Reflecting on Morgantown After the 4th

As fireworks lit up the sky this past Thursday, I hope most were able to take the time to reflect on America’s rich history and celebrate the enduring spirit of independence. For many, this celebration extends beyond parades and barbecues to an appreciation of the architectural treasures that have stood the test of time. Historical homes, with their unique charm and stories, offer a tangible connection to the past and embody the American heritage we honor on Independence Day. Morgantown itself, is a city rich in history and home to several notable historical residences.

Located at 313 Chestnut Street, The Old Stone House is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Morgantown. This home was constructed by Jacob Nuce around 1796 and was the home of a local potter, John W. Thompson. John crafted red ware and stoneware pots using the clay he discovered in the home’s basement. Today, it houses a gift shop operated by the Service League of Morgantown, offering crafts and handmade items from local artisans. Through all of the years, it still stands beautifully today.

Another historical beauty with deep roots is The Vance Farmhouse, located at The WVU Core Arboretum. The Vance Farmhouse was constructed around 1854 by Joseph Watson Vance, a prominent local figure and successful farmer. Over the years, the farmhouse has undergone various restorations to preserve its historical integrity while adapting it for modern use. Today, it stands as part of the West Virginia University Core Arboretum, contributing to the educational and cultural fabric of the community. The University has made significant efforts to maintain and preserve the farmhouse, ensuring that it remains a valuable historical and educational resource.

Originally built around 1857, The Rogers House is one of the last remaining residences from this time period in downtown Morgantown. The residence was built by John Rogers, one of the founders of Morgantown and a significant figure in the city’s early development. Today, the John Rogers House is part of Morgantown’s historical tours and educational programs. It serves as a historical landmark where visitors can learn about the early history of Morgantown, the contributions of John Rogers, and the Greek Revival architectural style. The house is occasionally used for community events, further embedding it in the cultural fabric of Morgantown.

Historical residences like the Old Stone House, the John Rogers House, and the Vance Farmhouse are invaluable treasures in Morgantown, WV. They offer a window into the past, showcasing the architectural styles and stories of the people who shaped the early days of the city. On the 4th of July, these homes take on a special significance as symbols of American heritage and independence. So, as fireworks lit up the night sky and patriotic festivities filled the air, I hope our community was able to reflect on the lives of the early settlers who contributed to the growth and identity of Morgantown. The architectural details and historical narratives of these residences resonate with the values of freedom and community celebrated on Independence Day, reminding us of the enduring spirit and rich history that define our nation’s story. I hope everyone had a great 4th!

Brian McCommon, 2024 MBOR President