Mason County Memories… Main Street plans historic home tour

By Chris Rizer - Mason County Memories

Have you ever wondered what’s inside of some of the most historic and beautiful homes in our area, homes often only seen from a distance? To explore backyard gardens rarely open to the public? To see a historic home currently in the middle of its restoration, the detailed brickwork and carpentry often hiding beneath the plaster?

Next month, a new event for old home-lovers will be coming to Mason County. On Saturday, June 25, Main Street Point Pleasant will be holding its first ever (and hopefully, annual) Summer Home & Garden Tour. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., four of Point Pleasant’s most historic homes will be open to ticket holders. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the Main Street office (305 Main Street, Point Pleasant) or People’s Bank on Main Street (421 Main Street, Point Pleasant). Or, they can be purchased the day of the tour at any of the four homes for $35. All proceeds go toward Main Street Point Pleasant’s mission of revitalizing our historic downtown.

This year’s homes participating in the tour are some that, if you’ve followed my articles, you’ll likely recognize. All of them were built in the 1800s, placing them among the oldest in the county. All of them have unique, detailed, personal stories, ranking them among our most historic. And all of them, take it from me, are absolutely stunning. You won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to see these homes.

The first home, at the north end of town, is Simon’s Old Town Farm. Designed by Gallipolis architect Treat Ford, built by Peter Steenbergen Lewis in 1866 as Beechwood Plantation, and beautifully restored in the 1980s, this property has only been owned by two families since Europeans permanently settled the valley in 1794. This was the home of Colonel Charles Lewis’ descendants, present throughout Point Pleasant’s history as statesmen, lawyers, bankers, and powerbrokers. Purchased in 2001 by Dr. Mel Simon and tenderly cared for since by the Simon family, the home has lost none of its elegance and charm in its 156 years.

The next home is Roseberry Plantation, built around 1815 by Thomas Lewis, Jr., the grandson of General Andrew Lewis and son of Point Pleasant’s founder, Thomas Lewis, Sr. The history on this property goes back thousands of years, with visible evidence near the home of the early Mound Builders, documented evidence of George Washington camping near the home during his 1770 survey trip, stories of the enslaved persons who built the home, and its later ownership by Congressman James Capehart and prominent local merchant W.O. Roseberry. Owned by Tim & Sarah Stover, and proudly restored in recent years by the Stovers and local craftsman Jeff Staats, Roseberry simply oozes southern charm and hospitality.

Next is a home downtown, the Risk-Howard House built in the 1880s for Virginia Risk and remained in the Risk family until 1945. Relatively unassuming from the front, the home is beautiful inside thanks to current owner Jerrie Howard’s various restoration projects, and it hides an even more stunning secret in the back. Unseen from the road, this backyard has one of the best kept and most elaborate gardens that I have seen in Mason County, with dozens of trees, bushes, flowers, and plantings of every size and color, and that is well-worth a visit in and of itself.

And last, but certainly not least, is the often talked about and rarely-seen Kisar-Kincaid House. Built in 1850 by early settler Dr. Samuel Shaw, heavily remodeled in 1894 by diamond jeweler Adam Frederick Kisar, lovingly maintained by Wayne & Margaret Kincaid, and now under restoration by our organization, Main Street Point Pleasant, the Kisar House ranks among the most ornate in the entire state of West Virginia. No other home in the state can boast of the ornate Art Nouveau tilework, modular parquet ceilings, or dozen unique fireplaces that make this home a jewel worth restoring.

We hope you’ll join us for this tour of such wonderful and historic homes! As I said, tickets are $25 if purchased in advance at the Main Street office or People’s Bank, or $35 the day of the tour at any of the four homes.

By Chris Rizer

Mason County Memories

Chris Rizer is the president of the Mason County Historical & Preservation Society and director of Main Street Point Pleasant, reach him at [email protected]

Chris Rizer is the president of the Mason County Historical & Preservation Society and director of Main Street Point Pleasant, reach him at [email protected]