The building that will soon become Lafayette Flats is known officially as the Malcolm Building. It is a contributing structure in Fayetteville’s Historic District and is itself on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1906 to house the Fayette Bank (now located on the opposite end of the block) and has been used for many different purposes over its life including a bar, a library, a church and a restaurant. The basement housed a pool room for a long time and then a barbershop. The first floor is currently a law office that will remain for the foreseeable future.
In the 1920s while the building was serving as a restaurant it suffered a catastrophic fire. The stone exterior remained but the entire interior was gutted by the fire. The owners rebuilt by cutting holes in the side of the building and inserting large steel beams over which they built steel joist and concrete floors. If you look closely on the Wiseman Avenue side of the building you can see where they repaired the holes they made to insert the beams. The building is incredibly solid now and virtually fireproof because of the solid concrete and steel construction.
The interior finish of the building is in beautiful condition. The woodwork has mostly been preserved from the 1920’s rebuild and very little has been painted over. Most of the doors have still operable transoms over them and many of the doors have the old frosted privacy glass in them. The old plaster looks like new throughout with almost no cracking; a testament to how solid the building is. Most of the windows have been replaced with newish double-hung aluminum thermopane units.
The electrical system is a scary mess, so that will be job one. The ancient boiler needs immediate attention but since we will be installing forced-air heating and air conditioning, the boiler will probably be unhooked and left in place.
We look forward to showing you more pictures of building as work as it progresses. There are still some hurdles to clear before that happens (like the small detail of actually closing on the building) but we are already excited about getting to work. We hope you follow us and watch as this venerable old building becomes the coolest place to stay in West Virginia’s coolest small town.
Update: Read More about the history of the Malcolm Building.