photo by: Photo by Shelley Hanson
The owner of a South Wheeling house that some do not want razed because of its historical significance says she is not having second thoughts about her plans to demolish the building.
Krista Peng of Clinton, Washington, bought the historic Hobbs Brockunier house, 3530 Eoff St., last December at auction for $6,900. After seeing how dilapidated the building was Peng decided it would be too expensive for her to renovate. She listed it for sale-by-owner on Zillow.com for $30,000.
Before it can be demolished, however, the Wheeling Historic Landmarks Commission must approve her plan. A group of residents has opposed her plan, saying they would like to possibly purchase the house and explore creating a non-profit company just for the structure. This would allow them to seek grant money to rehabilitate the building.
The landmarks commission recently tabled its decision, again, to allow the residents to come up with a plan and possibly negotiate a purchase with Peng.
In the meantime, Peng decided this week to take an informal online poll regarding the building. She noted, however, that her stance regarding the poor condition of the building hasn’t changed and that it should still come down.
“It’s just a community poll as many/most people want this building demolished and I’m just getting community input in writing,” she said.
Peng posted her poll on the “What’s Happening In and Around Wheeling WV” Facebook page.
“There are a few who are against (razing it), which I respect their views fully. However, most want this area beautified without costing upwards of $500,000 to restore,” Peng said.
“As owners of properties, it’s our duty to execute a plan and follow through, rather than pass the buck onto someone else whose plan will fall through as the last 20+ years of owners.”
In response to news about Peng’s poll, South Wheeling resident Ginger Kabala, who is also president of the South Wheeling Preservation Alliance, said she believed the Facebook page Peng chose was too obscure and new, and did not garner enough opinions from South Wheeling residents.
“The number of replies is insignificant. I didn’t recognize the names of any of the responders; I doubt that they live near South Wheeling,” Kabala said.
Kabala herself ended up commenting on the poll, later, though. She challenged Peng on her comments regarding how many people attended the landmarks commission meetings who are in favor of keeping the building. She also corrected her regarding the building’s historic designation.
“The Hobbs House itself is on the National Historic Registry: reference # for the district is #100005029 listed 3/5/2020. See site #OH-0879, p.45.,” Kabala wrote.
Eoff Street resident Bruce Redford, who lives across the street from the Hobbs house, also commented on Peng’s poll post:
“We have been looking at this place for 16 years now, we live across the street from it,” Redford said of the Hobbs house. “It’s time to salvage what is good enough to save, and demo the rest. “Both my wife and I have bad backs, we would go over and clean the sidewalks off in the summer and fall.
“It was rare that you would see anybody around to even cut grass or attempt to even clean the place up. It would be a nice piece of property after the building is taken down. Just my 2 cents worth.”
The South Wheeling Glass Works of Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. operated in the 1800s. It is known for its Wheeling Peachblow and Hobnail glass patterns among others. The house being debated belonged to John L. Hobbs, founder of the glass company.