I would like to offer a note of thanks for the emails and cards of support. They were greatly appreciated. However, despite the temporary incapacity, preservation marches on! I would like to tell you about an event that will be coming up in March. The Southeast Region of the Association of Living History, Farms,and Agricultural Museums (SEALHFAM) and the West Virginia Association of Museums (WVAM) are joining together to offer a three day conference March 11th through the 13th at Jackson’s Mill in Weston. The event is entitled, “Can We All Work Together? Sharing the Knowledge and Resources; a Partnership for Success.”
According to Jackson’s Mill Preserve WV AmeriCorps member and Sessions Coordinator Joe Obidzinski, there will be a number of presentations covering various issues – including creating a historic site/program from the ground up, developing partnerships to meet ever-changing audiences and financial demands, various perspectives on new and emerging trends in the field of public history, as well as hands-on opportunities to become a blacksmith or grist miller for a day.
In addition, I will be joining with windows expert Derrick Smith on behalf of PAWV on Friday, March 11th, to present an all-day, hands-on, window restoration workshop. We will utilize the windows in a small log house on the mill grounds to teach the attendees how to rehabilitate a historic wooden window – including how to cut and bed glass. For more information, please contact Joe Obidzinski via email at his firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of workshops, now is the time for those of you interested in having PAWV conduct a historic windows restoration workshop at your site to sign up. The season begins the first crack of spring and ends with the cold weather, so let’s get those windows in good shape while the sun shines! We also off er presentations on a range of other topics – such as hazardous materials found in the home and workplace (and their mitigation), the National Register nomination process, and more. If you are interested in having a workshop at your site, please contact me at email@example.com. I look forward to gettng back on the road and visiting with you, but until then, stay well, stay busy, stay excited, and thanks again for the kind concern.
Your friend and servant in preservation,
Statewide Historic Preservation Conference:
“This Place Matters – Connecting with Historic Places”
This three-day biennial conference will be held primarily in Beverly, with some programming in the immediate Randolph County vicinity. PAWV is excited to be in Beverly for the upcoming conference. Beverly dates back to the Revolutionary War period and is one of the first settlements west of the Allegheny Mountains. By the time the crucial Civil War battles were fought nearby in 1861, Beverly was an established county seat and crossroads. The rise of nearby Elkins at the end of the 19th century left Beverly to be largely unaffected by later development. Participants will have a chance to tour and learn intimate details about preservation successes in Beverly. The 8th Annual Historic Preservation Awards Banquet will be on Friday, the 23rd, and will be held at Halliehurst Mansion (a National Historic Landmark) in Elkins.
PAWV is currently accepting session proposals for the conference. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the conference request for proposals. The due date for submissions is March 25, 2016.
For people who lived and grew up in the Charleston area, looking up at the stunning structure was part of the ritual of driving along the Kanawha River. The circular building, built out of wood, steel, and glass, sat atop a rocky ridge – perched strategically for everyone to see as they travelled along the river. Many dreamed of living there, or of just visiting to overlook the Kanawha Valley from the 6,000 square foot cylindrical studio that gave Top 0 Rock its distinguished elegance.
The demolition followed several years of vacancy and deterioration (after Elden’s 2009 death and the property’s 2011 sale), a period capped off by major vandalism in 2014. In early 2015, PAWV named Top 0 Rock one of the two inaugural properties on its new Buildings at Risk Register (BARR), and other groups also made concerted preservation efforts (including a design competition to find potential adaptive reuses for the unique structure). However, insisting restoration costs were financially unfeasible, the owner chose to demolish – causing a very unfortunate loss to West Virginia’s built heritage. There is still no word about future plans for the site.
In West Virginia, we face an abandoned and dilapidated properties dilemma. With over 400,000 homes built more than 50 years ago, the Mountain State is littered with old neighborhoods now sitting empty and decaying, while nearby industrial sites are contaminated with hazardous materials. In the late 1980s, Ranson and Charles Town, like many rural towns before them, suffered the fate of outward migration as factories closed. For this featured preservation success story, we’ll learn about how one university system has spurred a revitalization on in these neighboring communities in Jefferson County.
After losing an 800- employee business in 2001, the two cities joined together with a vision to to create a precedent-setting Area-Wide Brownfields Plan to beautify and re-use brownfields, a term for vacant properties and hazardous industrial sites. A year later, American Public University System (APUS) joined the brigade to revitalize the area – while utilizing energy efficient building techniques, including solar energy and an electric/ hybrid car charging station. APUS is an online, for-profit university offering more than 90 degree programs through American Military University and American Public University over 100,000 working adults. In 2002, it relocated its headquarters to Charles Town from Manassas, VA. Almost 15 years later, with over $55 million invested, APUS has been the defining force breathing life back into these former industrial hubs. What makes this story even more unique is APUS’s dedication to historic preservation. APUS has singlehandedly rehabilitated over 15 historic properties surrounding the Commerce Corridor, a 1½ mile segment connecting the historic downtowns of Ranson and Charles Town.In the 2013 Brownfields Plan, six brownfields were targeted for community redevelopment projects along this corridor – which APUS’s revitalization movement is turning into the “Green Corridor”.
In 2011, APUS opened the doors to its new Academic Learning Center on the Veiner Scrap Yard site. Linking Ranson and Charles Town, it was used for over a century for metal disposal and recycling. The former industrial park closed unexpectedly and sat vacant for almost two decades. APUS not only redeveloped the property into its LEED Gold 45,000 square foot Academic Center, but also opened its LEED Silver Financial Center and the state’s largest solar array-covered parking lot. These brownfield redevelopment projects, along with recent historic home renovations along South George Street, are having significant and lasting economic and social benefits. APUS’s preservation ethic maintains streetscapes and encourages healthy living by walking.
Why did APUS choose the preservation route? It’s simple, explains APUS’s former President and CEO, Dr. Wallace E. Boston: “In addition to revitalizing Charles Town’s downtown, we realized that our renovations were not requiring the city or county to expand its transportation and utility infrastructure. We also concentrated our growth in an area where some businesses had moved out and our presence was supporting local restaurants and other merchants that might have otherwise closed.”
The university owns eight historic properties along S. George Street, the primary corporate campus for APUS’s 600+ employees. In 2015, APUS announced the completion of three exciting, historic home rehabilitation projects at 200, 208, and 300 S. George Street.
APUS preserved the buildings’ exterior integrity while incorporating new interior design elements and energy efficiency techniques. Two are now Guest Quarters for APUS Executive Team members who do not live in Charles Town but work there frequently during the week. The third house opened as the Eastern Panhandle’s first Technology Innovation Center, a small business technology incubator, focused on veteran-based entrepreneurs and technology-based companies.
These projects are all in addition to the significant contribution APUS made in assisting the Friends of Happy Retreat and the City of Charles Town in securing the Happy Retreat mansion and estate. This preservation ethos has multiple benefits, according to Dr. John Hough, Vice President of Community Relations at APUS, who explained, “Developing the property [at Happy Retreat] helps beautify the community and recruit potenial employees [to APUS].” With an innovative and smart approach to property redevelopment, APUS exemplifies the rehabilitaion projects that PAWV promotes. APUS is a model for best practices in brownfield and historic property redevelopment. Join PAWV in celebrating APUS’s successes and its laudable pledges to continued economic development in the state’s eastern panhandle.
The small, boutique hotel will give you something special to remember together. No two rooms in the hotel are the same but each have their own elegant character and unique style. This Valentine’s Day, there are three romance packages to choose from.
The “Traditional” package for a simple, loving stay. Rose petals are scattered to set the mood, along with Holl’s Chocolates and Champagne to share. The “Indulgence” package adds a little extra touch. And finally, the “Signature” package is for couples who want some serious pampering. Enjoy being treated with a couple’s massage before you return to your Traditional package room.
The Blennerhassett Hotel is a Historic Hotel of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance.
The century-old Blennerhassett Hotel stands today as a reminder that it is possible to merge old-world atmosphere with all the modern-day amenities that make a historic hotel a genuine treasure and will be a wonderful place to spend a romantic weekend with your Valentine.
For more information about these packages call: the Blennerhassett Hotel Reservations Manager at 304.865.8650
Or visit: http://theblennerhassett.com
For more information about the historic Blennerhassett Hotel visit:
For more information about Historic Hotels of America visit:
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