An enduring focal point of the Fairmont community since its completion in 1912, the High Gate Carriage House bears great national significance, due to its fine architectural features and rich historic legacy. Individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this structure was once part of the High Gate mansion property, which was built by James Edwin Watson, the founder of the Consolidated Coal Company, at the height of a local economic boom in 1910. Named for the magnificent iron gates and fence surrounding the immense, multi-gabled mansion, the structures has encumbered a number of uses within the local community.
A local volunteer organization, the Friends of High Gate, formed in the early 1990s to prevent the impending purchase of the Carriage House by a fast food franchisee. With strong support from both local residents and Congressman Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV), as well as emergency assistance from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Friends of High Gate were able to keep the gates open to the community.
Vandalia partnered with the Friends of High Gate in 2002, to ensure continued preservation and restoration of the Carriage House and grounds. Now owner of the Carriage House, Vandalia has completed the second floor restoration and has committed to continued stewardship of this important part of Fairmont's past.