History of the Historic Fleming Home

2 1/2-story, "U"-shaped, stucco masonry building in a Colonial Revival / Beaux-Arts style.

The Fleming Family

Sitting at the end of First Street, the Fleming Home was built in 1901 and served as the Home for the prominent Fleming family in the early part of the 20th century. Thomas Walter Fleming was born in 1846 into one of the most historic and vital families in West Virginia. Fleming spent his life building Fairmont into an industrial center in the northern part of the state. He spent two terms as mayor and was elected to the House of Delegates in 1905. During his time in politics, Fleming was responsible for paving the first road in Fairmont and helping provide the city with its first waterworks system.

His cousin, Aretas Brooks Fleming, was the eighth governor of West Virginia, while his great-grandfather’s brother was Boaz Fleming, the founding father of Fairmont. Thomas Fleming married Annie Sweeney of Wheeling, and the two were married for more than 60 years. Thomas and Annie died within a week of each other in July 1937, leaving their children, Allison Sweeney Fleming and his sister Jean M. Wilshire, with the estate, who sold it to the current owners, GFWC Woman’s Club of Fairmont, in 1938.

The Fleming Home

Fleming Mansion during Tea With A Twist

A member of a prominent Wheeling family, Annie invited local women to her elegant Home to discuss civic projects and social issues. In 1906 the Woman’s Club of Fairmont was organized at the Fleming home with Mrs. Fleming as its first president. One of Annie’s last wishes was that the family home be passed to the Woman’s Club. In 1938 the Fleming heirs sold the Home to the Club for $25,000. The architecture of the Fleming Home is a mixture of American neoclassical revival and early 20th-century motifs that define Beaux-Arts Classicism. The Home reflects appropriate Victorian styles of the era. When looking at the Home from the outside, everything is symmetrical. Everything repeats itself. From the street, visible on either side of the front solarium, passersby can see the porches on either side of the building. These are particularly appealing because of the privacy and street views they provide. These porches are accessed by entering the Home.

Once visitors pass through the entrance lined with lincrusta wallpaper and bevel glass doors that lead from the solarium into the Home, the grand staircase, fireplace, and banquet room featuring a grand piano and grandfather clock are immediately visible. The community donated much of the current furniture, but several pieces came from Europe and were original to the Home. The Flemings purchased this furniture in France, which is now more than 100 years old. It was then shipped to New York and made its way to Walker’s Landing near where Palatine Park in Fairmont now sits.

The Home’s first floor features what was once a billiards room, a library, a dining room, and a kitchen. The dining room features original silver and china and a unique feature built into the floor. A button is on the floor under where the headmaster would sit. The sound would summon the servants to assist the owners and guests. These buttons throughout the Home allowed servants to use private staircases to remain unseen. The second floor features bedrooms where the Fleming family lived. It features “Jack and Jill” bathrooms and plenty of storage. There are fourteen or fifteen closets, and all of the rooms connect. The closet in the main bedroom not only has a door hidden in it that leads to the adjacent room, but also three doors, all with attached mirrors. These allowed Annie Fleming to see all angles of herself as she dressed. The house servants occupied the four rooms on the third floor. It is believed the servants were a family as they acted as a driver, cook, gardener, and housekeeping staff. The center room on this floor features added windows for natural light so the servants could see to iron the Flemings’ clothes.

Since 1938, the Home has served as a headquarters, where members work on civic projects and host various events, business meetings, and historic home tours as they continue efforts to preserve the landmark Home. This beautiful Home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information, or to book an event, contact the GFWC Woman’s Club of Fairmont directly at 304-363-9414



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