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Bethany College, "Old Main" Building, Route 67, Bethany, Brooke County, WV

Bethany College, "Old Main" Building, Route 67, Bethany, Brooke County, WV



Significance: "Old Main" at Bethany College is an outstanding example of a single building designed to accommodate the entire range of college functions and to stand as an imposing piece of architecture on its hilltop site - when seen from the road below or from one of the other hills around this small West Virginia town. "Old Main" is noteworthy among the few surviving American college buildings from the decades before the Civil War as one of the largest and the most accomplished of those employing a Gothic style. Its construction is predominantly of plain red brick, with only a limited amount of explicitly Gothic detailing in the stonework of the doorways, windows, finials, and capstones. The design for "Old Main" shows the adaptation of the Gothic style from a type of construction relying on elaborately carved and fitted stone masonry to one relying on the massing of building blocks with relatively austere surfaces of brick - the material most readily available to this Ohio Valley college, confidently rebuilding in 1858. For similar successful adaptations of Gothic design to brick construction, one must otherwise look to the pre-Civil War churches of the mid-Atlantic states and the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-33
Survey number: HABS WV-118
Building/structure dates: ca. 1865 Initial Construction
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 70000652



1933 - 1970


Historic American Buildings Survey, creator
Walter & Wilson
Morris, Scott, transmitter
DeBoer, Ruth, transmitter




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