BERRYVILLE — An engineer has documented every inch of the old livery stable on Berryville’s Main Street, and now it’s up to Town Council to decide what to do next — make necessary repairs to stabilize the 19th-century structure or rehabilitate the building and find a new use for it. Another less likely option is a total restoration to its original form.
Demolition may be considered, but it is also unlikely, according to architect and Town Council member Allen Kitselman and Town Manager Keith Dalton.
Kitselman and Dalton met with engineer Mike Damron last week to review the extensive structural evaluation prepared by his firm, Damron Engineering and Consulting LLC.
“We may not take the building back to its original state, but it needs to be repaired,” said Kitselman. “We want to respect its evolution.”
Damron said there is “no immediate need,” but the roof and its framing needs attention, as does the floor on the second level and the brick facade on the east side of the building. Some support beams appear to have been cut and rigged as the building was adapted for various uses.
He estimates it may cost more than $150,000 to repair the metal roof, its timber framing and the interior brick wall on the east side.
A longer-term, more complete rehabilitation may cost more than $300,000, Damron said.
Dalton said the structural evaluation, which was requested by Town Council, cost $13,000.
Town Council held a work session in June to prioritize a few community improvement goals, and one is to stabilize and find a new use for what was originally called Harry Hardesty’s Livery.
The livery is a two-story brick, block and wood structure, about 40-feet-by-25-feet, at 23 E. Main St. behind the Fire House Gallery.
According to Damron, the planed lumber in the livery suggests it was built in the 1860s. He believes there were four stalls in the livery with a wide aisle for buggies, but so much has been altered it’s challenging to determine the original floor plan.
The brick wall is definitely not original to the 1860 livery, Damron said.
Architectural historian and Clarke County resident Maral Kalbian included Harry Hardesty’s Livery in her 2011 book, “Images of America: Clarke County.” Kalbian described the livery as one of two stables in Berryville where travelers could board their horses overnight.
The building was incorporated into the Enders Fire Company when it was built in 1935. After a new fire station was built on South Buckmarsh Street in 1958, the former fire house with attached livery became offices for the Town of Berryville and its police department. Town offices and the police department moved into the new Berryville-Clarke County Government Center on Chalmers Court when it opened in late 2008.
Kitselman recommends making repairs “to save the building for another 20 years” and applying for any state and federal tax credits that provide financial incentives for rehabilitating historic structures.
Damron said the Virginia Department of Transportation also has grant money for the restoration of property related to transportation, and a livery may qualify.
Damron will make a formal presentation to the entire Town Council when it meets next on Jan. 9.
In addition to prioritizing and budgeting for repairs, Dalton said Town Council will decide to what era the livery should be restored as well as what its future use may be.
— Contact Cathy Kuehner at firstname.lastname@example.org