The Bland County Historical Society is looking to make repairs to the roof of its historic building.
A very generous, anonymous donor is challenging supporters of the Historical Society by offering to match donations to the roof fund up to $1,000.
These funds will help pay for a new roof for the 1866 section of the Bland building that was once the county jail. Estimate for this roof repair is $7,000.
According to Eisle Havens, vice-president of the Historical Society, and the History of Bland County book, the original two-story jail was built in 1866. James V. Pendleton was contracted to provide labor and materials for the cost of $4,700.
At its completion, the jail had cells on the second floor with the sheriff, also acting as the jailor, living on the first floor.
In 1953, an addition was added onto the building. This addition consisted of six cells with toilet facilities. All jail cells were moved to this downstairs location.
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The jail was closed around 2004 when the sheriff’s office and a holding cell were built onto the courthouse during renovations.
The Bland County Historical Society moved from their location at the Wolfe Creek Indian Village to the old jail facility around 2010.
The historical society houses archives, a research library, and a gift shop in this building.
Larry Hughes, owner of B&H Home Improvements from Kimball, WVA, inspected the roof on the two-story section of the old jail building. Due to leaks and deterioration of the existing roof, he has determined that the historical society is in need of a new roof. He has given an estimate of $7,000 to cover labor and materials to match the roof on the lower section (the addition) of the building.
“We have noticed water dripping through the ceiling during heavy rains,” Havens said on Monday. “After several years of searching and calling contractors, we finally found someone who actually showed up to give us an estimate and is willing to do the work. We hope that the interior structure has not been damaged due to prolonged water exposure. Mr. Hughes was willing to start last week but we do not have the funds ready to pay for this type of expense.”
“As soon as we raise enough money, Mr. Hughes is willing to start construction immediately, weather permitting.”
In an effort to preserve the current office, staff of the Bland County Historical Society is appealing to members, friends and neighbors for donations to help fund this project.
The historical society is also doing breakfast benefits to help raise funds. The first was held on Jan. 3. The organization will be splitting money raised at breakfast benefits with Tommy Dunn, owner of The Square that was damaged during a fire on Christmas Eve.
“We hope to follow through with one or two breakfast benefits per week to help offset our roofing expense, as well as help Tommy Dunn and his family during this tragic time,” said Havens.
“We will also be doing other fundraisers throughout the year to help offset the cost of roof repairs, as well as other renovations and restorations the building …….