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Hold-Up Threatens Historic Hoge House

Reported: Mar. 12, 2014 11:13 PM EDT
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WINFIELD, W.Va. (Chris Williams) -- James W. Hoge played a big part in founding of Putnam County. The house he lived is still standing, thanks to the work of the Hoge House committee, but now the committee says it's crumbling, and there isn't much they can do to save it, because the state's Historic Preservation Office is holding them up.

Crumbling walls, a failing roof and pealing plaster are all serious problems the Hoge House committee noticed about a year ago.

As a temporary fix, they put up a brace to keep the home from caving in, but they knew more had to be done to save the historic building.

“We raised our own money, and we started this room and got it up, almost under roof, when we were told to cease work," Lee Casto, vice chairman of the Hoge House committee, said.

It meant work was stopped on a home that means so much to the area.

The Hoge House in Winfield was the home of James W. Hoge, who historians said played an important role in founding of Putnam County.

But since it is a historic site, and the state's historic preservation office uses grant money to maintain the home, before any updates can be made, they must give the go ahead.

The Hoge House committee said they weren't even supposed to put up the brace, but hated to think of the home caving in.
Miscommunication between the two offices has delayed the fix-up process even more.

"Actually, it's been a waiting game for us to get information from Putnam County and the Hoge House Foundation," Susan Pierce, deputy state historic preservation officer, said.

Because of all the back and forth, the Hoge House committee voted to cut ties with the preservation office, so they can get to work on the house, hoping to restore a little piece of history right in the heart of Putnam County.

The final decision on whether the two groups will part ways is up to the Putnam County Commission, and they meet again on March 25.

If the commission decides to part ways with the historical preservation office, they will have to pay back the grants, which total just about $4,500.



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