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Karen Stuebing | all galleries >> Bluefield, West Virginia > Falling Down
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Falling Down
21-NOV-2007 Karen Stuebing

Falling Down

West Virginia

A great blow was dealt to the restoration efforts of downtown Bluefield, Tuesday, November 12, 2007.

About a third of the west side of the Old People's Bank in Bluefield collapsed before dawn Tuesday. No one was injured.

This structure stands on the corner of the main roads of Princeton Avenue and Bland St. It was a unique architectural design and was erected in 1895 by stonemasons from Italy. It originally housed the People's Bank. At that time, it was was the oldest brownstone structure south of Charleston.

It was slated for restoration and grants had been obtained but it was delayed because the legal transfer of title from the Redeeming Life Christian Center had not been completed.

The collapse decimated the center portion of the 115-foot long building. Engineers are evaluating the damage and prelimary reports indicate that the back portion of the building is intact and there does not appear to be any new movement.

One lane of Princeton AVenue and Bland St are closed to traffic and the area around the building is closed for pedestrian use.

However, the intial grant was to stabilize the structure not rebuild it and it may be cost prohibitive for the city at this point although they are going to do all they can to save it.

The previous photo "Eyes in the Sky" is a photo from a few years ago of this building.

The next photo is a close up of the damage.

Olympus C-5050Z
1/125s f/7.0 at 7.1mm iso64 full exif

other sizes: small medium original
larose forest photos05-Oct-2012 18:40
That is so sad. As Laine say, hard to imagine such a solid building suddenly collapsing. V
Christie McFarland 16-Dec-2010 16:18
I grew up in an apartment in that building and my grandmother lived down the hall I have so many memories. I wanted to get photos of the building too and kept putting it off. I was sad to see that the buliding collapsed and and was tore down. If anyone has any photos of the building before it was demolished can you please send them to Thank you!
Cindy Powell18-Jun-2008 13:27
Karen, I'm so glad you have these photos. It was a wonderful old building, full of history. Wasn't Al Land's Jewelry store beneath it? It's a shame that so many of these old buildings and homes are falling in.
dond13-Mar-2008 18:48
Hi Karen,
I was just in Bluefield to visit my Aunt Helen who used to own this building. Her husband, Bernard Jarrett, bought the building years ago and founded Southern Office Supply and Southern Printing plus a small weekly newspaper. My Aunt retired some years ago (she's now 90 years old) and sold it to the Church.

This building (so I'm told) had no steel in it...once the roof leaked it was only a matter of time...what a shame.

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost.

Once this building was torn down, the brick wall of the adjacent building collapsed also.

Best regards in keeping up your documentation of Bluefield through your wonderful photographs.

Don Davis
Guest 22-Dec-2007 23:30
It is a pity Bluefield is letting so many buildings fall down. I was aiming to take a pic of the old building lying there on the ground during my last trip, but as usual I left town without doing a lot of things I wanted to.
laine8222-Nov-2007 20:19
What a loss, Karen...hard to imagine something so solid simply falling down !!