Historic Raleigh County building goes up for sale


A building that for years sparked the interest of locals passing by is now on the market.
A building that for years sparked the interest of locals passing by is now on the market.(wvva)
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 4:12 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, W.Va. (WVVA) - A building that has for years sparked the interest of locals passing by is on the market.

You may have seen the building with Swasticas engraved along its sides if you’ve ever passed through Raleigh, West Virginia. In the early 1900s, the area was the epicenter of a booming coal industry.

“At one time, Raleigh was much larger than Beckley. It had a theater, a hotel, a country club that later became the Black Knight Country Club,” said David Sibray, a historic preservationist and the realtor selling the building.

The ‘Powerhouse’ was the heart of the Raleigh Coal and Coke Plant, which Sibray said produced electricity for a special type of smokeless coal called Black Knight Coal.

“It was a strong, powerful coal that helped us in World War II, in both wars, creating power,” he explained.

Sibray said the Swastica symbols were engraved along the sides during the building’s construction in 1906, long before the Nazis adopted the symbol.

“It was a popular decoration. It had no real meaning. But in some cultures, it meant good luck. But I don’t think Cnl. Ernest Chilsen, who designed this building, had any intention of it meaning good luck. It was just a delightful symbol at the time.”

Sibray recently learned through the state that the building is eligible for the National Historic Register, a designation that would bring tax credits to whomever purchases the building and the possibility of a historic district in the area.

“Now that we’ve found that this anchor building is eligible for the National Register, certainly I think some other building owners in the area could look at putting their buildings on the National Register.”

Sibray is planning to have an open house for the property in the coming weeks.

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