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Beverly’s Historic Architecture

The town of Beverly, both in and out of the Beverly HistoricDistrict, contains examples of a wide variety of late nineteenth and early twentiethcentury architectural styles, including Cabin, I-House, Tri-Gable L, Princess or QueenAnne, Bungalow, and Commercial.  Some of thesebuildings are academic, “textbook” examples of their particular style. Morecommon - and equally significant - are the vernacular buildings that show the influence ofpopular styles primarily in their decorative detailing.

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

Much of the existing and historic architecture in Beverly is residential incharacter.  Theoverall ambiance of the town is one of a residential community.  There is a small section of concentrateddevelopment around the original courthouse square containing some commercial buildings.

The distinctive characteristics which define a building’s style areespecially important to preserve, and should receive special consideration in planning formaintenance or rehabilitation.  For moreinformation on preservation recommendations for Beverly, as well as a Bibliography offurther resources, see the Beverly Design Guidelines.


Residential styles



Many of the earliest buildings in Beverly were log cabins.  These were either one- or two-story rectangularhouses with few windows or openings. Technically, these cabins are included in thedesignation Pre-Railroad Folk Houses.  Thehouses built during this period spanned the long interval between the earliest permanentsettlements of the 17th century and the growth of the railroads as an efficientnational transportation network in the last half of the 19thcentury.  Throughout these two hundred years,many modest dwellings were, of necessity, constructed of local materials without stylisticembellishment. 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 verylong were added to, and the exterior and interior surfaces covered over, as the familybecame 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 theButcher House. The Stalnaker Cabin, which has been moved from south of Beverly, is beingrestored as an example of a log cabin.



Another very common example of Folk Houses is the I-House. Thisstyle, two rooms wide and one room deep, is a traditional British folk form.  They are usually two-stories high, with a centralentrance and hall, and a gable roof.  It ismost 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.  Mostof these houses in the Beverly vicinity are built of wood frame construction, but a feware of brick.  Often they would have a one ortwo story L extension at right angles in the rear, either as an original cabin that wasadded on to, as an integral part of the original construction, or as a later addition.  I-houses in Beverly and vicinity (they were alsocommon as farmhouses) still exist dating from the early 19thcentury through the early 20th century. 

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


Federal Style

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


Tri-Gable L

By the late 19th orearly 20th century, it became more common to build houses that were notsymmetrical in their front appearance. This style descended from Greek Revival-styledhouses and became common in rural areas.  Inthis style, an additional side-gabled wing was added at right angles to the gable-frontplan to give a compound, gable-front-and-wing shape. These arecalled a tri-gable L for the three gables.  Ashed-roofed porch was typically placed within the L made by the two wings.  These homes were usually wood frame, often withornamental trim or scrollwork and possibly bay windows.


Princess or QueenAnne Style

This highly ornamented, asymmetrical building style was popularfrom 1880 through 1910. These usually wood framed buildings often had a front-facing gabledominating the asymmetrical facade and frequently a tower. This style is characterized bysteeply pitched roof of irregular shape featuring a combination of hipped and gable roofs,wall texture variations including patterned shingles, with German, clapboard, or shinglesiding, 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 alongone or both sidewalls.

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

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


Bungalow or CraftsmanStyle

A number of Beverly houses from 1905 through 1940 are of abungalow style.  These are likely to be one or1 ½ story, with low-pitched, gabled roof (occasionally hipped). Identifying features ofthis style are wide, unenclosed eave overhang with brackets or roof rafters usuallyexposed and decorative (false) beams or braces commonly added under gables. Many haddormers, either gable or shed roofed. The broad and prominent porches were a feature ofthe 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 pedestalsfrequently extending to ground level without a break at the level of the porch floor. Manyhad raised first floors, with a “heavy” appearing foundation level, of brick,stone or molded concrete block. Many windows were novelty shapes with odd numberedvertical divisions in the upper sash.


Commercial and PublicBuildings

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

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

The later commercial buildings often feature large plate glasswindows with flat transoms on the first floor entry level and rectangular, single pane,double hung, sash windows with an unenriched windowframe, sill and lintel.  Roofs are flat orwith 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’sthrough the 1920’s had a “false front” facade with a front parapet wallwith a gable or false gable peak in the center.  Somewere covered with stamped metal siding instead of wood siding.