The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) has announced that the Davis Coal and Coke Company Administrative Building just south of Thomas has been recognized as a significant endangered historic building.
This building served as the Tucker County headquarters of the company founded by the legendary railroad and coal magnate Senator Henry Gassaway Davis from 1900-1950. It was then used by the Western Maryland Railroad, but has been standing vacant since the early 1980s. Thomas assumed ownership in 1995 and the windows and roof were replaced, but no other significant work has been done, and the building continues to deteriorate.
The City’s current plan is to enter into a long term lease with the Vandalia Heritage Foundation to redevelop the building and it is hoped that this new status as an endangered building will help secure necessary funding for renovations.
In its hay day, the building served Davis Coal and Coke employees as the company’s bank, as well as the office space for engineers, surveyors, and other upper level employees. Ledgers, personnel files, financial documents, maps, core samples, and records of chemical testing were all left behind in the building once it fell into disuse, and many of these have been archived at WVU to be preserved or digitized.
The most likely redevelopment path for the building would be to have retail space on the main floor, with offices or residential space on the second floor and in the attic.
Friends of Blackwater initiated the recognition process on behalf of the City of Thomas.