The community of Beaver lies about a mile or so west of Craigsville in Nicholas County, along the main road that ran to Summersville. There was a general store, post office, several residences, and the Beaver grist mill. The store and post office were destroyed by fire in the 1930s and there are just a few houses that remain in the area – but the Beaver Mill building still stands along a mill race diversion from Beaver Creek and the mill building remains in viable shape.
The Nicholas County Historic Landmark Commission (NCHLC) has teamed with the Nicholas County Building Commission (NCBC) in the purchase of the 2.5 acre parcel which contains the mill building as well as the water diversions that previously powered the mill. The NCHLC had the property cleared of brush, removed trash and debris from within and outside of the mill building, and performed basic window glass replacement to weatherize the structure. The mill employed a rather unique horizontal milling wheel mechanism called a turbine wheel – often associated with French technology.
WVSU Extension Agent Ray Moeller is assisting the NCHLC in these efforts having applied for a Flex-E-Grant to conduct a feasibility study, structural assessment, and conceptual rendering for the site. These will subsequently foster the potential of engaging the community in planning and development of this heritage asset. The goal is to preserve & restore the historic mill building with any remaining mechanical elements along with the mill race, as well as assess the site for further development as a county heritage tourism asset. The NCHLC is working toward attaining full ownership of the property with support of both the NCBC and the County Commission.
The vision the NCHLC seeks to provide, is a beautiful heritage asset for Nicholas County residents and visitors. The property and mill building lie in a cozy setting along the banks of Beaver Creek, just a mile off highway 55 in Craigsville. Ultimately, the objective is to develop a public park with interpretive walking trails, picnic facilities, accessible mill site, and if feasible, reconstruction of the raceway and original mill wheel mechanism. When the property was acquired, the County was careful to include the dam on the creek, raceway upstream entrances and downstream exit. This project will plan for reusing these assets and protecting and reusing the creek resources.