Fort McCoy

May 31, 2013 |

Fort McCoy is currently hidden from view, housed within this wooden barn.

In Williamsburg, WV, one of the oldest historical structures is hidden beneath a wooden barn, situated below cold knob mountain and the rolling farmland of the Greenbrier Valley. Fort McCoy, which was built around 1770. The historic community of Williamsburg is located about 11 miles west of US 219 and the town of Renick.

Zoe Dolan, age 12

Zoe Dolan is a 12 year old 6th grader at Greenbrier Episcopal School who lives about a 1/2 miles down the road from McCoy’s Fort. So when her teachers assigned a project called “what makes this place, this place,” she decided to research the local fort and the community’s plans for its future.

Zoe: Back in the 1760’s a bunch of people were moving  to the “Big Levels” which is now known as Greenbrier and Monroe counties. Among the first group of permanent white settlers were William McCoy Senior and his wife Jane Hamilton McCoy, who settled in the Williamsburg area in 1769.

Upon arrival in Williamsburg, William built a small cabin to serve as a home  for him and his family. In order to protect themselves against Native Americans and any other possible threats, William built a fort to protect some of these early pioneering settlers.

A wooden barn was built over the old fort to help shelter it against the weather. Currently, the barn is now in disrepair and in danger of collapsing. The current property owner for the fort is going to give the site of McCoy’s Fort, and a few acres of surrounding property, to the local community organization, the Williamsburg District Historical Foundation.

The historical society, with help from the Williamsburg Community Action Group and Greenbrier Historical Society, plans to complete an archaeological dig of the site. Historians are interested in collecting historical information about the area’s first settlers and about Native Americans who visited the site before the settlers. They must first dismantle the fort, then store the structure’s elements.

Once the archeological dig is complete, they plan to restore the fort and open it as a tourist destination. A fundraising festival, The Poor Farm Festival, was held to raise money for the dismantling of the barn and the restoration of the fort.

sources: Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, endangered properties.

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