An exhibit to feature photographs and illustrations from the era when George Washington’s family settled in West Virginia will open this week in the Nutting Gallery at the West Virginia University Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown.

This exhibit, curated by assistant professor and curator of the WVU art collection, Robert Bridges, will be on display from Feb. 24 until June 29.

The exhibit is based on the book Uncommon Vernacular: The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1735-1835, a fascinating architectural exploration which details John C. Allen Jr.’s expansive seven-year survey of Jefferson County’s historic residences. Adorned with more than 700 stylish photographs by Walter Smalling and elegant drawings, floor plans, and maps by Andrew Lewis, Uncommon Vernacular explores and preserves this historic area’s rich architectural heritage.

In his book, Allen focuses on dwellings built from the mid-18th century to the arrival of the railroad and canal in 1835 as he unfolds the unique story of the area’s early building traditions and architectural character. Allen spent seven years surveying historic homes in Jefferson County, including the plantation homes of George Washington’s family as well as the log houses of yeomen farmers.

To purchase this book, visit or phone (800) 621-2736.

John C. Allen Jr. works as a preservation coordinator and architectural historian near Shepherdstown, W.Va. He serves as the chairman of the Historic Landmarks Commission of Jefferson County. Illustrator Andrew Lewis is an award-winning licensed architect. Walter Smalling Jr., a Washington architectural photographer, began his professional career with the National Park Service and has worked as a freelance photographer since 1988.

This exhibit is sponsored by WVU Press and the College of Creative Arts.


CONTACT: Abby Freeland, Marketing Manager, WVU Press

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