ANSTED, WV (WOAY) – It is a piece of history and one of the most recognizable features in the Town of Ansted.
The Page Vawter House was built in 1890 and Jim Campbell, who moved to Ansted in 2006, bought it and has since restored it as it is now back on the market.
Campbell says it has been a true labor of love over the past 13 years as he has worked on the full top-to-bottom restoration.
“You got to do it the way it was,” he said. “You bring it back to that. You can’t modernize as much. We did a few modern touches, but basically the house is in its original state.”
The house has a rich history as it was built by the Gauley Mountain Coal Company for William Nelson Page, a trailblazing engineer.
Page worked alongside Henry Rogers, the head of Standard Oil and one of the richest people in the country, as they created their own railway system.
“And so together they built two railroads,” Campbell said. “The Tidewater and Deepwater and when they joined at the border of Virginia and West Virginia, it became the Virginias Railway, the richest railway in the world.”
Once Page retired and moved away, the house sat empty for years before the coal company gave it to Captain John Vawter, the head of the company store.
It then stayed in the Vawter family until 2005.
Campbell, whose connection to the area is through his wife’s family, was on one of his first trips to West Virginia when he saw the for sale sign in the yard.
“And you know, the rest is history. It was a great move for us, and I think it was a great move for the town as well to be able to come in and rescue this beautiful house for them,” he said.
With fallen-in ceilings and worn paint, it was a massive undertaking. Campbell, with the help of a small crew, redid the floors and the roof. They repainted the outside, repainted the inside, all basing it on the original photo of the house and making sure to keep the features they could while also keeping that Victorian feel.
All seven bedrooms are now finished as well as the bathrooms, two kitchens, the parlors and dining room.
Campbell’s original vision was to create a bed and breakfast and then as the years went on, it turned into a place where people could have bigger gatherings and Campbell could provide tours every now and then as he continued to work on it.
The house also became known for its annual Christmas display.
And now that the full restoration is complete, the house is back on the market.
“We have an antique store that we opened for a while. We’ve got the whole Chimney Corner thing down there that really takes my wife away for most of the summer during season. I do special events for a living so I’ve been really gone working with either Spartan Race or the boy scouts or my other projects I do, so it’s a little harder to do this and I would love to see it taken to the next level,” Campbell said.
Campbell says the most rewarding part about this project has been what it has done for the people of Ansted whether it is the ones who live nearby and did not want to see it fall in or the ones who come back to visit and mark it as a sign they are home.
“They would pass by this house, and when they passed by the house, they knew that they were home, so that’s the part that gets me. They were so thankful and grateful that we did this and that’s the part – there’s not a whole lot of times you get to really impact people that would appreciate you rescuing something especially something so important to a community.”
The house is listed under Old Colony Realty at $599,990.
Click here to see the promo video created by Campbell for the house.