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Berkeley Springs, West Virginia19. Fairfax Street -
State Park Side

The sprawling Fairfax Inn once dominated most of the Fairfax St. block facing the park under a variety of names, and built helter skelter beginning in 1794. When the main section of the hotel on the east side of Warm Springs Run burned in 1901, the way was open to develop the block as a commercial strip.

The corner building at Fairfax and Washington has one of the most complicated histories of any structure in town and it is linked -- literally at some periods -- to surrounding buildings. In 887, tannery worker George Biser bought a grocery business on this corner and built a brick building there in 1889. By the beginning of the 20th century, his retail business included both a structure on the corner and the building to the west on Fairfax St. In 1904, Biser added two stories to the corner building then sold it four years later to the Bank of Morgan County. Citizens National Bank purchased both this building and the adjacent one on Washington St. in 1939. The yellow brick facade was added by the bank in the 1950s. Mountain Laurel moved to this corner in 1998.

Berkeley Springs, West VirginiaThe next building to the west has cornices that state 1876 and 1890 marking it as the oldest structure on the block. It has always housed retail businesses and once opened to the corner building as part of Biser’s store. The 1901 fire stopped here. Italianate details on the upper level include a bracketted cornice.

Homeopathy Works is located in two buildings that have housed retail businesses for nearly a century. The easternmost structure was built by Ziler in 1908 and soon after became part of George Biser’s retail store. In 1913, the Dunham Building was constructed as a new addition to Biser’s store. Homeopathy Works opened in 1993.

The brick building next west was rebult in 1915 after a three-story structure, built in 1908 on Fairfax Inn grounds to house Ruppenthal Photo Gallery, was burned in the 1912 Fairfax Annex fire. It has been the site of a variety of retail business through the decades.

The Bath House Health Center building teaches earnest viewers not to believe everything engraved on a cornerstone. It was constructed in 1988 in the style of the older surrounding buildings, and dated 1888 as a joke. A building was constructed on this site in 1911 and then burned in the following year’s fire. It was rebuilt in 1912 and for many years housed the Bridge Cafe which advertised itself in 1918 as “The Delmonicos of Berkeley Springs.” Fire claimed the brick structure in 1981.

Berkeley Springs, West VirginiaThe northeastern corner of Wilkes and Fairfax streets is Lot A and entrance to the park. In 1822, the newly formed Morgan County bought the lot and the 18th century stone structure from Joseph Sherrard as the first courthouse. In 1844, it was burned in a massive fire. The county traded the lot for the one that holds the current Courthouse. In the 1880s, the St. Elmo Inn was located here and later became an annex to the Fairfax Inn linked by walkways over the run. It survived the 1901 fire and was operated as an independent lodging business with room for 200 guests and an adjoining pavilion. The building was destroyed by fire in 1912. The brick building now housing the Berkeley Springs Antique Mall was constructed in1922 as a car garage boasting "fireproof storage" for automobiles. A succession of businesses, most auto-related, located in the building including a bottling plant in 1934. The building was used by Berkeley Metal for manufacturing prior to the Antique Mall taking it over in 1990. The tiny building to the east was constructed in 1994 over Warm Springs Run where the walkways once were.

Morgan County CourthouseBerkeley Springs Walking Tour


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Berkeley Springs - Morgan County Chamber of Commerce
127 Fairfax Street
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
800-447-8797

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