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Halliehurst, Elkins WV



In 1889, Senator Stephen Benton Elkins chose the site for what was to become one of West Virginia’s grandest homes. Set atop a steep hill, the site overlooked the newly-founded town that bore Elkins’ name; the mansion itself was to be called “Halliehurst” – in honor of Elkins’ wife, Hallie Davis Elkins.

From the beginning, the 56-room, 23,000 square foot mansion was hailed as a showplace. It was patterned after a castle on the Rhine River that Mrs. Elkins admired while visiting Germany. New York architect Charles T. Mott created a sprawling three-story plan which featured exterior walls of lapped siding and cut shingles, a steep hipped roof, large towers and turrets, numerous dormers, and tall stone chimneys. Later, rambling porches were added to the front and north facades.

Interior features included rich oak paneling, and beaded trim work, and massive fireplaces framed in marble with hand-carved wooden mantelpieces. It became the setting for elaborate social occasions, political caucuses, and business gatherings which attracted the elite from the region, including President Harrison, Andrew Carnegie and James Cardinal Gibbons.

After her husband’s death, Hallie Elkins and her family continued to spend their summers at Halliehurst. In 1923, however, she offered to deed the entire Halliehurst estate over to another of the family’s endeavours – Davis & Elkins College. Halliehurst then became the focal point of the new campus, and found new life as the college president’s home. Later uses included a woman’s dormitory, dining hall, music and arts classes, and finally a counselling center.

Today, the venerable mansion is completely restored to the style and spirit of its original décor, and houses the office of the president and other administrative offices.

 
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