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Our History

The historic home of West Virginia Governor H. G. Kump (1933-1937) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and is now owned by the City of Elkins.


The Kump House represents an ideal house type of the early 20th century. Its traditional style, quality of workmanship and appointments, and built-in conveniences of the period recall a manner of American house building that was not often observed in other national eras. The design and proportions reflecting an early American theme are clearly evident. They symbolize for a rising public servant, (Mr. Kump was mayor of Elkins at the time he commissioned a new house in 1924) those architectural qualities that were admired for their allusion to an earlier Federal fashion appropriate to the tastes of a new republic.


Washington, D.C., architect, Clarence L. Harding, produced plans for a substantial house in the Neo-Federal Revival mode on property acquired by Mr. Kump in 1922. Harding is known to have worked extensively in several other West Virginia communities, notably in Charleston and Martinsburg. His Alderson Stephenson Building (Union Building) in Charleston was the state's tallest building at the time of construction in the early 20th century.


The residence was built in 1924 and finished in 1925 just in time for Thanksgiving. The house was built by local famed contractor, T.R. Whiteman, whose son, Ernest Whiteman, a cabinet maker in Elkins, called the house one of the largest, finest, and most modern residences of the city. The Kumps had the first automatic refrigerator with a compressor in the basement and "battleship" linoleum was installed in the first-floor kitchen.


Boyd Simpson of Elkins was hired to finish the interior. The downstairs and stairway feature quarter-sawn white oak; the music room is finished in cherry, a second-floor room is done in walnut, and a room on the third floor is arrayed in birds-eye maple. All woodwork surfaces were finished in five coats of varnish which were rubbed down by hand with pumice stone and oil with a felt pad. Mr. Simpson spent four years finishing the house. Much of the furniture and the doors were made in Elkins by local carpenters and craftsmen.


Gov. Kump retired to his Elkins home where he lived an honored and respected life until his death there in 1962 at age 84. Guy (as he was known) and Edna Kump had six children and enjoyed living in this spacious home that once was surrounded by pastures. The Governor Kump House stands as a premier architectural landmark in the city of Elkins, and as a reminder of one of the most notable individuals to stride across the public stage of West Virginia's history.


Today, the Kump House is home to the Kump Education Center which is dedicated to improving educational opportunities for the region. During covid, we assisted in providing tutoring assistance, hands-on science summer programming, and mentorship training.


H. Guy Kump

Born in Capon Springs, West Virginia, HERMAN GUY KUMP received an LL.B. degree from the University of Virginia in 1905 and began the practice of law in Elkins, West Virginia. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Randolph County, Virginia in 1908 and 1916. After serving as an Army Captain in World War I, he became Mayor of Elkins. He was also elected Judge of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit of West Virginia, serving from 1928 until 1932, when he ran for governor. Serving as governor during the Great Depression, he oversaw cuts in the salaries of all state public officials, granting of emergency powers to the commissioner of banking, the enactment of unemployment compensation, and passage of a tax limitation amendment. After leaving office, Kump returned to the practice of law. He died at his home in Elkins, West Virginia. (Source: National Governor's Association)

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Edna Kump

As the wife of former H. Guy Kump, EDNA HALL SCOTT KUMP served as the state's First Lady from 1933 to 1937. She was born April 18, 1887, at Elkins, WV. She attended  Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling, West Virginia. In 1907, she married H. Guy Kump. As First Lady, she continued to develop the outdoor gardens started by her predecessor. For entertainment, she enjoyed riding horses at the family farm outside Charleston, West Virginia and in the pastures surrounding their Elkins home. The Kump family had six children and often had other young extended family members staying with them. She died January 19, 1957 in Elkins.

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Mary Gamble Kump

In 2008 the Kump family home and an endowed trust were gifted to the City of Elkins by the will of MARY GAMBLE KUMP, daughter of H.G. Kump. The Kump Education Center, was organized in 2010 to fulfill her wishes that the property be used for preservation and educational purposes.

Mary never married and was the last surviving member of the Kump family.She was a 1933 graduate of Elkins High School and attended Davis & Elkins College for two years. She earned a bachelor's degree at West Virginia University and a Masters and Doctorate of Law at George Washington University. In the 1940s she taught at Elkins High School and Beverly High School, and Prince George County Maryland to pay her way through law school. After law school, she taught in military dependent schools with assignments taking her to bases throughout the world. She retired to live in Elkins at the family home in 1990.

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