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Homeowner Preservation Workshop to be held after Ribbon Cutting

Written by: Cindy Karelis, Beverly ON TRAC VISTA

Beverly – There is nothing like being sequestered within the walls of your own home, but it is an experience Beverly homeowner Mary Kay Bidlack said she would do again in a heartbeat.

As the current owner of the historic Birkett/Cresap House at 798 Main Street, Bidlack spent five months living in her upstairs bedroom while restoration efforts and upgrades were made to the house she purchased with her husband Jerry in 1999.

Bidlack credits the fact that she “always wanted that house” that was listed in 1980 on the National Register of Historic Places as the reason why she was willing to take on what so many consider to be daunting – the effort, time, and expense required to save one of Beverly’s architectural gems.

In a Homeowner Preservation Workshop sponsored by Historic Beverly Preservation and offered to the public free of charge on August 24, Mike Gioulis, historic preservation consultant from Sutton, will address and allay many of the fears behind homeowner initiatives toward saving their historic dwellings.

Mary Kay
Mary Kay Bidlack

Held immediately after the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting for the recently-restored IOOF Building at 5:00pm, the workshop will take place at 6:00pm in the community room located on the second floor.

Gioulis’s small preservation firm has been in business in West Virginia since 1984, and his fingerprint is heavy on many of rehabilitation projects throughout historic Beverly. His workshop will include principles and practical tips for maintenance and improvement of a historic home, a walk-about town to see restoration examples, and a question and answer session.

Originally a resident of Montrose, Bidlack was widowed the same year she purchased the gabled, two-story frame house with its original Doric-columned porch; yet she never felt hesitant about the preservation work required on the 1865 house. An earlier two-story log cabin built on the same lot was destroyed during the Civil War.

“I was very lucky to have Jim Douglas, the contractor who built our Montrose house, and contractor Quentin Hamrick to convert closet space, remove sagging flooring,” and complete other vital preservation work, Bidlack stated about the restoration work that also included necessary renovations to upgrade to modern use.

Bidlack’s successful home restoration efforts inspired her to author a small booklet titled Beverly’s Buildings: An Owner’s Manual. Published in 2003 with assistance from Historic Beverly Preservation, Beverly Historic Landmarks Commission, and the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, the publication lists preservation guidelines involving windows, doors, roofs, metal work, masonry, architectural and decorative elements, and more.
The volunteer guidelines give “best practice” suggestions for rehabilitation, but it is up to each homeowner to decide how and when to apply them to their own house.

Linda Peterson, Bidlack’s neighbor and owner of the 1902 structure built and utilized by practicing Beverly physicians, Dr. Gribble and Dr. Harper, can relate to the challenges of owning and maintaining a less-than-modern structure.

“The worst challenge is that everything can go wrong – with the plumbing, siding, electricity, shingles, and termites,” Peterson said. Both Bidlack and Peterson are Historic Beverly Preservation board members firmly committed to historic preservation efforts, and both encourage participation in Gioulis’s workshop in historic home preservation.

“These older homes are special to us, as well as to our heritage here in Beverly,” Peterson offered about her reasons for promoting home stabilization and preservation efforts.

Susan Pierce, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, echoes Peterson’s and Bidlack’s belief that seeking expert guidance is a plus.
“Towns like Beverly are special places,” Pierce said. “Professional advice can help an owner protect the historic qualities of their homes.”

“With the right advice, a building can be repaired and maintain its unique character,” she added.
For more information on the historic home workshop or to purchase Bidlak’s booklet, call the Beverly Heritage Center at 304-637-7424 or visit