The Early Years: The Brick Row Apartment Building, 1891-1921
The Brick Row Apartment Building, circa 1900.
In the early 1890s, Morgantown was a booming industrial/college city, and housing was in short supply. "123 Pleasant Street" was built in 1891 as Morgantown's first major apartment building. Named "The Brick Row Building," it was constructed in a 3-story rowhouse-style relatively rare in West Virginia. The Brick Row was divided into 5 rectangular sections with 5 street addresses. There were apartments on each floor, including the current barrooms. Wooden steps led up to a porch and door at each address. A unique facade individualized each bay of apartments, with arched openings on the front and side of the porches giving it an elegant appearance. The building was in the heart of town, between the railroad depot and riverboat landing and mainstreet.
During these years the various rooms housed hundreds of people young and old--families, individuals, teachers, professors, doctors, college students, laborers (especially tin-workers), merchants, railroad employees, etc. The most famous resident, Morgantown architect Elmer Jacobs, lived at 121 Pleasant Street (the lower-bar area) in 1901 and possibly longer. He designed many of Morgantown's most impressive buildings and homes (over 400, supposedly), and much of Morgantown's current look can be attributed to him. The lower bar is now nicknamed Jacobs' House.