WV Encyclopedia

A plan approved Wednesday calls for the construction of a limestone sitting wall and security fence around the governor’s mansion.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A member of the Capitol Building Commission anticipates the public will understand the need to secure the governor’s mansion and state Capitol complex.

“There is a real feeling of openness in West Virginia and we pride ourselves in that,” said State Supreme Court administrator Steve Canterbury. “I think there’s also now an understanding that people are doing some pretty reckless and harmful things.”

Canterbury voted Wednesday with other members of the building commission in favor of the plan. “This is well thought-through,” he said.

The plan begins with construction of a limestone sitting wall around the complex. When the security fence is added atop  the wall, Canterbury said the Kanawha Boulevard sidewalk would be moved toward the street—eliminating up to 10 legislative parking spaces.

(See renderings of security plans around state capitol complex including governor’s mansion by clicking here.)

There have been a few recent incidents near the mansion, which currently has no perimeter barriers. The rest of the campus will be surrounded by the sitting wall, tall enough to prevent a vehicle from going over top of it.

“I think the people are wise to security these days and they won’t see this as detrimental but instead an enhancement to the campus,” Canterbury said.

The Capitol Building Commission has been looking at the security issue for a few years. Dozens of unattractive bollards were installed in by a Manchin administration official several years ago, those were eventually removed. The master plan is a six-phase plan.

“This won’t be an imposing grotesque barrier—it certainly won’t be bollards. But it will be a sufficient height to keep some sort of vehicle from smashing into the side of the capitol,” Canterbury said.

The old stone wall around the Holly Grove property at the corner of Kanawha Blvd. and Greenbrier Street will stay in place. The plans also include a possible turnaround along Greenbrier Street for school buses.

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  • Gary Karstens

    With the promotion of guns by gun-nut Republicans, I don't blame the governor for extra security measures. Our quality elected officials deserve protection from the disciples of hate-filled-talk-radio. I support this measure!

    • DWL

      The "gun-nut" Repulicans"? Quality Elected officials? Lord! Keep drinking the Kanawha Kool-Aid there Gary. Seems to me all the mentally deranged shooters have been registered democrats, (d)'s, leftist, socialists, radicals and 'tards. Ole Gary must be one of them too.

      • I'm honest at least

        I'm going to go ahead and call both of you idiots. Anyone who says our problems are dem or rep is blind. The real problem is we base our elections on money.

        • OS

          Honest, but stupid

          • I'm honest at least

            So your saying you don't believe both parties stink of corrupt members???? Call me what you want but I'm sick of the childish behavior from both sides. They are all a bunch of silver spoon fed premadonnas that wouldn't make it in the real world. Its time for the the real people to take this country back. The jokers that buy the office they hold need to go.

    • OS

      Of course! That is exactly what we need to stop bullets from entering the capitol grounds - an open fence!

      If they would just listen more to the left wing liberal progressive geniuses they could make thing even better if they just passed more laws to stop bullets and guns from entering the grounds ... no criminal or mentally disturbed person would dare break those laws!

      We need more prodigies like you Gary Karstens

      • Brian

        I agree with OS. What does the state government fear? Well, I suppose it fears John Stewart's Daily Show interviewing someone more embarrassing than Cindy Frich, for example almost any sitting Democrat.

  • desperate

    Take the fence money and give state workers a raise, Gov!

  • Matt

    Mr. Tomblin, tear that wall down.

  • Randy

    Security should be paramount. But I wax poetic for the days of old. Dig a moat. That scary smell of licorice should deter ne'er-do-wells more than the aroma of a modern day over flowing septic effluent with a hint of meth lab thrown in.

  • Woodchuck

    Great build a fence but do nothing with our roads. Politicians spend money everywhere but on our roads.

  • Terry Shorr

    Why not? You can't enter a state government building without an appointment, a gilt edged invitation, and an armed escort...

    • bix

      Apparently, you haven't visited the Capitol since you evidently don't know that you can walk into any of over a dozen entrances, no invitation, no metal detector, nothing.

      Frankly, I don't know of any state government building that keeps people out or where anyone needs an invitation. Federal government buildings, however, are a different subject . . .

      That's so untrue that it's silly.

  • Jim

    The wall says, "your government doesn't trust you." When I am governor, it will be torn down.

    • bix

      When you're governor, the pigs will be flying over it, so don't bother.

  • TCeer

    Can't build a fence to secure our nation's borders, but we can wall off our Governor's house. Another brilliant stroke of genius by the dems. How about patching a few roads with all that money? We've gone over hundred years without a fence around the mansion. Why is it needed now?

    • bix

      I envy a person who can say so many incorrect things in so few words. First, the mansion is well UNDER a hundred years old, not over. It's from the 1930s.

      Second, the thousands of miles of border is incomparable to the several hundred feet of fencing around a house. How many billions are you willing to spend? Don't you know the Republican agribusiness people need those illegals? There's not a single Dem who owns a large agricultural business. Check the facts; you'll see that keeping that border porous is all about the Republicans needing super cheap labor. Democrat Obama has the record for deportation and for staffing border patrols. Again, check the facts.

      Third, funding for roads and funding for this project are an apples and oranges situation: the legislators have designated a formula for road money, and these funds aren't part of it.

      Want to change that? Then pay attention to the details so you know what the heck to change. In other words, get your facts straight before you mouth off.

      • Aaron

        I don't suppose you could supply some sort of link that documents the political affiliation of agriculture business owners, could you?

      • TCeer

        Ok...so its 80+ years old and not a hundred....my bad. I was merely making a point that we never find money for important issues but we always find money for something that ...in my humble opinion isn't necessary. Government moves money around all the time, so your inference that a formula limits the amount of money that can be spent on roads is merely a legislative manuver. My reference to the border fence was symbolic so as to emphasize government (at any level) is incompetent to do what is right. I try to change things with my vote, but our state is so controlled by the democratic machine that people like you keep voting in. We still lag far behind in economic development, education, and job creation......that is a fact!!! I just don't like spending money on crap that isn't necessary. Oh, and one other thing....try to be a little more polite when you feel the need reply to someone and set them straight.

        • bix

          You're right: as I set you straight, I should have been more polite. I should have understood (with no indication in your prose whatsoever to clue the polite reader about what you meant) that you were being "symbolic" when you spoke of a border fence.

          I should have overlooked the overblown rhetoric on your part, and used a calm, even-tempered tone on mine.

          If a car driven by a drunk or some idiot loaded with a bomb plunged into the side of the Governor's Mansion, think of the costs. And with the several recent somewhat scary actions and multitudes of threats that have been made, it's just a matter of time before some jerk tries to do just that.

          Then some folks, perhaps you, will grow shrill about the waste of dollars to fix the damage when a much less costly wall/fence combination could have prevented it.

          There's not another single state of which I'm aware that has its governor living in a wide-open house these days. It's a sad fact of right here and now, not four-score years ago.

          Finally, what causes me to lose my manners is the same old simplistic chant about blaming any one political party for West Virginia's extremely complicated socio-economic problems. There have been books written about these difficulties, and -- while corrupt politicians play an albeit small role, that's for sure -- they've been part of both parties.

          • TCeer

            Condescension is definitely one of your redeeming qualities.......

  • bix

    I should have added that the limestone wall is reported to be only as high as a bench.

  • bix

    No one is suggesting keeping the people out of the Capitol. In fact, West Virginia has one of the few Capitols left in the nation that doesn't require visitors to go through metal detectors. It has more than a dozen doors through which anybody can enter unencumbered.

    Canterberry's right when he says that we love openness here.

    And the wall won't keep anybody from simply stepping on it and going through the grass on the campus. But it will keep vehicles driven by drunks or terrorists from ramming into the buildings.

    Is this a bad thing? Doesn't that actually end up saving your holy tax dollars?

  • Andy

    You're both idi0ts. And that is exactly why the Gov's house needs a fence...people like YOU!

  • Chris

    Ridiculous waste of tax payer money.

    • I'm honest at least

      That money would patch a lot of the auto eating holes we are driving over that go halfway to China.

  • DWL

    Hopefully it's to keep the liberals in, not the citizens out of the house that belongs to the taxpayers. If he has a fear of the PEOPLE, then he must fear what he is doing wrong.

    • THP

      Do you think that Obama may have ordered all those liberals to build the wall?

      • DWL

        Why would I think the m0r0n order the liberals to build the wall in Charleston. What I do believe is that politicians, either party, have forgotten who they serve, why they need to be conservative caretakers of the taxpayers' dollars to which they were elected to conserve, and who CAN fire them. Isolation from the citizens is what instills skepticism and distrust from the populist. In other words, their idea that they are better than their bosses.

        • THP

          The reason I think that you probably believe that Obama ordered the wall to be built is because you blame everything - - and I mean EVERYTHING - - that you disagree with on Obama. You are beginning to sound like a broken record.

          • DWL

            Name 1 thing the m0r0n has done right? Name 1 thing the m0r0n has not screwed up?

          • DWL

            The m0r0n is the leader of the liberals, socialist, democrats, unionist. I think? I believe you are delirious, as usual. You need to cut back on the (d) Kool-Aid. A broken record you say? I believe you (d)'s have broken every record for destruction that exists.

  • NoJoe

    As long as the wall keeps Manchin from returning to the Governor's Mansion, I'm all for it. Otherwise, it is going to be an unnecessary addition.

  • Chris

    Prepping for Fort Manchin.