Woman’s Club of Fairmont members are concerned that the rich history of the Fleming Mansion may become a memory after a sinkhole on the National Historic Landmark property continues to worsen.
With the Fleming Mansion being a national treasure to the City of Fairmont and the state of West Virginia, club member Marcella Yaremchuk said the winter weather stopped immediate action to fix the yard.
“With snow on the ground, and then melting, and snow and melting, we just tried to monitor, and now it seems like it is spring and it’s now time to take action,” stated Yaremchuk.
Marcella spoke about how the $600,000, 118-year-old mansion is packed with a long list of statewide memories that have brought smiles to the community. She said she fears those are at jeopardy with the growing problem.
The sinkhole currently reaches more than six feet wide, with certain parts of it hitting almost two feet in depth. Yaremchuk said that according to Department of Environmental Protection officials, the sinkhole was not the first of its kind on the property.
“Environmental Protection did send us a letter stating that they felt that it was due to a water line under the ground being crushed and broken over a period of years, and the house was built in 1902. So, if it’s the same piping from then, it has kept up really well for this long,” Yaremchuk said.
However, the bigger issue with the sinkhole problem is funding to keep the Fleming Mansion alive. Yaremchuk said the support of the community is important.
“It’s not owned by the Woman’s Club of America. It belongs to us, so it’s up to us to maintain. We don’t get funding from the Woman’s Club of America to fund this.”
With help from Marion County Commission and the DEP, Woman’s Club officers said the next step is to have someone come out and survey the property to see the cost of the damage.