facilities to support the interpretive galleries, Board meeting room, and organizational offices.
Together this complex will provide a unified visitor experience that will attract tourists to the community, and offer them a satisfying experience that will encourage their curiosity and interest in visiting additional related heritage sites in Beverly and along the Byway.
The Beverly Heritage Center is designed as a multi-purpose facility that can serve the Beverly community, the Byway communities, and the region. The Center will serve as a centerpiece for heritage development, anchoring other interpretive and commercial development throughout the historic district. The benefits will extend far beyond a single community, as the Beverly Heritage Center provides a Visitor Center and key attraction for the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Byway, as well as contributing to heritage tourism development for Randolph County and the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area. It is identified as a key project in the Corridor Management Plan for the Byway. (see attachments)
One of the primary goals of this project is to support economic development for the Byway communities. Cultural heritage visitors are highly desirable tourists, who tend to stay longer and spend more while visiting a variety of sites and shops. They also come to see and appreciate a community for what it has to offer, so they tend to be respectful of local mores and customs. The Beverly Heritage Center is designed to be the primary attractor to bring tourists into the community and to the Byway, so that they will then visit the other sites, gift shops, and activities in Beverly and other Byway towns. Development of additional shops, restaurants, and lodging along the Byway will be supported as a result of the Beverly Heritage Center.
While attracting heritage tourists to bring economic opportunity to the region, the Beverly Heritage Center will also provide educational opportunities for the community. Providing interpretation of heritage and culture will benefit the local community in honoring and presenting that heritage, and fostering local pride. In addition, the facility will provide opportunities for educational projects, cultural performances and rotating exhibits, and for activities for schools and community groups.
The BHC is a partnership effort between Historic Beverly Preservation, the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance, Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, and the Beverly Historic Landmark Commission, with close involvement from the Randolph County Historical Society and other groups in the community. By joining together these organizations greatly expand their capacity to undertake a project of this magnitude.
The Augusta Heritage Center will be included as a key partner in the implementation of the Center. They will be closely involved as local experts in traditional Appalachian culture to ensure the quality and accuracy of the presentations. The BHC can offer a venue for Augusta to showcase some of their extensive archives of traditional music and folkways.
The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area will also be a key partner as they work to develop a regional heritage tourism network. The BHC will contribute as a significant attraction for the AFHA, and will reap the benefits of increased visitation from the AFHA efforts.
The BHC will connect with cultural heritage tourism development along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Byway, and throughout the region, including attractions in Elkins and other area communities and throughout the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area. By networking together, the heritage sites will attract more visitors and encourage them to stay longer by offering more quality attractions for them to enjoy. The Beverly Heritage Center will be a key attraction to contribute to this network.
We have already established a strong track record of leveraging to protect and interpret our heritage and cultural resources. Building from a broad membership base and record of successful public relations and fundraising events, tied to strong donor support and aggressive grant writing, we feel confident that we can successfully leverage the funding needed to complete and operate the Beverly Heritage Center.