W.Va. preservation group adds first 2 properties to new Buildings At Risk Register

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CHARLESTON, West Virginia — The Creel House in St. Marys and Top O Rock in Charleston are the first properties to be listed on Preservation Alliance of West Virginia's new Buildings At Risk Register.

The group said it created the register to draw attention to historical buildings at risk of demolition because of neglect, vandalism or other reasons.

"The purpose of the register is to demonstrate that these places matter to West Virginians and there is interest in saving them. It will also be an educational tool about the preservation of historic properties all over the state," Danielle LaPresta, executive director for the alliance, said in a news release.

Built in 1850, the Creel House served as a hotel in the late 19th century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building's current owner has obtained a demolition permit that is valid through August, the alliance said.

The late architect Henry T. Elden designed Top O Rock, a circular glass-and-steel hillside house built in 1968. Vandals damaged the house, which was vacant, in 2014.

The preservation group says Top O Rock made the register to highlight a design competition to develop plans to preserve and adapt it for reuse.

"Top O Rock is a spectacular, easily seen example of the Modernist period of architecture, rare in the Kanawha Valley," the alliance said.

The alliance said it has received multiple submissions since it launched the new register in February. Submissions will be reviewed once a month by a committee comprised of members of the alliance's board of directors and staff.

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