The Kincaid and Arnett Feed and Flour Building is one of the first, and now the oldest remaining, wholesale warehouses in Morgantown. It has had few modifications since it was built between 1904 and 1906 to house the equine feed and flour firm of J.C. Kincaid—a graduate of West Virginia University who grew up virtually across the street from the building—and William Arnett, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
It was part of the thriving wholesale and warehouse district known as Durbannah, which was later incorporated into Morgantown as what is now known as the Wharf Downtown. The structure is located where the B&O Railroad and the Morgantown Kingwood Railroad intersected and was situated beside the Monongahela River, placing it in a transportation hub of the area.
Their business was the first wholesale grain business in Morgantown, and its structure is an example of a turn of the century vernacular warehouse, which is unique in its focus on the customer experience. The Late Victorian display windows were used to showcase the “best feed and flour available in Morgantown” and signage was posted on every side of the building’s façade to ensure that it was visible from all modes of travel (rail, boat, etc.). The display windows and transom lights also allowed for natural light to enter the building, creating a retail space that was pleasant to spend time in. No other warehouse on Clay Street was built to attract the customer in this way, meaning that the building’s design enhanced the sales and profits of the business.
This structure is also representative of a period of substantial growth and expansion in Morgantown. This growth was spurred by three factors in the 1890s:
- A new river lock opened transportation from Pittsburgh via the Monongahela River.
- The B&O Railroad connected through Morgantown.
- Gas and oil discoveries induced further growth as migration from Europe to work in this industry boomed.
This growth created the need for services such as those that Kincaid and Arnett provided.
Check out the full National Register listing here.