Halliehurst mansion was built in Elkins in 1890 on a 450-acre farm by Sen. Stephen B. Elkins, for whom the town is named. The house was named for his wife, Hallie Davis Elkins, who was the daughter, wife, and mother of U.S. senators.
Mrs. Elkins had admired a Rhineland castle she saw in Germany, and architect Charles T. Mott of New York City was commissioned to design Halliehurst based on the memory of his client. The house is made of wood with heavy timber framing throughout. Interior wall surfaces are plaster on wooden lath. The first floor exterior walls are covered with German drop siding, and upper stories are finished with wood shingles.
Halliehurst defies connection with any architectural style except possibly the Shingle Style. It certainly gives the impression of a castle, when viewed as a whole, with its collection of towers of various diameters and heights. Its signature feature is the great south tower embraced by its two-story porch overlooking the south lawn, city of Elkins, and the mountain ridge beyond. Flanking the tower are columned wrap-around lower porches. All porches are accented with roof edge balustrades. The main roof was originally covered with slate.
First floor interior rooms are spacious, designed for the social events for which Hallie Elkins was well known. The parlor, dining room, library, and great hall are beautifully appointed with woodwork and trim of West Virginia hardwoods. Fireplaces are wide, and elegantly trimmed with tile, wood, and stone.
Once a happy family residence, and the site for political and business gatherings for one of the college founders, Halliehurst was the first building on the relocated Davis & Elkins College campus. Since restoration, it has served as a social center and college administration building, housing the office of the president and other officials of the college. Graceland, the Henry Gassaway Davis mansion, stands nearby.
This Article was written by Paul D. Marshall
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Elkins, West Virginia: Its Past, Present, and Future. Elkins: Board of Trade, 1906.
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