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Wildwood

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1835. c. 1850. 1970s–1987. Laurel Terrace, between E and F sts.

The home of Beckley's founder was a mile southeast of the original townsite, though residential Beckley now completely surrounds it. As General Alfred Beckley recalled in his memoirs, “I took possession of a double log cabin built for me in the fall of 1835 by Mr. John Lilly, Sr.” What he called a double log cabin was a dogtrot: two log pens, here of two stories, with a breezeway between. A one-and-one-halfstory rear wing was added before the Civil War. Other alterations made over the years include changing the fenestration of the facade from five bays to three, enclosing the breezeway, adding a front porch, and sheathing the entire house in clapboards. The massive sandstoneblock chimneys at each end of the main block were original to the log cabin. Under the auspices of the Raleigh County Historical Society, restoration was begun in the 1970s, and the house was opened to the public in 1987. Many furnishings are original, and a great deal of log construction and pine sheathing is visible inside.

In 1839 Alfred Beckley built a post office in the yard and became postmaster. To commemorate this, a one-story log house has been reconstructed to the rear of the house. Its smooth, weathered logs have half-dovetailed corner notching, and its massive sandstone chimney makes those on the house look weak in comparison. The city of Beckley now owns the property.

Writing Credits

Author: 
S. Allen Chambers Jr.
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Citation

S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Wildwood", [Beckley, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WV-01-RA7.

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