Help Save
a Huntington Landmark

By Dave Peyton
Charleston Daily Mail
Feb. 9, 2004

Huntington is a city of fine old homes, but none perhaps is as striking or as unusual as the "Coin" Harvey house at 1305 3rd Ave.

Frankly, it looks out of place in Huntington, a city built primarily of red brick.

Its white stucco exterior and architecture, which appear to be more Italian than American, suggest it was built by an eccentric. The date carved into the facade's center -- 1874 -- means that it was built just a few years after Huntington became a city.

But today there's a problem. The home is in danger. Its foundation is weak and its roof needs repair. After that, it needs more, much more. A non-profit foundation and other groups have taken on the job of restoring it.

But time is of the essence.

The house was built by William Hope Harvey (1851-1936), a native of Buffalo in Putnam County. He was a teacher, lawyer, silver miner, resort owner, author and presidential candidate. Mostly, he was a restless soul and today all but forgotten.

But in 1894, he was a national sensation for publishing his book "Coin's Financial School," which sold more than a million copies.

Harvey tried his hand at teaching at the age of 16, but soon began reading to become a lawyer and was admitted to the bar at 19. He practiced in Barboursville briefly, then moved to Huntington and went into law practice with an older brother, Thomas.

In fact, the entire Harvey clan from Buffalo had moved to Huntington at the time,
Harvey apparently thought he would settle in Huntington because the house he commissioned was built to last. But restless souls are never satisfied.

For whatever reason, Harvey moved to Gallipolis, Ohio, the very next year. It's there he married Anna Halliday. After a brief stay in Ohio, Harvey went to Colorado, became interested in silver mining and started working silver claims.

While in Colorado, Harvey became interested in the "free silver" political movement. Increased silver production and a decision by Congress to stop minting silver coins caused the price of silver to plunge.

Harvey became a leader in the movement to demand unrestricted silver coinage. That's where he got the nickname "Coin."

Harvey went on to run for president on a third-party ticket and eventually began building a resort in Arkansas, where he died penniless in 1936.

His Huntington home has been left to the E.J. and Lenore Kaiser & David Gerlach Foundation. It and several other organizations are working to get public funds to save and preserve the home.

Jim St. Clair, a Huntington attorney involved in the project, says the building may not be salvageable if the roof and foundation aren't repaired immediately.

The non-profit foundation is in the process of applying for federal and state grants to provide basic and necessary repairs. But it's seeking private donations as well.

You can read more about "Coin" Harvey, the house he built in Huntington, and how you can help preserve Huntington's most unusual old home on the Internet at http://www.coinharvey.com or by calling (304) 525-5910.

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