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Pendleton Heights, built between September 1, 1841, and June 20, 1842, was the home of William Kimbrough Pendleton. It is the oldest building on the Bethany College campus. On August 5, 1855, a Pendleton ledger (PFP.0177) shows that Pendleton made significant improvements to the house in the way of paint, wallpaper, carpet, window treatments, and door locks. A student's room is listed at that time. A letter from student William H. Nave to Charles Lewis Latimer, written January 1, 1861, reveals that Nave was boarding at the Pendleton home. He was only one of many students who have boarded at the Pendleton home throughout the history of the college. Charles C. Moore, a student from 1856-1858, reported that the students were often entertained in the home. During the Civil War, the Pendleton home was a station on the Underground Railway. Escaping slaves were hidden in the basement. Marcie Bright Banks of Pittsburgh recalls that her great grandmother's brother used to drive his hay wagon over to Bethany from Pennsylvania at night, hide the slaves under the hay, and then take them back to his home, where he hid them until it was safe to move them to West Middletown, Pennsylvania, where Alexander Campbell's sister, Jane Campbell McKeever, and her husband, Matthew McKeever, conducted Pleasant Hill Seminary, a seminary for young girls. Matthew McKeever hid the slaves in a loft, keeping this a secret from his family.
After Pendleton retired and sold the house to the college in 1889, it served as a boarding hall for ladies as well as a home for faculty and presidents. Throughout the 20th century and until June 2002, it was the traditional home of presidents. The house has historically been central to activities and special occasions at the college. Teas, chamber music performances, meetings of student organizations, retreats, student rallies, parties for students, faculty, staff, trustees, and special guests, receptions in honor of individuals or for special occasions, special luncheons and dinners, and lectures are typical of the kinds of the events associated with the house. Countless visiting dignitaries, including United States presidents, senators, and governors, have been welcomed, often as houseguests, at Pendleton Heights. It has traditionally been an intellectual, social, and cultural center of the college.
The house is in need of extensive repairs and upgrading at the present time and does not currently serve as the president's home. President Patricia Poteat is living at the Hibernia. A member of the faculty is occupying the house until a decision as to its future use and restoration of the house is made.
Harding, James E. Pendleton Heights [Bethany College (WV)]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1975.
Power, Frederick D. The Life of William Kimbrough Pendleton, LL.D., President of Bethany College. St. Louis: Christian Publishing, 1902.
Woolery, William Kirk. Bethany Years: The Story of Old Bethany from Her Founding Years through a Century of Trial and Triumph. Huntington, WV: Standard Printing and Publishing, 1941.