FB & Garage, Mount Hope, WV

The Federal Building and Garage is located within the Mount Hope Historic District, a fifty-eight-acre mixed-use historic district located in the City of Mount Hope, Fayette County, West Virginia. The historic district contains 170 resources, including commercial and industrial buildings, public and private institutional properties, residential structures, a 1934 twenty-five-unit public housing project, roadways, historic retaining walls, a cemetery, and a historic sports facility. This Federal building, originally built for the Bureau of Mines, was constructed ca. 1958 and designed by Glen C. Hancock, a West Virginia architect.

This modern building was built into a hill and oriented east with a limestone frontispiece and engraved cornerstone at the main entrance. The main building is L-shaped wrapping from the east to the north. The building form is expressed in orange to brown brick, limestone trim, aluminum doors and windows, and a concrete foundation. It was originally one story tall and seven bays wide with a raised basement. An original one-story, rectangular garage is aligned with the angle of Bluestone Road and projects from the southwest corner of the building. The rear of the building features a one-story loading dock at the south elevation between the garage and the west elevation. There is a small parking lot in front of the loading dock. All the roofs are flat roofs and originally constructed with composition materials and a limestone coping. In 1966, the building was renovated and a second-story addition was built using the same materials and form as the existing building. This renovation included the addition of a stair hall on the west elevation expressed with an aluminum curtain wall and the alteration of the aluminum compound window at the southern stair hall.

The main entrance on the east elevation is set off from the rest of the elevation by a limestone frontispiece. The entry door is inset under a stucco soffit and consists of a double-leaf aluminum/glass door with a large one-lite transom above the door. The door system is fixed in an aluminum frame. There is a light fixture over the door that is likely a replacement of the original light. There are two aluminum medallions of the Great Seal of the United States flanking the entrance. A cornerstone to the right of the entrance is engraved "United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President, 1958."

The entrance at the basement level on the south elevation features a limestone door hood at the water table and covers a single-leaf hollow metal painted door with a painted metal frame surround. A security door stop attached to the brick wall hangs above the door, but is not original. There is a light fixture over the door that is likely a replacement of the original light (check the drawings). There is an internal and exposed downspout that runs through the door hood and down the facade.

The fenestration pattern expresses the hierarchy of the elevations and signals changes in the massing of the building. The typical window type is a 4-lite aluminum window where the top and bottom lites are fixed and the middle lites comprise an awning sash. At the basement level, the windows are single whereas at the upper two stories, the windows are typically paired. An additional window type found on the south elevation is a simpler two-lite awning window. These are located above the junction between the main building and the garage. Another unique window type is a tall compound window featuring varying fixed and awning sashes. It is located on the west elevation at the location of the southern interior stair and was altered to extend to the second story after the 1966 renovation.

While most of the windows are evenly spaced across the elevations, there are three areas that have solid brick walls with no openings signifying transitions on the east, south, and west. On the main east elevation, the window and entrance bays pierce the southern two-thirds of the elevation with the final third being solid brick. As the building transitions to the south end of the south wing, half of the end has two bays of window openings while the second half, which projects slightly, is solid brick. On the west elevation of the south wing, the fenestration is even across the upper five bays with three paired 4-lite windows, one single 4-lite window, and the altered two-story compound window. The south elevation of the west wing is also evenly spaced across six bays on the upper level with two typical 4-lite paired windows and four 2-lite paired awning windows over the garage projection. As the building transitions to the west, the south wall of the west elevation is a solid brick wall. The west elevation was significantly altered with the addition of a stair hall but the pattern of solid wall versus fenestration was maintained. As the building transitions to north side, the fenestration is regularly spaced across 11 bays with 10 paired 4-lite windows and one single 4-lite window on the upper levels. On the north elevation, the prismatic glass remains in the windows located at the original locker rooms on the west end.

At each elevation, there is a limestone belt course between the raised basement and first story defining the water table. The limestone trim is continued on the upper levels in the form of a continuous sill and lintel course which gives the windows a banded appearance on each story. The limestone trim wraps the east elevation to the south elevation implying a continuous band of windows between the solid brick walls. Where the west elevation intersects with the south elevation, the limestone trim continues across the corner giving the effect of a wrapped band of windows between the separate compound window to the south and the transition over the garage to the west. At the basement level, the windows feature only limestone sills; the steel lintels are concealed.

Other features on the building include c.1966 soldier-brick vents above each paired window on the second story and metal exhaust vents below each paired window. An original concrete areaway with painted flat bar railing is located on the east and north elevations where the building is inserted into the hill. A flagpole is located to the left of the east entrance. A tall concrete retaining wall with metal railing defines the building lot at the northern and west edges.

On the south elevation, there is a one-story, four-bay loading dock at grade level with limestone sills at the openings and a concrete coping at the roof. One bay features a large aluminum louvered vent as designed in the original drawings. There are two typical, single, 4-lite aluminum windows but the awning window has been replaced with a louvered vent in one window. In the center is a replacement double-leaf metal door with 1 lite in each leaf. To the right of the door is an aluminum light with steel wire cage around the exposed bulb.

The ca. 1966 west stairwell addition features two brick elevations that match the original building and a two-story aluminum/glass curtain wall on the north side. The curtain wall extends to the height of the upper aluminum windows on the adjacent wall with a limestone panel above that extends to the roofline. The curtain wall features 14 stylized glass panels with one double-leaf aluminum/glass door in an aluminum frame.

Located to the southwest of the main building, the ca. 1958 garage is one story tall, eleven bays wide, and two bays deep. It features orange to brown brick, limestone trim, a concrete foundation and a concrete parapet coping. The east and west ends extend beyond the face of the north and south walls and are articulated with a slightly higher parapet. The typical window is a 3-lite aluminum window where the upper two lites comprise an awning sash. Some of the operable sashes have been replaced with 1-light fixed windows. All the windows have concealed steel lintels and limestone sills. The original two-leaf steel sliding garage doors with wire glass have been replaced with metal roll-up doors. The car entrances are on the south elevation from Bluestone Street and on the east elevation from the small parking lot. The original cast iron wheel guards remain in front of these entrances. The roof is a flat roof with a small parapet. The roof materials have been replaced and the coping covered with an aluminum cap. The grade around the building is higher than the concrete foundation. Copper flashing with concrete parging has been added in various sections around the building, possibly as waterproofing of the foundation.

The primary elevations of the garage are the south elevation that fronts Bluestone Street with ten 3-lite windows and the east elevation at the parking lot which does not have any windows. The north elevation features nine single 3-lite windows, one at every bay. The west elevation does not have any fenestration but features a below-grade entrance with a concrete retaining wall and stair with a pipe railing. The door has been replaced.

The Cherokee nation sold their rights to land that included what is now Mount Hope, West Virginia on October 18, 1770 to the Governor of Virginia. Although other tribes staged numerous raids in an attempt to control the land, a decisive victory over the Indians on August 20, 1794 secured peace in the area with a treaty. Once the land was considered safe, people started moving westward into frontier land. William Blake Sr. purchased three thousand acres in 1796 and settled his family there in 1805 becoming the first white settlers on the land that is now Mount Hope.

A highway through the area completed in 1848 stretching from Giles County Court House in Virginia to Fayetteville, West Virginia (at the time still part of Virginia). This highway ran through the modern-day Mount Hope business section and resulted in a stagecoach line. Even with the highway, this area remained remote with little development until settlers began procuring coal from the hillsides in Turkey Knob and Glen Jean in the late 1800s.

Completed in 1873, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company (formerly the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad) westward expansion connected Richmond, Virginia to the Ohio River in Huntington, West Virginia. By the end of the century, coal became the railway's greatest commodity, a large portion of which was produced from mines located in Fayette County. In 1894, the branch line railroad known as the Loup Creek Branch was completed connecting the C&O mainline to Macdonald, West Virginia leading to the opening of four mining operations near Mount Hope. The little farming community of Mount Hope became a boom town with hundreds of citizens moving in to industrialize the area. Mount Hope was incorporated on June 1, 1895 and Main Street developed along the old stagecoach line with several stores and businesses. The coal industry continued to thrive for the next several decades but tragedy struck Mount Hope when a fire on March 24, 1910 destroyed almost every building in town. The town was quickly rebuilt, using brick in lieu of wood for better fire protection.

As the coal industry continued to thrive and the connection of Mount Hope to the Virginian Railway achieved, Mount Hope continued to grow. Warner Town, an area with many homes that grew rapidly after the fire of 1910, was annexed by Mount Hope and, in 1921, the legislature granted a city charter to Mount Hope. Mount Hope became known as "The little city with the big welcome." Mining operations continued to prosper through the 1920s with one-third of all coal being shipped east coming from the Loup Creek Branch. Unfortunately, as with the rest of the country, the Great Depression that began in 1929 hit Mount Hope. Just as the nation was beginning to recover, the country entered World War II. After the war, the coal industry began to decline and by the 1950s approximately one-third of the population had left the area.

The importance of coal declined as train locomotives switched from coal-burning steam to diesel in the late 1950s. The mines around Mount Hope continued to produce some coal through the 1970s but both the demand for coal and the coal remaining that could be removed economically, ceased in the 1980s.

Enforcement responsibilities transferred from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Labor with the creation of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. Under this legislation, commonly known as the Mine Act, mining fatalities dropped significantly. The Department of Labor named the new agency the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The MSHA is divided into nine major program areas including the Coal Mine Safety and Health. The Coal Mine Safety and Health program conducts mine inspections, investigations, and training programs through ten district offices and forty-one field offices. The Federal Building and Garage contains the offices of District 4 and a field office.

The Federal Building and Garage is located within the Mount Hope Historic District, a fifty-eight-acre mixed-use historic district located in the city of Mount Hope, Fayette County, West Virginia. The historic district contains 170 resources, including commercial and industrial buildings, public and private institutional properties, residential structures, a 1934 twenty-five-unit public housing project, roadways, historic retaining walls, a cemetery and a historic sports facility. Of the 170 resources, 150 were initially considered contributing. Per the General Services Administration, Resource Number 102, Bluestone Road at Stadium Drive, was changed from non-contributing to contributing in 2009. Contributing elements are those which both date from within the period of significance of the district and retain individual integrity, while non-contributing resources are those which post-date the period of significance and/or undergone unsympathetic alteration to the extent that they no longer retain those physical characteristics which define their historic character. The period of significance described I the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form entered into the National Register on August 3, 2007, begins in 1895, the date marking the incorporation of the community, and ends circa 1957, corresponding to the National Register fifty-year guideline. The Federal Office Building and Garage is entered in the Mount Hope Historic District as follows:

102. Bluestone Road at Stadium Drive, governmental
Description: two-story government building, rectangular in shape, with seven-bay facade along the southeast elevation. Fenestration is flat-topped, with awning windows. The main entrance is on the southeast elevation, enframed within a masonry frontispiece. The datestone indicates the building to have been built in 1958, under the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Built outside the period of significance.

Date: 1958
1 non-contributing building


Although the Mount Hope Historic District is eligible for Criterion A, B and C, the Federal Office Building and Garage would only be eligible under Criterion A if the period of significance is extended to 1958. With respect to Criterion A, the district's significance lies with its association with the industrial heritage of the area, particularly that of the coal industry. The Mount Hope Historic District lies within the National Park Service designated Coal Heritage Area. The New River Gorge National Historic Resource Study of 2004 defines three historic periods of coal production within the period of significance of the Coal Heritage Area: Industrialization, 1873-1902, Prosperity, 1902-1925, and Decline, 1925-1960. Although the development of Mount Hope is tied to the end of the Industrialization period and continued through the remaining period of significance of the Coal Heritage Area, The Federal Office Building and Garage was constructed near the end of the Decline period.

The setting and site at the Federal Building and Garage maintain a high level of integrity. The building sits adjacent to residential structures and the Mount Hope Municipal Football Stadium that predate the Federal Building. The physical integrity of the building was altered with a third story addition in 1966. In addition, several small modifications have taken place, including modifications to the laboratory, replacement of the roof, replacement of the boiler system, and installation of bathing facilities. The association of the building to the coal industry remains high as the use of the building is unchanged.

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Last Reviewed: 2017-08-13