Four-family faculty homes building (former), Potomac State College - KeyserWV
In September 1935, the Public Works Administration (PWA) allotted $41,818 for the construction of faculty homes at Potomac State College (PSC), in Keyser, West Virginia. The allotment consisted of a $23,000 loan and an $18,818 grant.
The Tri-State Construction and Building Company of Ashland, Kentucky, won the bid to construct the homes, and broke ground in April 1936. In its April 24, 1936 edition, the PSC student newspaper, The Pasquino, reported that “The homes will be built on the property of the school on the site of the old golf course. Three buildings will be erected on the site. One will be a four-family brick apartment building, [and] two eight-room brick houses, one with a garage and one without.”
This description of the faculty homes is repeated elsewhere and is somewhat confusing. For example, a map from PSC’s 1948 yearbook shows only two faculty home buildings, at the intersection of Arnold and A streets (see image below and compare to Google aerial view). We believe that the current Enrollment Services and Visitor Center building—the southernmost building—was the “four-family brick apartment building” (a 2022 visit to the building, including an interior tour, showed the building to consist of four similar sections – two main floors, with two wings each).
Further, we believe that the “two eight-room brick houses” were combined into a single duplex structure. A visit showed a symmetrical and likely two-family structure. This building recently served as the campus police station but was unused at the time of our visit.
It is possible that the third building mentioned was a shop building, which was built specifically to aid in the construction of the faculty homes (at some point, this building took on the label “farm shop” – again, see the yearbook map and aerial view in the photo gallery below).
Though a Kentucky firm built the homes, the project meant employment for residents in the Keyser area: “This project has been in [planning] for many months and those interested are pleased, and citizens are delighted that work will be available for many during the summer” (Moorefield Examiner, 4-15-1936).
The faculty homes were completed in fall 1936 and among the new residents were Mr. and Mrs. Kirkland S. McKee (McKee was the dean of Potomac State College from 1936 until his death in 1963).
The PWA-funded faculty homes at PSC were part of a larger set of improvements for colleges in West Virginia. Others receiving New Deal assistance included West Virginia State University (a historically black college), Marshall College, West Virginia University (WVU, Morgantown), Concord University, Bluefield State University (another historically black college), and Glenville State University.
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“Groundwork Starts on Faculty Homes,” The Pasquino (Potomac State College, West Virginia), April 24, 1936, p. 1.
“Work Progresses on PWA Projects,” The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia), April 19, 1936, p. 29.
“Ickes’ Aids Hopeful,” The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia), September 20, 1935, p. 6.
“Clinic at Huntington, Homes Also Completed,” The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia), November 13, 1936, p. 4
“PWA Will Give Work For 4,700,” The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia), September 27, 1935, p. 12.
“Work Begins on Faculty Homes,” Moorefield Examiner (Moorefield, West Virginia), April 15, 1936, p. 1.
“New Faculty Homes Are Being Occupied,” Mineral Daily News and Keyser Tribune, November 23, 1936, p. 1.
Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, Projects Division, Report No. 5, Status of Completed Non-Federal Allotted Projects, January 3, 1940, p. 78, Docket No. W1033.
Potomac State College, The 1948 Catamount (college yearbook).
“Dean McKee of Potomac State Dies,” Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland), May 21, 1963, p. 11.
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on August 18, 2022.
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