David is a longtime promoter of travel and heritage tourism in West Virginia, he brings a wealth of expertise in marketing and public relations to the table. David is publisher of the online guide West Virginia Explorer, now in its fifteenth year of publication, and is the executive director of Sibray Public Relations. He is a member of the West Virginia Press Association and was formerly a publisher for Thomson Newspaper niche publications mid-Atlantic division, through which he founded The West Virginia Retirement Times.
Sibray was born in Wheeling, raised in Beckley, and spent summers at the Sibray farm near Fairmont, so he says he claims to be both northern and southern. “It certainly benefits my understanding of West Virginia’s wonderfully diverse culture.” He said he hopes to benefit the board as a fundraiser and by emphasizing preservation as a key to solid economic development in West Virginia. “I never tire of talking about the value of our historical resources, and I think many West Virginians are willing to listen.” Before embarking on a career in publishing and public relations, Sibray studied Cultural Resource Management and Appalachian Studies at West Virginia University.
As the statewide historic preservation nonprofit, PAWV administers the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program, the Endangered Properties List, and provides preservation advice to individuals and groups across the state. For more information about PAWV, visit www.pawv.org or call 304-345-6005.
In preparation, the Blockhouse Hill Cemetery Association paid a contractor to mow the cemetery. They also bought the 20 bags of sand and gravel that were used to level the headstones. A local restaurant, the Bee Hive, and the Doddridge County Historical Society donated pizza, coffee and water for lunch.
The SDB portion of the Blockhouse Hill Cemetery is considered Doddridge County’s pioneer cemetery. A few of the more notable citizens buried there are Nathan Davis (founder of West Union and a captain in the War of 1812), Lewis Maxwell (Congressman), Judge Chapman J Stuart (responsible for naming West Virginia), George Revels (black civil war veteran), Samuel J Cupp (confederate soldier), William J Maulsby (union soldier), Captain John Carroll (union soldier) and Joseph Cheuvront (physician and merchant).
The cemetery sits on the site of the original SDB church that was built ca 1800. The DAR erected a monument in 1925 stating that the church was there from 1792 until 1832. I believe this to be an error, because after much research, the earliest I can place any SDB member living in Doddridge County (then Harrison County) is in 1802. The SDB Church in Salem, erected before the one on Blockhouse Hill, was not even built until 1796. A tornado in 1833 razed the hewed-log church and another tornado in 1837 killed a father and daughter, both who are interred at the cemetery.
Blockhouse Hill is a historical and cultural asset to the 8,300 citizens who currently live in Doddridge County. Not only are our foundering fathers buried here, but many of the families that live in Doddridge County today can trace their roots back to those resting in this long-forgotten cemetery. There is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done, but thanks to AmeriCorps’ help, we can now efficiently and safely assess what repairs need to be made.
Our endeavors uncovered many exciting finds:
Thank you so much to all the AmeriCorps members and community volunteers that helped.
The Waldomore is an excellent example of preservation which has become Clarksburg’s landmark example of showcasing the county’s image through architecture and public use. In addition, the Robinson Grand Theater, The Waldo Hotel, The Gore Hotel, Goff Building and the Olymbec/Chase Buildings are outstanding examples of current and future rehabilitation of some of Harrison County’s major inner city buildings. Private homes on “Quality Hill” are excellent examples of that designated historic district.
Shinnston, Salem, West Milford, Lumberport, among other smaller communities, are examples of residents and business owners taking pride in their local heritage. HCHS feels that it takes a community to preserve its history.
The Historical Society will partner with the Preservation Alliance staff to discuss economic incentives, developing community awareness and pride. Collaboration with local government, along with public and private involvement in preservation will be related to heritage tourism.
The Harrison County Historical Society’s historic house museum, the Stealey, Goff Vance House built in 1807, is a prime example of a historic building that can stand out proudly with further development, renewed use and community involvement. Discussion, collaboration and promotion can lead to increased economic value.
Preservation Alliance and the Historical Society will offer examples of preservation efforts, building re-purposing, and heritage tourism outcomes. Local business and property owners are encouraged to bring questions, ideas and thoughts on preservation, economic development and heritage tourism for a discussion to follow the presentation. The Historical Society will continue programs involving both architectural and archival preservation in 2015.
The discussion on community development through preservation and heritage tourism will take place at The Waldomore in Clarksburg, January 27th, 5:30 pm. Coffee and refreshments will be available. For more information or questions contact Carol at email@example.com. For a list of presenters see the web site harrisoncowvhistoricalsociety.org
By Alex, PAWV VISTA
Winter is in full force in West Virginia and that means it’s winter sports time. West Virginia has several ski resorts including Snowshoe, Timberline, Canaan Valley, Oglebay, and Winterplace for downhill and Whitegrass and Elk River for cross-country skiing.
Here’s a look into the history of Canaan Valley and West Virginia skiing: During the winter of 1949-50 skiers from The Ski Club of Washington, D.C. (SCWDC) drove through West Virginia looking for snow and the next year started working on putting in a rope tow in Canaan Valley. This ski area, called Cabin Mountain, Driftland, or Little Tuckerman’s fits into the very early stages of United States skiing history. Two other private ski areas, both called Weiss Knob, were also started in Canaan Valley in the 1950’s. These early areas spawned a total of 13 West Virginia areas: first, Bald Knob Beckley in 1958, then, Oglebay Park in Wheeling and Chestnut Ridge near Morgantown in the 1960’s, next, Canaan Valley Resort in Canaan Valley, Alpine Lake in Terra Alta, Snowshoe near Marlinton in the 70’s, and finally, Silver Creek near Marlinton, Winterplace near Beckley, Timberline Resort in Canaan Valley, and Tory Mountain near Harman in the 80’s. The early Canaan Valley ski areas also stimulated the West Virginia Department of Commerce to commission a feasibility study of skiing in West Virginia in 1965. Checci and Company pinpointed four locations as the best in West Virginia for commercial ski areas. These areas were: Cabin Mountain in Canaan Valley, Job Knob near Harman, Elk Mountain in Randolph County, and Spruce Mountain in Pocahontas County.
Canaan Valley Resorts Ski Area greatly increased its ski able acreage, snow-making and, of course, the number of skiers. Many ski business firsts occurred at Canaan Valley, over the years. In 1972, John a West Virginia native came to Canaan by way of Stowe, Vermont. He, with the help of Ted Fries, also a West Virginia native, started one of the country’s first blind ski programs at Canaan Valley Resort. Hundreds of blind persons have learned to ski with this program, which is still operating at Timberline. He also started an amputee ski program, a deaf ski program and held one of the country’s first 5 Winter Special Olympics in 1979. His ski school was the first in the country to allow instructors on Nordic equipment to teach alpine lessons. The ski patrol was also one of the first to allow patrollers on telemark equipment. Canaan Valley also pioneered ski classes for college credit with four West Virginia colleges offering ski physical-education credit. Several world-class skiers have skied at Canaan, including World Cup downhiller Holly Flanders. Skiers from the area have gone on to become race directors at Aspen Highlands and Copper Mountain, CO, and to hold supervisory positions in many other large ski areas. Canaan Valley has produced excellent powder skiers. In the 1970’s, skiers started climbing the mountains around Canaan and skiing powder through open woods and down right-of-ways, including Bald Knob. The last thirty years have produced an average snowfall of 167 inches at the 3400’ elevation of the north face.
Canaan Valley has had a long and rich ski history and at this time offers the best skiing in the East south of New England. The skiing at Canaan Valley and Timberline Resorts combined with the abundant snowfall and beauty of the area make Canaan Valley an excellent ski vacation experience. This area has also consistently attracted people who love the sport and believe in the quality of the Valley’s skiing.
Skiing has improved the area’s overall prosperity and quality of life. Many people have been able to remain here and find employment that otherwise might have had to move away. The large numbers of skier visits have spawned other businesses and have increased West Virginia’s tourist industry.
Come and visit for yourself. Go ski!
From “Skiing from Top to Bottom: The History of Skiing in Canaan Valley” by John Lutz
For a more complete version of the history, go to:
for more information on skiing in West Virginia.
BAD Buildings Program News
A Brownfields, Abandoned and Dilapidated Property Initiative
The Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center has announced the availability of the 2015 BAD Buildings Program’s Technical Assistance grant program!
The BAD Buildings Program is a statewide initiative that provides technical assistance and site analysis tools to develop and enhance abandoned/dilapidated buildings programs in West Virginia communities. The program also addresses barriers to identifying, prioritizing, and redeveloping BAD buildings. The BAD Buildings Program is funded through a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.
The 2015 BAD Buildings Program will provide technical assistance to up to 8 communities from across the state to create or enhance community-driven revitalization and redevelopment of abandoned, dilapidated, or vacant properties.
BAD Buildings – How to Apply
Begin your application process by downloading the Request for Applications and the Program Guide.
Completed applications may be submitted on or before Friday, February 13th, 2015 by U.S. Postal Service, commercial delivery service, or via email to Luke.Elser@mail.wvu.edu.
Who Should Apply
Eligible applicants include the following:
The BAD Buildings Program is designed to offer technical support to communities at varying stages of local redevelopment and with differing levels of local capacity. Communities with an existing abandoned/dilapidated buildings program are encouraged to apply as well as communities who are beginning to address this issue.
News and Notes
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