The West Virginia. Cyclopedia


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Wildwood, near downtown Beckley, WV, also known as "Wildwood House Museum," was the home of Beckley-founder General Alfred Beckley and was built as a double-log structure in 1836, commissioned by Beckley to be readied when he arrived in the wilderness of then-Virginia with his family. Beckley had inherited large parcels of the wilderness of western Virginia from his father, John Beckley, first librarian of the U.S. Congress, for whom he named the town Beckleyville. After years of neglect the home was restored in the 1970s to its appearance after clapboarding and the addition of a rear kitchen wing in the 1850s.

From a low knoll, Wildwood overlooked the Giles, Fayette and Kanawha Turnpike (today's South Kanawha Street and formerly the Bluestone Road) which Beckley helped organize in the 1840s. The cabin was located along the rural turnpike just south of its junction with the "Guyandotte Turnpike" (today's Main Street and formerly the Logan Road), where Beckley platted a town with a court house square. Beckleyville later became the seat of Raleigh County.

Beckley and his first wife, Amelia Neville Craig, were buried in Wildwood Cemetery, across South Kanawha Street. Though the widower Beckley remarried, he spent many evenings pondering his first wife's grave from his home's gracious front porch. Unfortunately, the historic view from home to cemetery has been severely compromised by residential development and construction of the Beckley Memorial Baptist Church complex between. For information on interior tours of Wildwood (the exterior and cemetery are open 24 hours daily for visitation), please call(304)256-1747.

See also Beckley Historical Sites