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Funds to help Coin Harvey House

Jul. 28, 2013 @ 11:47 PM

HUNTINGTON -- The foundation set up to help restore the Coin Harvey House in Huntington has received a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office worth $19,960.

It was one of 19 development-grant requests funded to help restore and rehabilitate sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Coin Harvey House, at 1305 3rd Ave., was placed on that list in 1971, nearly 100 years after Coin Harvey built the home that was ahead of its time in terms of architectural design.

But the grant, which must be matched by the J & Lenore Kaiser and David E. Gerlock Foundation, is only a drop in the bucket, confirmed James St. Clair, a retired Huntington attorney who has been working to save the house since 2003.

Some additional funds have to be raised to match the state grant, which combined will help refurbish the east wall to keep it from deteriorating. St. Clair said asbestos removal already has been completed on the structure, which was built in 1874. That clears the way to tear down the back part of the house, apartments that were added a few decades ago.

He said Friday that he knows saving the house is a daunting and expensive task. But it was he and his wife, Mickey, who helped rescue Heritage Station from demolition more than a decade ago when even the Urban Renewal Authority thought it best to demolish and start anew. Now, he said, it's one of the most popular downtown destinations.

"I think (Heritage Station) was worth the effort, and the Coin Harvey House is probably one of the oldest houses in that part of Hutntington," St. Clair said. "Coin Harvey was an exceptional character, and the house is one of a kind."

William Hope Harvey, who was born in Buffalo in Putnam County, W.Va., became an attorney and moved to Huntington to practice with his older brother. In 1874, he build the uniquely designed house, but moved the following year to Gallipolis, Ohio, where he met and married Anna Halliday. He eventually moved to Colorado and became interested in silver mining, which led to him writing "Coin's Financial School," a pamphlet that sold more than a million copies. It purported to be an account of a school where Professor Coin explains the superiority of silver coinage, as opposed to gold. Harvey gave his little paperback such an air of authenticity that many readers were convinced the school and Professor Coin were real. It also earned him his nickname.

For more information on the Coin Harvey House, the namesake and how to help the foundation, visit www.coinharvey.com or call Huntington Realty Corporation at 304-525-5910.

About the Coin Harvey House

The first floor, about three feet below ground level, housed the original dining room and kitchen, along with a library or study. The second floor, roughly eight feet above ground level, had a parlor, a bedroom and a long hallway along the west side, with floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out onto the balcony.

The construction of the house was every bit as unusual as its design. Instead of a typical wood frame, the house was built much like a log cabin, but with thick stacks of wood planks substituting for the logs. The planks are fastened together with long spikes.

In addition to the facade's curvatures at the base of the roof and the stained-glass windows still adorning the front porch, there also evidence on the west side that also was encased by wrought-iron fencing.



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