Coal Miner's Clubhouse
A West Virginia meeting house becomes an elegant home.
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When Elisse Jo Goldstein Clark looked at her new home, she envisioned the Italian palace of her dreams. And luckily her husband, Dan Clark, shared this vision. Their challenge was creating this vision with an old West Virginia coal miners' clubhouse that had been damaged by floods and vandalism and was slated for demolition.
Built in 1929 by Empire Coal & Coke Company as the "Miners' Clubhouse," the 10,800-square-foot building was abandoned after floods hit in 2001 and 2002. When the Clarks stumbled upon it, there was 4 feet of muddy water to contend with. They were delighted to find the toilets, a few old bathroom sinks and six claw-footed bathtubs were still intact. Elisse was excited about all the potential wall space the building would offer to feature her art gallery.
They preserved as much as possible, and some problems turned into blessings. When all three plumbing lines froze and broke, Dan had to pull up several of the bathroom floors. In doing so, he discovered the original tile floors from the early 1900s. When moldy ceiling tiles collapsed, the Clarks found original brick archways that had been hidden under drywall for years.
Turns out our fearless leaders -- George Washington, in particular -- liked to dabble in interior design when they weren't...