"Marry and Bury"
Highgate Carriage House was built in 1908 by businessman and coal baron, James Edwin Watson, as part of the Watson family estate named High Gate (Yes, two words, "High Gate," refers to the entire estate, and the one word, "Highgate," refers to the wedding venue, except when referring to the contracting entity of the venue owned by RCG events, in which case the venue is "The Carriage House at High Gate." Yes, it's silly. Yes, Jess and Nick had a debate about it. Yes, Nick referenced the National Archives Catalog, the common usage, and the venue contract to settle the difference. Also, and finally, yes, the venue contract leaves it unclear whether we've contracted with RCG Events, a business registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State, or "The Carriage House at High Gate," which is not a legal entity of any kind to the best of our knowledge.)
Anyway! Watson was the founder of the Consolidation Coal Company, and hired Horace Trumbauer, architect for The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, to design High Gate. High Gate's stable and the adjacent mansion remain fine examples of Tudor revival architecture with half-timbering, stucco wall cladding and clay-tiled-roofs—an academic style based upon late Medieval English prototypes that was common among suburban domestic architecture in the United States in the early-20th-Century.
When James E. Watson died in 1926, High Gate was purchased by the Sisters of St. Joseph who used the mansion as a rest home and kindergarten for local Fairmont children.
Friends of High Gate, a non-profit organization, was formed in 1989 by a group of concerned individuals striving to save the Carriage House and Gardens of High Gate from the purchase of a fast-food franchise with plans to demolish the structure to make way for a drive-in restaurant.
With congressional support, Friends of High Gate was able to fend off the impending purchase of the Carriage House and to secure emergency assistance from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. On December 12, 1990, Friends of High Gate purchased the Carriage House and grounds with funds from public, private, and corporate donations along with financial assistance through a loan from the National Trust.
The first floor was rehabilitated for adaptive reuse and the exterior restored, and in the 1990s High Gate Carriage House became a multi-purpose facility housing regional cultural and historical exhibits, educational classes, workshops for adults and children, in addition to providing a new local venue – and one of the few historic properties available – for community and social use.
In 2002, the Vandalia Heritage Foundation partnered with Friends of High Gate, to ensure continued preservation and restoration of the Carriage House and Gardens. After acquiring the property from FOHG, Vandalia contributed to its viability by renovating the second floor of the building, currently utilized for office space.
Today, the estate is operated by two businesses, Ross’s Funeral Home, which operates a funeral home in the residence, and RCG Events, which operates The Carriage House at High Gate, an event venue and location of this wedding. The Carriage House and extensive gardens now serve as a lovely venue for weddings and other events, business meetings and festivals.
We have suggested possible collaborations between the two businesses, all of which have gone ignored.
Learn more about the history of Highgate here.
For more information about the Carriage House, please visit their website.
Information on the dedicated professionals and funeral services of Ross's funeral home isat https://www.rossfh.com/.