Local residents have launched a fundraising campaign to save a historic structure in Harpers Ferry. The Weaver-Gilliam house was built by George Weaver around 1888 at what was then the outskirts of Harpers Ferry (diagonally across from today’s Town Hall). Weaver resided here with his wife Julie and ran several businesses with his son James — including ice delivery and general hauling. Weaver was instrumental in founding the first black church in Harpers Ferry, Methodist Episcopal, and recent research has uncovered details of his involvement in the civil rights movement of the early twentieth century.
The house was designated a contributing structure to the Harpers Ferry Historic District in 2010, but has since deteriorated to the point that the Harpers Ferry Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) approved a demolition permit at its May 9 meeting. The demolition permit was paused for 90 days to allow family descendants and local supporters time to figure out an alternative path to immediate demolition — or if the building even needs to be torn down. While the building is certainly not habitable, it’s not clear whether the building really is at risk of collapse or if it could be stabilized to preserve the option for a longer-term rehabilitation project.
The group seeks to raise $5,000 by June 30 to support an emergency assessment of the building conditions as a precursor to applying for a grant from the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. More details at GoFundMe.com/Save-Harpers-Ferrys-WeaverGillison-House.By Staff Contributor