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The Appalachian Hardwood Center (AHC) at West Virginia University, is a jointly supported center of the WVU Extension Service and the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design.

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The center was established in 1987 by the West Virginia Legislature to provide technical and research support for the state's growing wood products industry. The AHC is a center of excellence for outreach; extension and technology transfer; professional development; and applied research. The AHC serves sustainable natural resource-based businesses and communities as well as private forest landowners and natural resource professionals in the Appalachian forest region.


Prior to the start of some planned alterations to the interior finish flooring material, structural engineers within the church membership decided to evaluate the condition and perform a structural analysis of the existing floor system which consists of 3" X 12" solid wood joists and 1" tongue & groove wood flooring. Larry Osborn of the Appalachian Hardwood Center is identifying the wood species, and also sharing his past experiences with the evaluation of other large old wooden commercial and public buildings in the WV/PA area.


Construction of the church began in 1867. The cornerstone was laid in 1869, and the church was finished and dedicated in 1870. The building was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places 1978. Of particular interest inside the building, the decorative murals of St. Francis Xavier Church have been called "the most significant examples of ecclesiastical art in West Virginia today" by the West Virginia Department of History and Culture. The murals are noteworthy because of their three-dimensional, bas-relief style also known as tromp l'oeil painting.

For photos and more information about this historic church, visit the following websites:




AHC staffer Larry Osborn is always available to discuss and assist with wood anatomy & identification, and other wood technology topics.

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