Southern Agenda

Restoration Done Right

When the Tygart Hotel opened in the railroad hub of Elkins in 1907, it stood at the center of civic life, hosting banquets and welcoming governors. But after the building was converted to apartments fifty years ago, it began a long slide into neglect. “It was pretty horrible housing, but structurally still sound,” says Dave Clark of Woodlands Development and Lending, a nonprofit group that helped save the building. This winter, the six-story Tygart reopens as a boutique hotel with a restaurant and lobby bar. The $16 million project, supported by historic restoration tax credits, returns the property to its former glory, says Michael Mills, whose architecture firm designed the reboot. “When you walk in that front door, it has the aura and feel of a 1920s grand hotel.” Workers have restored the lobby’s tin ceilings and mosaic tile floor, while commissioned art honors the region’s timber ghost towns. The Tygart expects to serve growing tourist traffic drawn by nearby Monongahela National Forest, ski resorts, and an excursion train. Already it has kicked off a downtown revival, Clark says. “This is a tipping point project, and it’s all happening more quickly than we expected.”