The Journal
Friday, June 2, 2006

Payment Made for Porterfield House
County Commission reallocates funds originally slated for the library Commission

By NAOMI KIMBLE Journal Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG -  Tom Ressler, president of the Falling Waters Battlefield Association, has secured a downpayment on the historic Porterfield House.
     Thursday morning, members of the Berkeley County Commission agreed to reallocate $100,000 to help with the purchase of the home, originally constructed by Davy Crockett's grandfather.
     The funds were earmarked last year to help with the construction of a North Berkeley Library.  But commissioners said little progress has been made on the project.  Books in the county's north end are still being stored in the basement of a local Ruritan Club, while the historic Porterfield House remains up for sale and could be swiped off the market and turned into a new development any day now.
     Commissioners said that reallocating the funds for the Porterfield House could help solve both problems.  The home - which was once part of a Civil War battlefield - can now be saved, and the library can locate its books in the house.
     Delegate Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, who was on hand for the day's meeting, said he supported the decision.
     "What better place to preserve history than in a library," he asked.
     Still, the group's debate was filled with frustration.   Commissioners questioned why they had not heard from the library board.  Each year, they donated $500,000 to the group, but still, no library has been built in the county's north end, they said.
     "I'm concerned that everything is going to the main library and we're not getting anything out of that for Northern Berkeley County... and that's not right," County Commissioner Ron Collins said.
     Residents in that area of the county, "deserve," a library, he said.
     They've got it (a library) in the South end.  We've got it in Hedgesville.  They deserve it in the North end," he said after the meeting
     And the Porterfield House both deserved and needed to be saved, noted County Commission President Howard Strauss.
     With the home up for sale, there was no time to wait for the library board to take action on the matter he said.
     "We can't wait a year or two until the library board makes its decision," he said Thursday.  "If we don't take action, that property will be sold... and our important history will be lost."
     Ressler said he was filled with a mixture of suprise and relief following the commission's decision to help preserve the property.
     "I didn't know if we were going to get it or not," he said, adding that once they decided to contibute the funds, he was so moved that he could barely make his way back to his seat.
     Other partnerships as still being eyed to help fund the purchase of the property.  Members of the Berkeley County Farmland Protection Board are also considering whether or not they should make a financial contribution.  They were scheduled to take a tour of the property on Thursday afternoon.

-Staff writer Naomi Kimble can be reached at 263-8931 ext. 183, or





From I-81 take Spring Mills Exit 20, then proceed West on Hammonds Mill Road (WV 901).  T.J. Jackson Drive is the first road on the left (south side) approximately 300 yards west of I-81.  The library is on the corner, next to, but set back from the CNB Bank, across the street from the Shell Gas Station & Convenience Store.  Library Phone Number: (304) 274-3443.