By Alex, PAWV VISTA
West Virginia has a long history of local festivals celebrating everything from buckwheat to strawberries. The largest of these festivals is the Mountain State Forest Festival held in Elkins, WV. The Forest Festival is also one of the oldest festivals in the state of West Virginia. It is considered a major homecoming for those who have lived in the Elkins area. It’s also a time when first-time visitors and tourists come to participate in the festival events and activities.
Around this time of the year the fall foliage begins to change and so called “leaf peepers” also join the festival crowds making the small town of 10,000 into a bustling 100,000 for the week. The Mountain State Forest Festival originated in 1930 and has continued to be a vital part of Elkins history. The festival features Queen Silvia (selected from West Virginia) along with her maids of honor (selected from Randolph County) and forty princesses from across the state.
Ritter Park Walking Tour
Thursday, September 25
11:30 am – 2:30 pm
This year’s PAWV conference will feature a walking house and park tour. Huntington is known for having a great sampling of historic houses including Craftsman Bungalow, Early Classic Revival, Italian Renaissance, and many more. The tour will take the group around the neighborhood surrounding the famous Ritter Park, explaining the background on select houses that exhibit unique architectural features.
Ritter Park is a fine example of the City Beautiful Movement in West Virginia. “The City Beautiful advocates sought to improve their city through beautification, which would have a number of effects: 1) social ills would be swept away, as the beauty of the city would inspire civic loyalty and moral rectitude in the impoverished; 2) American cities would be brought to cultural parity with their European competitors through the use of the European Beaux-Arts idiom; and 3) a more inviting city center still would not bring the upper classes back to live, but certainly to work and spend money in the urban areas. The premise of the movement was the idea that beauty could be an effective social control device”. (Citation HERE)
Enjoy the view of homes and the award-winning Ritter Park – which were influenced by this nation-wide movement. Other examples of City Beautiful neighborhoods include Schenley Farms district of Oakland in Pittsburgh and Coral Gables in Florida.
The walking tour will include stops on Eighth Street and Thirteenth Avenue. Enjoy the view of Marshall University’s President’s House and the Wright House. There will also be a tour of Switzer Wallace Plaza and the award-winning Rose Garden in Ritter Park.
After the walking tour, participants are invited to join PAWV at a private residence near the park. It is not within walking distance so we will need to drive there.
Total walking distance will be about 1.5 miles total. Wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella. “A Room with a View” in Ritter Park is the location for tour registration and the end point of the tour. Refreshments will also be available. Parking available in Amphitheatre Parking Lot. Address for A Room with a View is 1310 8th Avenue, Huntington.
The 2014 PAWV statewide conference will be held in Huntington, WV from September 25 – 27, 2014. You can register for the conference and learn more about it by visiting our EventBrite page.
The conference has been financed in part with Federal funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior and the WV Division of Culture & History, State Historic Preservation Office.
Regulations of the U.S. Department of the Interior strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination in departmental Federally Assisted Programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, age or handicap. Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility operated by a recipient of Federal assistance should write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20240
Join national, state and local leaders to learn solutions and gain tools to address Blighted, Abandoned & Dilapidated (BAD) buildings.
Join APC in Huntington for a three-day summit created specifically for community teams that are working to fix blighted, abandoned and dilapidated (BAD) properties in their areas. Your team must apply to attend this Summit. A BAD Building Summit Application downloadable application is available in PDF form.
When: October 7 – 9, 2014
Where: Marshall University Visual Arts Center, Huntington
The Summit will feature speakers from the Center for Community Progress (a national leader in BAD property solutions), and it intended to be a resource for communities across the state seeking creative and aggressive solutions to address abandoned and dilapidated properties, including making use of the new Land Reuse Agency Authorization Act.
The Summit will kick off in the afternoon of October 7 with a community tour of dilapidated property mitigation practices and successes in Huntington, and an evening reception with Huntington Mayor Steve Williams and Community Progress Co-Founder Frank Alexander. The next two days will be full of information, resources and strategy building with the Center for Community Progress, state agencies, and West Virginia communities that are taking the lead on this issue.
Sessions will include (among others):
A full agenda will be released closer to the event.
Build a Team to Find Success!
You must be part of a community team to attend the Summit!
APC is accepting up to 12 community teams, each with up to seven participants. To attend, you and your team have to submit an application by Sept. 12 to email@example.com.
Build a team that will have the capacity to address the issue of BAD properties. Include creative and active civic and community leaders, elected officials, developers and investors, representatives from troubled neighborhoods, homeowners, etc.
Community teams will be selected on the strength and diversity of their team, their capacity to implement a problem property program, and the level of interest in creating a Land Reuse Agency in their community.
The Summit is convened through a partnership of theAbandoned Property Coalition, the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority (HURA), the City of Huntington, the Coalfield Development Corporation, the WV Community Development Hub, the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center, and the Center for Community Progress.
The 2013-2014 Preserve WV AmeriCorps year is coming to a close. Members, staff, and supervisors gathered yesterday to celebrate a successful first year and to discuss ways to improve the program. Old Hemlock Foundation in Bruceton Mills (Preston County) hosted an afternoon of good food, sharing ideas, and enjoying each other’s company.
PAWV Executive Director, Danielle LaPresta, led a discussion on improving the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program and developing ways to collect data more efficiently. All members gave excellent input, and their responses will be used in applying for more grants and measuring the effects the program is having in communities all over West Virginia.
For the 2013-2014 program year, members are serving at Craik-Patton House (Charleston), Cockayne Farmstead (Glen Dale), Downtown Wheeling, Inc. (Wheeling), PAWV (statewide), Wheeling National Heritage Area (Wheeling), Main Street Morgantown (Morgantown), Main Street Fairmont (Fairmont), Old Hemlock Foundation (Bruceton Mills), Marion County Historical Society (Fairmont), Adaland Mansion (Philippi), and National Coal Heritage Area (Oak Hill). This year has been so successful that we are expanding to more sites for 2014-2015. More information on that soon.
The Preserve WV AmeriCorps is made possible through a grant. However, it requires a lot of PAWV staff commitment that is not paid by the grant. If you are interested in showing support for this program and PAWV, please consider giving a tax-deductible donation to PAWV HERE. Your donations are used to expand services and this program.
The PreserveWV AmeriCorps program is Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s statewide service initiative to promote cultural heritage tourism and enhance historic resource re-use and redevelopment projects in West Virginia. Particular focus is placed on non-profit capacity building through organizational policy development, volunteer management, and community engagement. AmeriCorps members’ service will contribute to West Virginia’s economic development and environmental stewardship.
AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. To learn more about AmeriCorps see www.americorps.gov. The PreserveWV AmeriCorps program is sponsored by Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service: www.volunteerwv.org/
By Jake Dougherty, Preserve WV AmeriCorps at Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation
My great story comes from an event I helped lead called Show of Hands. Show of Hands is an event meant to gain community support around positive programs happening in downtown Wheeling. The way it works is: people working on projects in downtown apply to present at the event. The selection committee chooses four projects based on location, need in the community, and void filled. The day of the event, attendees make a suggested donation at the door, and with that, they receive a vote. Attendees hear the presentations and vote on the one they like the most. The project with the most votes receives the money raised at the door, plus $1,000 courtesy of a global law firms whose headquarters are in downtown Wheeling.
After many hours spent building this concept, recruiting projects to present, doing promotions to get attendees there, the event started. With the expectation of about 40 attendees, we were blown away when 40 people were already in the building just 10 minutes after the doors opened. By the time the program began, there were close to 115 attendees and already $720 raised at the door.
After making the announcement of the winning vote getter, we announced this plan and the audience gasped, some even said that they got goosebumps from the announcement.
It was such an incredibly shocking moment, but it has so much more than shock value. 1) From the beginning the concept of Show of Hands was met with incredible support. The program received $5,000 in financial funding (before the unexpected announcement at the event), plus thousands in donated expertise, time, and products. 2)The community turnout was more than we ever could have expected. That shows the need for innovative solutions to get projects started, and that the community wants to get behind these projects. 3) We built new community partners, and they are enthused to be a part of the community. 4) After the fact, all four of the projects that pitched have started their projects and have an immense amount of community support.
This is my great story because through my service my goals were to work with historic resources like buildings and help get them utilized, build organizational and community capacity, and build a culture of social engagement. Not only was this done through a small concept implemented by just a few committed volunteers, but it completed transcended my impact. It has become a well respected project that is supported by many and impacts many.
I grew up in Wheeling. When I decided to leave the city or event during internships during college in town, I never would have expected this program to be this successful. It is something special to see my hometown come together more and more to become a innovative and wonderful place to live and be.
Help us smile. Support Preservation Alliance of West Virginia in a new way: do your online shopping on smile.amazon.com. It’s easy to register; simple search for Preservation Alliance of West Virginia with our EIN number: 31-1028713. All your other Amazon.com account settings will remain the same. When you have selected us you will see it listed at the top-middle of the webpage as “Supporting: Preservation Alliance of West Virginia.” All your purchases through smile.amazon.com will donate 0.5% to PAWV! Anymore questions see: http://smile.amazon.com/about. Make sure you smile today.
The workshop will take place in the historic Spring Hill Cemetery – the oldest, most historic, large, publicly-owned cemetery in and about the city. Its heritage stems from the early 19th century. Along with being the resting place of one Confederate General, Albert Gallatin Jenkins, and one Union General, John Hunt Oley, Spring Hill Cemetery contains six Veteran sections. There is an African-American Veterans section, Soldiers Field, Soldiers Rest, the Union section, the Confederate section, and a newly-developed Veterans’ Companion section for Veterans and their spouses. Spring Hill Cemetery also represents many cultures and religious beliefs. Situated on the grounds’ northwest promontory is the Marshall Memorial dedicated in 1971 to those who passed away in the tragic 1970 Marshall football team plane crash.
To register for the conference, visit our EventBrite page.
By Alex, PAWV VISTA
Smoke Hole Caverns is located in Grant County on Route 55, between Seneca Rocks and Petersburg, WV. Formed over 200 million years ago from an underground stream, this extensive cavern is named “Smoke Hole” by early settlers after the smoke that often wafted out of the cave when the Seneca Indians it for smoking meats.
Because of the vastness of the cave and separated rooms, it was often used as shelter. During the Civil War both Union and Confederate soldiers used it as a resting place. Later, use of the caverns included the making of West Virginia corn whiskey. It is speculated that as many as 20 moonshine stills operated at one time. An original still remains on display and can be seen as part of the tour.
The caverns opened to commercial visitors in May 1942 and have been open for tours ever since. Smoke Hole Caverns is also home to the world’s largest ribbon stalactite, measuring 16 feet long, 13 feet wide, and weighs approximately 2.5 tons. Other features include ‘Crystal Cave Coral Pool’, the ‘Queen’s Canopy,’ and the ‘Room of a Million Stalactites.’ Smoke Hole Caverns has some of the highest ceiling clearances in the world, making the tour and easy walk through the underground.
The Smoke Hole Caverns tour is a guided tour lasting approximately an hour. A guided tour is the only way of viewing the caverns. Visitors are told to bring a jacket as the cave stays at 56 degrees year round. Prices for the tour are the following: $15.00 Adults, $13.00 Senior Citizens/ Military Personnel, $10.00 Children (Ages 5 thru 12 years of age) and no charge for children under the age of 4.
A large and elaborate gift shop stands beside the caverns. Tickets for the tour can be purchased here. The gift shop features many West Virginia souvenirs and a café. In November 2009, the gift shop and restaurant suffered a devastating fire but have since rebuilt and are now a thriving WV tourist stop, known as the largest gift shop in West Virginia.
We are so honored to have representatives from all of these organizations participating as speakers and presenters at the 2014 Historic Preservation Conference: From the Ground Up. The conference will be September 25-27, 2014 in Huntington, WV.
For more information about the conference agenda and presentations, as well as registration information, please visit our website.
The First Ward School in Elkins was built in the early twentieth century. It served Randolph County students for almost the entire twentieth century. Eventually, it was turned into storage when new schools were built all over the county.
In 2009, First Ward School was recognized on the revived WV Endangered Properties List. The school was deteriorating badly and in need of a new roof. This listing motivated partners to come together to revitalize this building. Partners included C-HOPE, the Randolph County Housing Authority, and AU Associates. In 2013, the First Ward School was preserved and converted into 16 affordable housing units for seniors. It is a preservation success story for Elkins and West Virginia.
WBOY Channel 12 featured the First Ward School project recently, and PAWV awarded this project with the 2013 Best Use of Historic Preservation Tax Credits Award. Enjoy this video to learn more about the project.
PAWV honors projects all over the state during the annual awards banquet. This year, the awards banquet will be held in Huntington at the Palms Reception Hall on Sept. 26, 2014, in conjunction with the historic preservation conference: From the Ground Up. Full details about the awards banquet and conference are available HERE. The banquet is open to everyone to attend. So even if you can’t make the conference, we encourage you to join us for a fun evening of drinks, dinner, and celebrating historic preservation partnerships like this one.
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