POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Just as every person has a story, so does every home.
Tucked away against Point Pleasant’s flood wall is one such home — the A. F. Kisar Home.
Since 2008, the historic home has belonged to the City of Point Pleasant and has been in the care of the Main Street Point Pleasant organization which is attempting to restore it to its former glory and make it one of the top tourist destinations in town.
In recent years, Main Street Point Pleasant received funding to replace the home’s substantial slate roof and copper gutters. Now, the windows in the home, along with the heating and cooling system, is set to be revamped thanks to another grant.
Main Street Point Pleasant Director Charles Humphreys said a Transportation Enhancement Grant for $240,000 will help fund even more updates to the home with bids possibly going out for the job this week. Humphreys estimated it will take at least three to six months to complete the job which is just the latest attempt to remove any “modern” additions to the home to bring it back to its original state. Improvements further down the wish list include working on the interior walls, floors and ceilings as well as tearing up the concrete surrounding the home for placement of period gardens. With all this work to be done and grants to be found, it could easily be at least another year before the home is opened to the public, if not longer.
However, once the home is complete, Humphreys says he feels it’s going to be a “very good thing for the city and once it’s done, it will be there for another 100 years.”
What about its first 100 years?
The A.F. Kisar Home’s story begins with Kisar himself, a local jeweler who came to Point Pleasant in the late 1800’s with the home’s construction estimated to date back to the 1890’s. Kisar is said to have made three trips to England to select the colorful, flower patterned tiles which line the home’s walls of the dining room, foyer and staircase. The pastel-colored bricks on the outside walls are also of English design. Then, the late Wayne and Margaret Kincaid purchased the house in 1962 - the couple purchased the home for less than $20,000 but sank $60,000 into repairs just to move in.
After several years of these extensive repairs, the Kincaids did move in and made the Kisar home, their home. For many years Wayne and Margaret operated a family-run grocery store on Main Street just a few yards from this house. One service of their store was to provide groceries to many of the towboats operating on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers.
Though at first glace, the house may seem a bit like a museum with its high ceilings and antiques, it was “just home” to the Kincaid family which included children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The Kincaid family also included Hezekiah, the giant griffin carved out of golden oak that stands guard in the foyer. Wayne salvaged Hezekiah from the Lowe Hotel where it had rested for many years as the newel post at the bottom of the hotel’s marble staircase. Hezekiah was said to be carved by local artist Jake Heib who also did the ornate word working in the Kisar home.
The dark wood in the home is typical of the Victorian era. The doors, door frames, mantels and woodwork around the fireplaces are intricately hand carved. The foundation of the house is sandstone. The floor joists are 2 x 12’s. The roof is slate. No two of the 12 fireplaces in the home are alike. Several are made of marble. One unique feature of the house is parquet flooring and carved ceilings, some of which are attached with screws to be removed in the event of high water since, at the time it was built, there was no flood wall. The woodwork around the first floor doors is also attached this way.
The foyer floor is covered in mosaic tiles, a small brightly colored tile. Originally, the dining room floor was the same, but, unfortunately was so badly damaged that it could not be restored. The Kincaid’s acquired over the years many pieces of antique furniture for their home, including a rosewood piano like the one in the Mansion House at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park.
Of course there is more to a home than its belongings or knowing where the tile was made. There are the stories of the people who made it a home, like Margaret who opened the home to visitors without hesitation. Though Wayne preceded her in death by a few years, before Margaret passed away in 2004, her wish was to keep the home open to the public if at all possible. After all, what’s the point of having a story, or a home, if no one’s around to share it?