THE HISTORIC LOVELL BUILDING
|Address:||122 West Main St., Sophia, WV 25921|
Randy S. Burdette 304-667-2897, David Sibray 304-575-7390
MAPS & DOCUMENTS-CLICK LINKS TO VIEW
The Historic Lovell Bldg Google Earth map 1 (Foxfire)
The Historic Lovell Bldg Google Earth map 2 (Foxfire)
The Historic Lovell Bldg topographic map (Foxfire)
The Historic Lovell Bldg location map 1 (Foxfire)
The Historic Lovell Bldg location map 2 (Foxfire)
The Historic Lovell Bldg general location map 1 (Foxfire)
The Historic Lovell Bldg general location map 2 (Foxfire)
The Historic Lovell Bldg area map (Foxfire)
The Historic Lovell Bldg state map (Foxfire)
In the Sophia National Historic District, this two-story commercial landmark of brick and stone built in 1922 includes more than 7,200 square feet of interior space fronting the town’s Main Street and public greenway, its chief public venue for festivals.
Built to provide superior access and visibility, it remains ideally suited to pedestrian and motor-vehicle commerce. It boasts two storefronts, a private alley, front- and rear-street access, and plentiful storage and potential residential space. Free public parking is convenient on Main Street and in the municipal car-park in the greenway. More than 130 parking spots are located within 600 feet of its entrances. More than 9,000 motorists pass the building daily.
The building is convenient to interstate commerce and is a drive of fewer than five miles from expressways I-77 and I-64, which are used daily by more than 40,000 motorists, according to the W.Va. Department of Highways. A recently completed section of the Coalfields Expressway, only a mile distant, has also increased ease of access to the region from the southwest.
Thanks to its federal designation as a historic structure, grants, and tax credits are available for the building’s continued repair and maintenance. Low-interest loans and other specialized financing and insurance programs may also be available as a result of its designation.
Formerly the center of an important coal-mining region, Sophia has transitioned to a residential service center—a satellite of Beckley with a growing tourism component supported by the National Park Service and expanding trail systems. The National Coal Heritage Trail, a motor-vehicle tour that incorporates the historic district, is an important conduit for regional tourism. Off-road adventure tourism accommodating ATVs and trucks is extremely popular in the area. The 10,000-acre Burning Rock Off-Road Park is only four miles to the southwest, and more than 700 additional miles of trail in other off-road parks are located in the mountains beyond.
The street-level storefront area on the main floor includes approximately 3,000 square feet of merchandising space adjoined by 800 square feet of storage and utility at the rear. The storefront merchandising space is divided into two storefront areas, the larger of which includes approximately 1,600 square feet and the smaller, 1,200 square feet. The ceiling in the larger space extends more than 12 feet above the floor, while the ceiling in the lower has been dropped to nine. Both storefront areas include bathrooms and have been subdivided by non-load-bearing walls into smaller functional spaces and display areas. All merchandising spaces have been continuously occupied. The larger is now used as a salon and store; the smaller, as a salon. Transom window areas and mezzanine balconies in both have been enclosed, and in the larger space are used for seasonal merchandise storage.
Accessible from Main Street, the second floor was designed to accommodate multiple lodgers but is now used principally for storage and utility. It consists of 12 interconnected single-room apartments, each approximately 10-by-11 feet, extending around the circumference of the building and opening into an interior hallway system. Eight such rooms boast double-hung paired sash windows. Four overlook Main Street and four open onto the flanking alley. Another four that face the interior flanking party wall were formerly sky-lighted. The hall encloses two interior rooms of approximately 14-by-15 feet each, used for kitchen and closet space. Plumbing fixtures on this level have been removed.
Virginia Street Apartment
A recently updated second-floor apartment at the rear of the property on Virginia Street includes a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room. Its screened-porch balcony and wrap-around deck are exceptional amenities. The 400-square-foot interior was designed with doorless rooms for open-plan advantages, including increased airflow, accessibility, and natural lighting.
Courtyard and Alley
Flanking the building and adjoining at the rear of the property, a gated and gardened alley, and court provide useful outdoor living space for tenants and guests. Both are ideally suited to outdoor functions and solitude, though they could be converted easily for additional on-site parking and access.
HIGHLIGHTS AND ATTRIBUTES
- Two-story commercial landmark includes more than 7,200 square feet of interior space
- Property fronts Main Street and town greenway, its chief public venue for festivals
- Two storefronts, private alley, front- and rear-street access, plentiful storage or residential space
- Free public parking with more than 130 parking spots fewer than 600 feet from its entrances
- More than 9,000 motorists pass the property daily, including tourists
- Fewer than five miles from expressways I-77 and I-64, used by more than 40,000 motorists daily
- Grants and tax credits are available for the repair and maintenance
- Burning Rock Off-Road Park, with more than 100 miles of trail, is four miles to the southwest
- Building maintained and occupied continuously since construction in 1940
- Street-level storefronts include approximately 3,000 square feet of merchandising space
- The second floor includes 12 single-room former apartments now used for storage
- Recently updated, 400-square-foot second-floor apartment at the rear
- Gated alley and court suited to outdoor functions could be converted to on-site parking and access
Google Coordinates: 37.707827, -81.251459
Address: 122 West Main St., Sophia, WV 25921
Elevation: 2,320 ft. +/-
Water: public water is supplied by Beckley Water Co.
Electricity: on-property electric service is supplied by Black Diamond Power Co.
Natural Gas: on-property gas service is supplied by Mountaineer Gas Co.
Internet: high-speed service available
Fire Service: approximately 1,000 feet from Sophia Fire Department
Cell: Coverage excellent with 4G supplied by several carriers
Sewer: Town of Sophia
MECHANICAL & IMPROVEMENTS
Many of the building’s mechanical features may be improved and repaired with the aid of grants and tax credits, which can offset total costs by as much as 90 percent if used in tandem. New heating, plumbing, and electrical systems may be eligible for tax credits, as may be expenses related to updating kitchens and bathrooms, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and fire-suppression systems and fire escapes. Grants are typically provided to remedy emergent issues that could lead to damage and may include the repair of the roof, windows, and foundations. Expenses covered by credits may include architectural and engineering fees, development fees, and other construction-related costs.
Natural gas heating is provided in all finished rooms throughout the property.
Three-phase service is available.
A Dura-last commercial PVC roofing system was installed in 2001 and has remained in good condition. State rehabilitation grants are generally available to help manage 50 percent of the cost of roof repairs.
Most of the building’s doors and windows have been recently replaced and are in good repair. State rehabilitation grants are generally available to help manage the cost of the repair of original doors and windows.
The property is zoned commercial by the Town of Sophia. All prospective buyers should consult the municipal zoning office regarding zoning and building codes.
DEED and TAX INFORMATION
Deed Information: DB 5045 Pg. 7949
Raleigh County, West Virginia
Acreage: 0.18 +/-
Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Raleigh County (41), West Virginia
Sophia Corp (10)
Tax Map 2 Parcel 76; LOTS 7-8 SOPHIA; Class 4
2020 Real Estate Taxes: $866.41
Public Elementary School:
Lester Elementary School (PK-5)
Public Middle School:
Independence Middle School (6-8)
Public High School:
Independence High School (9-12)
Greater Beckley Christian School (K-12)
Mabscott Christian Academy (K-12)
Saint Francis Desales Roman Catholic School (K-8)
Victory Baptist Academy (K-12)
WVU-Tech: Appalachian Bible College
Concord University (Beaver Campus)
Bluefield State College (Beaver Campus)
Southern West Virginia Community College
SOPHIA NATIONAL HISTORIC DISTRICT
The U.S. Department of the Interior in 1905 declared downtown Sophia a national historic district—a federal designation determined chiefly by its architecture and commercial history. Sophia was not a mining town but served a larger mining region, providing mine workers and their families access to merchandise not found in company-owned stores in mining camps. In Sophia, merchants accepted seventy-five cents on the dollar, while merchandise in the camps was much more expensive.
The community blossomed after 1909 when the Virginian Railroad opened a line through the area. When incorporated in 1912, it was the smallest town in the state with only 45 residents. By 1920, it was home to 240. It was accessible only by rail until 1925, though a road to the courthouse at Beckley was opened that year. In 1930, its population had reached 611, and the stone and brick buildings that define the present historic district were raised during that period.
According to the State Historic Preservation Office, the well-preserved buildings, including the historic W.J. Lovell General Merchandise, have earned their place on the National Register as a result of their character:
“The historic district represents early 20th-century commercial architecture and is significant for its local representation of that style. The buildings were designed and constructed to serve the needs of the surrounding coal towns during the early 20th century. The buildings represent the work of master stonemasons who possessed artistic skills in the craft of stone cutting.”
The National Register notes the following architectural features in its description of the Lovell building, though some features, such as the shingled awning, are not original:
“Two-story, four-bay, running-bond brick façade building has an expanse of a full-length, modern-glass storefront on the first story. Two single-glass separate entrance doors are divided by two fixed-glass center panels. Painted concrete block surfaces the minimal area between the glass panels on the first floor, which is covered by an asphalt shingle awning-style roof. A faux-painted single door is located between the glass areas. Two string-courses of brick are located above the rowlock brick course to divide the first story from the second. Four pairs of one-over-one double-hung sash windows with soldier headers and stone-plain lug sills are located across the second story. Two additional string courses of brick are located above the second story windows and below the three centralized recessed brick panels with alternating squared pattern of soldier-and-stretcher bricks. The center recessed panel cartouche marker reads, ‘W. J. Lovell—1922.’ The roofline is in the form of a battlement parapet.”
Properties in the historic district that possess architectural integrity and are termed “contributing” are eligible for substantial grants and tax credits for repair and maintenance. Matching grants may pay for 50 percent of costs and are typically provided to remedy maintenance issues including the repair of roofs, windows, and foundations. Expenses covered by tax credits may include architectural and engineering fees, development fees, and other construction-related costs. New heating, plumbing, and electrical systems may be eligible for tax credits, as may be expenses related to updating kitchens and bathrooms, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and fire-suppression systems and fire escapes.
ABOUT THE REGION
Sophia is located on the edge of the suburban Beckley area in the upland plateaus of central Raleigh County. The area is renowned for its cool summer nights, pleasant year-round climate, and access to remarkable scenic and recreational resources, including the New River Gorge National River.
The City of Beckley, the county seat, is a drive of fewer than 10 minutes from Sophia and has a population of more than 16,000. Its market area is calculated at more than 200,000 residents. The population of Raleigh County was estimated at 79,220 residents in 2000.
An hour’s drive by expressway, Charleston is West Virginia’s state capital and largest city. Its metro area includes more than 200,000 residents and is the state’s center of government.
BURNING ROCK OFF-ROAD PARK
Four miles southwest of Sophia, this 10,000-acre park hosts a growing number of guests and members drawn by the opportunity to challenge more than 100 miles of wandering rugged trail. Like other off-road systems in the region, it offers guests a selection of mapped trails maintained for off-road vehicle use, though Burning Rock also provides staff and basecamp with a shop and vehicle center and cabins and camping facilities. Park trails can be challenging, though it’s family-friendly and offers plenty of trails for young and less experienced riders. Jeeps and trucks are welcome as well as ATVs, dirt-bikes, and side-by-sides.
Three hospitals, including a Veterans Administration Medical Center, serve the Beckley area along with numerous clinics and healthcare centers. The area’s moderate climate and access to trails, gymnasiums, and athletic centers support healthy living. State medical centers at Charleston and Morgantown are an hour’s drive and a three-hour drive respectively.
Expressways I-77, I-64, and US-19 join at Beckley, providing easy access to Richmond, Charlotte, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Washington, D.C. An Amtrak passenger station is a 30-minute drive from Sophia and provides direct access to Washington, Chicago, and New York City. The Beckley-Raleigh County Memorial Airport is a 20-minute drive. An hour’s drive, Yeager Airport, at Charleston, is the largest and busiest flight-service center in the region while the Greenbrier Valley Airport, at Lewisburg, provides flight options to Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
The area offers exceptional access to outdoor recreation activities. Hiking and biking trails abound within a 30-minute drive at Twin Falls and Little Beaver state parks and in the New River Gorge National River. Winterplace Ski Resort is a drive of only 20 minutes away. Off-road enthusiasts are a drive of fewer than 10 minutes from Burning Rock Off-Road Park and its more-than-100 miles of Jeep, ATV, side-by-side, and single-track trails; and the Pinnacle Creek section of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails is a drive of fewer than 20 minutes. A half-hour’s drive north of Beckley, world-class rock climbing and whitewater rafting attract hundreds of thousands of climbers and paddlers annually to the New River Gorge. Five golf courses serve the Beckley area, including three world-class courses at Glade Springs—Stonehaven, Woodhaven, and the Cobb Course. Others include the Black Knight Country Club, Grandview Country Club, and Twin Falls. Fishing and hunting attract thousands of visitors to the region annually. The nearby New River is a world-renowned bass fishery, and seemingly countless mountain streams in the region are stocked with trout. As a result of unparalleled access to outdoor recreation, the Boy Scouts of America has established its permanent national Jamboree site near Beckley.
DINING & RETAIL
Sophia is a favorite dining and retail hub for southern Raleigh County and is notably home to the award-winning China One Buffet, in operation for more than 20 years. As part of the larger Beckley area, the commercial center of southern West Virginia, it boasts access to many national dining and retail establishments as well as unique local venues. Hometown dining choices include Tamarack, Rio Grande, Foster’s Main Street Tavern, Kimono-Kin Japanese, Young Chow’s, Wasabi Fusion, The Char, Calacino’s Pizzeria, Pasquale’s, and King Tut Drive-In. Other remarkable independent dining venues cluster at Charleston, Fayetteville, and Lewisburg. National chain stores include Sam’s Club, Lowes, Rural King, Tractor Supply, J.C. Penney, Staples, PetSmart, Belk, Walmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, CVS, and Harbor Freight. Food chains include Cracker Barrel, Outback Steakhouse, Cheddars, Olive Garden, Bob Evans, Shoney’s, McDonald’s, Chic Filet, Wendy’s, Burger King, Subway, Cook Out, Arby’s, IHOP, Bojangles, Campestre, Dairy Queen, Hardees, Long John Silvers, KFC, and Panera Bread.
From Interstate 77 (and 64) at Beckley/MacArthur: travel south 3.2 miles on four-lane WV-16 to its Sophia exit and bear right onto the exit ramp. At the end of the ramp, turn left, and proceed .4 miles to the junction with Robert C. Byrd Drive; turn right, and proceed .9 miles to the traffic light at Main Street. Turn right onto West Main Street, and proceed 300 feet to the storefront.
- State of West Virginia
- West Virginia Explorer
- West Virginia Government
- West Virginia State Parks
- West Virginia Tourism
- Wonderful West Virginia Magazine
- WV Department of Natural Resources
- Virginia – Commonwealth of Virginia
- Virginia is for Lovers
- Virginia Museum of History & Culture
- Virginia Museum of Natural History
- Virginia National Park Service
- Virginia Recreation
- Virginia State Parks