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Sites Homestead

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c. 1839, c. 1870. 1989–1990, Paul D. Marshall and Associates. At Seneca Rocks Visitor Center (Monongahela National Forest), east side of WV 28 and 55, .1 mile north of the intersection with U.S. 33

Looking like a giant cockscomb, or, as the WPA guide described it in more architectural terms, “like the crumbling castle of some mountain giant,” the natural quartzite outcroppings known as Seneca Rocks have been a landmark for centuries. The tallest peak rises 900 feet above the valley floor where Seneca Creek flows into the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac. The rocks are a major component of the Spruce Knob—Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area of the Monongahela National Forest.

Nearby, the U.S. Forest Service has restored the Sites Homestead, or tavern, to demonstrate the stages in the development of area architecture and building practices. A single-pen, oneand-one-half-story log building with V-notched corner joints, stone and clay chinking, and a sandstone chimney on the west gable end is the nucleus of the house that Jacob Sites built c. 1839, soon after he purchased the property. Shortly after the Civil War, his son, William Sites, encompassed the log building in an expanded two-and-one-half-story frame house and built a second stone chimney on the east gable.

Sites descendants lived in the house until 1947. Remaining in family ownership, it was subsequently used for storage until the U.S. Forest Service purchased it in 1969. Early photographs of Seneca Rocks that showed the house in the foreground were helpful in the restoration. A nearby log cabin was stripped to provide necessary replacement logs.

Close to the house and rocks, Harper's Old Country Store stands at the intersection of West Virginia 28 and 55 and U.S. 33. The two-story, false-fronted frame store, built in 1902, still dispenses supplies and fodder to locals and tourists.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Sites Homestead", [, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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