KEYSER - The Mineral County Historical Foundation has made an offer to take over the Alkire Mansion at Mill Meadow Park.

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Mineral County Historical Foundation has made an offer to take over the Alkire Mansion at Mill Meadow Park.
The mansion has been the topic of much debate and discussion at recent Keyser City Council meetings, with mayor Damon Tillman commenting that the building, although recently upgraded by a group of volunteers led by Leon Ravenscroft, is still in need of a lot of repairs and is not benefitting the city in any way.
During the council’s June 12 meeting, Frank Roleff, vice president of the Mineral County Historical Foundation, told the mayor and council that the foundation had discussed the mansion and voted to offer to take it off the city’s hands.
“We’d like to propose the city deed the Alkire Mansion over to the Historical Foundation, along with an acre or half-acre of land around it,” he said.
Roleff went on to say he didn’t see why the foundation, if given the property, couldn’t adopt an idea proposed earlier in the meeting by Keyser resident Curtis Perry, which included getting the building trades classes at the Mineral County Technical Center involved in helping to finish renovating the property.
Roleff said he could foresee offering the mansion for use as “a meeting place, or for small receptions … possibly even a railroad museum.”
Roleff noted that, when the previous city administration first gave Leon Ravenscroft permission and some funding to begin work on renovating the mansion, “we had a steady stream of volunteers and a fairly good stream of money” to do the work.
Since the current administration starting talking about possibly selling the property or “knocking it down,” however, the volunteers and money have dried up.
Mayor Damon Tillman took exception with Roleff’s comments, however, saying, “Nobody on this council said it was going to be torn down.”
“The predominate feeling here is that nobody wants to see it torn down,” council member Terry Liller agreed, adding that he was “personally pleased that the Historical Foundation is interested” in taking the mansion over.
Noting that the Historical Foundation also continues to work on restoring the Carskadon Mansion in Keyser and the Old Stone House near Burlington, Tillman asked Roleff, “When would you have time to do this?”
Roleff told Tillman there would be “a totally separate group of people” working on the mansion.
According to Leon Ravenscroft, who was also in attendance at the meeting, work had previously progressed to the point where the mansion “is only about a week away from letting people use it.”
According to Tillman, there are “one or two” other entities interested in the mansion.
“We will have to discuss which way to go,” he said.
The topic is on the agenda for further discussion at the council’s next meeting, set for Wednesday, June 26, at 6 p.m.