CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Greek Revival pavilion covering a mineral spring that drew thousands of visitors to a remote corner of Greenbrier County in the 19th century and a church that nourished Wheeling's abolitionist movement in the 1860s are among five historic sites named to the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia's Endangered Properties List for 2013.
The other properties making this year's list are a Pendleton County farm settled by German immigrants in 1799; a 28-room, ballroom-equipped Shinnston mansion built in 1921; and a Sears, Roebuck and Co. mail-order kit home built in Lewisburg in 1924.
Each year, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia identifies noteworthy historic properties within the state that are threatened by neglect, demolition, structural deficiencies or inappropriate development. Sites that make PAWV's Endangered Properties List receive special preservation and advocacy assistance to help local supporters save and reuse historically significant buildings for heritage tourism, educational purposes and economic development.
The 2013 Endangered Properties List was announced Wednesday during a presentation at the state Capitol.
The endangered mineral spring pavilion was once the centerpiece of Blue Sulphur Springs, a resort that opened in 1834 in a scenic valley nine miles north of Alderson. It is the only structure that remains from the three-story, 200-guest resort hotel built by developer George Washington Buster.
The resort's pre-Civil War guests included Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, Robert E. Lee, Henry Clay and Jerome Bonaparte, brother of France's Napoleon I.
The spa's staff physician, Dr. Alexis Martin, a former surgeon in Napoleon's army, believed the iridescent blue water produced by the spring cured hepatitis and ulcers and calmed frazzled nerves. It was at Blue Sulphur that Martin administered the nation's first therapeutic mud baths, also said to have curative properties.
In the late 1850s, facing intense competition from The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, the resort was sold to a Virginia Baptist organization and became Allegheny College, a seminary for Baptist ministers. In 1860, fire swept through the former hotel, which was partially rebuilt just in time for Civil War hostilities to break out. The former resort was used as an encampment and hospital by troops from both sides, but Union soldiers burned all but the spring pavilion to the ground in 1864.
"Without repairs, this thing is going to come down," said Alex McLaughlin, a member of Friends of the Blue, a preservation group working with the Greenbrier Historical Society and Greenbrier Historic Landmarks Commission to save the pavilion.
The pavilion consists of five-foot-wide marble slabs supported by 12 Doric columns sheltering a 32-foot-square mineral spring basin. Now surrounded by a cattle pasture, it can be seen from a paved secondary road that passes near the site of the resort.
Other sites on this year's Endangered Properties List are:
* Second Presbyterian Church in Wheeling's Center Market Square Historic District.
Built in 1850, the church soon became a gathering point for abolitionists in the Wheeling area. Its pastor, the Rev. Richard Dodge, who came to Wheeling from Springfield, Ill., was a personal friend of President Abraham Lincoln.
In 2011, shortly after a private foundation bought the church, a portion of its roof collapsed because of a truss failure.
"We plan to repair the church and reopen it for plays, educational events and for use as an urban astronomical observatory," said Richard Pollack of the Near Earth Object Foundation, which owns the historic building.