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Shanklin’s Grand Theatre in Ronceverte on WV Endangered Properties 2011 List

Shanklin’s Grand Theatre in Ronceverte on WV Endangered Properties 2011 List
Shanklin’s Grand Theatre in Ronceverte designed by John Norman, Sr., one of the first of West Virginia’s African American architects, is on the 2011 Endangered List Properties. The Ronceverte Development Corporation intends to purchase the property, which sits in the heart of the downtown, to protect it from demolition.

Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) selected eight historically significant sites for their 2011 Endangered Properties List. Sites from around the state include three former schools including a training facility for “colored” orphans, a coal town high school, and a private academy. Industrial sites listed include a historic train depot, coal company store, and a coal and coke company railroad building. A cemetery chapel and art deco theatre complete the list. PAWV will provide preservation assistance and advocacy to help local supporters in their efforts to save and reuse these significant sites.

Among them is Shanklin’s Grand Theatre in Ronceverte (Greenbrier Co.) designed by John Norman, Sr., one of the first of West Virginia’s African American architects. Built circa 1937, it is the best remaining art deco theater in the county. The Ronceverte Development Corporation intends to purchase the property, which sits in the heart of the downtown, to protect it from demolition. Future plans include restoring the theater for public use and as a community college cinema arts classroom. The old WRON Radio studios on the second floor will be converted for use as a recording studio.

Endangered lists are used by preservation organizations to bring attention to the plight of at-risk properties and to provide assistance to the dedicated organizations involved in their preservation. The selected properties contribute to our understanding of our heritage, which will be diminished if they are lost. PAWV revived its endangered list program in 2009 with a competitive application process and with technical assistance provided to the selected properties.

Thanks to the Partners in the Field Challenge Grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the committed donors who have stepped up to that challenge, PAWV field representative, Lynn Stasick, provides endangered list sites with assistance such as needs assessment, preservation expertise, capacity building, raising public awareness and advocacy. Stasick explains “I work with each property and each community in an effort to rehabilitate and adaptively re-use these unique historic sites.”

Properties selected for the PAWV Endangered List must be listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and meet other criteria such as historic significance, preservation emergency, and local support. Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is the statewide, grassroots organization promoting historic preservation and our state’s cultural heritage.

To follow the fate of past Endangered List Properties, look for updates in the Saving Sites section of our website. More information about listed sites and nomination forms for next year’s Endangered Properties List is available at: www.pawv.org/endanger.htm.

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