After their marriage in 1841 and an extensive wedding trip, James C. and Persis Hagans McGrew set up housekeeping in this painted brick home known within the family as "The Pines." The original 1840's structure consists of the northern section of the present house, which is in Federalist style. After the Civil War, the McGrews added the large southern section which reflects an Italianate and Gothic Revival style. The McGrews lived here throughout their lives, raising their three children.
Today, it stands as a reminder of the tension filled days prior to and throughout the Civil War--a time when men like McGrew were called into service as representatives to the Virginia Convention, where secession from the Union was hotly debated. That the home survives at all is a symbol of the United States' ability to prevail through rebellion, devastation, and reconciliation. It was accorded status on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.
In 1989, the City of Kingwood Tourism Committee discovered the historical significance of what was then casually known as the "Gibson property." Local volunteers united to form the McGrew Society, later known as the legal, non-profit organization Society for Preservation of McGrew House, and in the early 1990's, the Society entered into an agreement with the County Commission to restore and maintain the property and to offer educational and cultural programs there.
Through the years, grant monies, local sponsorships and donations, and funds raised by the Society have allowed the group to restore and renovate the House. As important as the money has been, thousands of hours from volunteers across Preston County have given the House new life for a new generation of West Virginians to enjoy and gain an appreciation for our State's heritage and forefathers--men like James C. McGrew.
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