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Beverly

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Beverly, Tygart Valley's oldest settlement, dates from 1787, when officials of the newly established Randolph County authorized James Westfall to plat a town. The town was first named Edmundton to further honor Edmund Randolph, for whom the county was named. In December 1790, the Virginia General Assembly officially established it as Beverley. By this time, Randolph's cousin, Beverley Randolph, was governor, and the legislature named the town for him. For reasons unknown, the third ewas soon dropped, and Beverley has been spelled Beverly ever since.

The act of establishment directed lot purchasers to erect “a dwelling house sixteen feet square with a brick or stone chimney.” Singlepen log structures fit those dimensions quite handily, and in addition to the first houses, the courthouse, jail, and school were all of log construction. In 1794 the county court granted Jacob Westfall the right to erect a sawmill near town, and soon frame houses joined the log ones.

When the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike arrived in 1841, the town developed as a regional trading and transportation center. Union and Confederate forces occupied it at various times during the Civil War, but neither side inflicted much damage beyond the rough usage attendant upon commandeering buildings into service as hospitals or quarters.

Elkins began to threaten Beverly's preeminence at the end of the nineteenth century, and when it secured the honor of becoming the county seat, Beverly was left to look back on its former glory. The 1941 WPA guide to West Virginia reported: “Beverly wears the garment of its past with dignity. Townfolk point with pride to the old white houses, many of which hide original log structures of pioneer days under a shell of frame siding.”

In 1980 the entire town was entered on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. Although a dual highway connecting Beverly and Elkins has brought the world of fast-food outlets and strip malls almost to the town's doorstep, a number of its most historic structures are being restored at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Writing Credits

Author: 
S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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