Each Preserve WV AmeriCorps member is required to submit a “Great Story”, which is about the people we serve. This Great Story comes to us from Rodney, PAWV’s Preserve WV AmeriCorps member.
I am eight months into my AmeriCorps service term with the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV). Many of our days involve traveling into rural communities where historic gems are tucked away around every bend and just over the next hill. Our goal is to promote preservation efforts throughout the state; no projects are too small or big.
A large part of my position involves assisting with windows restoration workshops. I was surprised to learn of the importance of preserving windows to maintain a building’s historic integrity. But look at any building, and the size and arrangement of windows is entirely evident and inheritably important. Each historic window is a piece of artistic and careful woodworking. What is equally surprising to me is the feasibility of preserving these pieces, even for an average home owner or property steward. Through our workshops, we seek to instill confidence in Do-It-Yourselfers to follow through with their own windows project.
A very recent and successful workshop occurred at the Shepherdstown University. The workshop was attended by students and open to the public for free due to two grants. In total we had around 35 attendees for the two day workshop. Many expressed their own takeaways and similar revelations to when I started learning about windows restoration. To that end, they left excited and more comfortable regarding their own windows projects.
Each of these workshops continues to spread information on historic preservation throughout West Virginia. Each of the participants, whether they have a project of their own or just have an interest in old things, takes something away from the presentation. Hopefully they view preservation as valuable to their own communities. As word spreads, it is my wish that West Virginians continue to recognize the range of historic resources and the need for preservation in the Mountain State. And upon seeing how even windows can be restored with a couple of tips and tricks, realize that even tackling the larger projects is doable and help is always within reach.
Every year, the McGrew House has a weeklong photo contest and exhibit that is designed to raise funds and engage the community. We helped the Society set-up for the contest and acted as docents during viewing hours. We also helped clean-up after the event.
We had the opportunity to meet new people, learn more about local history, and share ideas with other individuals that worked in similar environments.
This post comes to you from Sami, Preserve WV AmeriCorps, serving at Main Street Morgantown and gives a glimpse into her duties as an AmeriCorps member.
While Chocolate Lovers’ Day is well known in Morgantown as a one-day chocolate extravaganza that invites the public to indulge themselves in an array of chocolate creations, it serves a deeper purpose for Morgantown’s community. The goal of Main Street Morgantown’s annual Chocolate Lovers’ Day is to foster downtown revitalization.
Now in its 15th year, Chocolate Lovers’ Day has become a staple downtown event. It’s one of the few events where people call us rather than waiting for us to post the event on our website or Facebook page.
With $5 buying them more chocolate than they could possibly eat in one day and the opportunity to win four tickets to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania if they visit enough businesses, the only limiting factors participants face are time and sugar tolerance. This is what makes this event so effective.
While participants are purposefully visiting businesses to collect chocolate treats and hole punches on their brochures, they are also inadvertently witnessing two things:
With 981 registered participants and 63 participating businesses, Chocolate Lovers’ Day 2014 was the biggest event Main Street Morgantown has ever hosted, creating what we hope was the biggest impact ever on our downtown.
In the words of David Bruffy, a photographer whose businesses is tucked in the back of a local arts center and is often unknown by the general public: “It was a GREAT event….I had more than 250 visitors, sold some prints and gave out a lot of portrait info. To have an event that brings that many people into my embedded business is truly fantastic and a success. Best marketing dollars I’ve spent in 2 years of operation.”
Similar sentiments were espoused by several other downtown businesses, with many reporting an increase in sales of 20% or more that day. Thus, this cross between a scavenger hunt and a chocolate buffet has over the years become one of downtown Morgantown’s most successful downtown revitalization efforts.
PAWV’s Preserve WV AmeriCorps, Cailin, is heading up the Craik-Patton House’s Preservation Week activities. She will be cleaning all collections items in the museum, as well as doing public demos for people to come see and ask questions.
Volunteer West Virginia, The State’s Commission for National and Community Service is pleased to announce it is accepting concept papers for 2014-2015 AmeriCorps State Planning Grants. If your agency is interested in applying for this funding, you must submit a concept paper to Volunteer West Virginia no later than May 2, 2014 at 5:00pm Eastern Time.
More information available HERE.
By Eliza, Preserve WV AmeriCorps
The “biggest thing” that occurred during my second quarter of service was the Old Hemlock Reunion. While LeJay and other Old Hemlock Family members did most of the planning, I felt as though I learned and grew in my role as an AmeriCorps member substantially through my experience at the reunion. Having attending the reunion and met most of the members of this community, I finally feel as though I am a member of the family and that I have acquired a greater level of understanding of the current legacy of George and Kay. My two major contributions at the reunion were the completion of 18 oral history interviews and the creation of a solution to LeJay’s sign-up problem (signupgenius.com). I also gave a presentation of my personal thoughts and reflections on George’s legacy, which was very well received. I indexed 1000 minutes of interviews with George and Kay. These were the interviews that Kathy Harper recorded while writing George’s autobiography. LeJay and I felt as though it would not be a practical use of my time to transcribe these interviews, so I created an index instead. It has already proved to be useful.
Over the last month I have been developing an educational outreach plan for Craik-Patton House in Charleston called Traveling Trunks. It is essentially a program the Craik-Patton House is offering to Kanawha County elementary schools, beginning this fall, where we will travel to the school free of charge and give a living history presentation in class. There will be two separate programs: the first will be for grades 1-3 and the second for 4th and 5th graders. The goals of the traveling programs are to increase awareness of the Craik-Patton House by sharing its history, as well as the early history of the settlement of the Kanawha Valley. For the younger students this will also include a fun history of toys and games children would have played, and for older students, a chance to see what it was like for children during the Civil War. We want to make history interactive, fun, and relevant for grades 1st through 5th. Currently, I have purchased one trunk, and a volunteer has offered use of his trunk as well, and we have several toys, clothes and kitchen items ready for the fall. The state museum has also graciously offered their reproduction items for our use as well. Needless to say, this has been a tedious and involved process thus far, but we have had significant successes. We hope this fall will be an excellent pilot program for the schools.
One of the best achievements I have had with the planning of the program, is the opportunity to speak at the spring meeting of Kanawha County Schools elementary principals to let them know what we are wanting to implement for the fall. I spoke to over 50 principals, the superintendent of elementary schools and the superintendent of Kanawha County Schools on April 2, and they were thrilled this program was being offered. We have had seven schools contact me to let me know they want our presentation at their school, and all the principals were eager to get the program up and rolling. I was very excited that the program was received so well, even in the beginning stages, and it has truly lit the fire inside me to make it a success and something kids will love.
Presented at the Cockayne House, 1111 Wheeling Avenue, Glen Dale, “Women of the House” is open until Labor Day. Admission to the exhibit is included with a tour of the ca. 1850 farmhouse. Admission is $5.00 for adults; admission for students (grades 1—12) and senior citizens is $3.00; pre-school children are admitted for free. The Cockayne Farmstead is open for tours daily, Monday through Friday, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and tours begin on the hour. Weekend and group tours are by reservation; credit cards are accepted. Free off-street parking is available adjacent to the Cockayne Farmstead office at 1105 Wheeling Avenue.
Please call Caitlin Hucik or Tom Tarowsky at 304-845-1411 for group or weekend reservations, or with questions.
The Cockayne Farmstead is a site project for the Preserve WV AmeriCorps, a service initiative administered by Preservation Alliance of WV. For more information, visit our Preserve WV Program page.
Rodney Bohner, PAWV’s Preserve WV AmeriCorps, organized a few AmeriCorps members. With oversight provided by Lynn Stasick and Pete and Carolyn Stephens, the volunteers covered the logs with a large tarp. It was a sunny day with strong winds, which made it difficult to secure the 30′ x 40′ tarp. However, it was a successful day, and the members were able to ensure this precious resource is protected from the elements until the fort can be reassembled.
Hello everyone, my name is Caitlin Hucik and I am serving with PreserveWV Americorps at Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale, WV. My family roots lie in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. I am lucky enough to have been raised in two communities with rich history-Weirton, WV and Windber, PA. From a very early age, I have been exposed to history -the perks of being a teacher’s daughter I suppose. So, working in a museum seems like second nature to me.
I received a Bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in public history from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and also spent time studying abroad on Semester at Sea through the University of Virginia. Before moving to the Wheeling area, I worked at numerous museums in Johnstown and Somerset, PA. My passions in life are travel, women’s history, and saving historic places so when I learned about PAWV’s AmeriCorps position I did not hesitate to apply. Being able to return to my home state and share a piece of its history is a best-case scenario.
The Cockayne Farmstead, originally called Glendale Farm, is a circa 1850 farm house. The Cockayne family came to West Virginia in the 1790’s and built a prosperous sheep farm by the 1890’s. Their American Marino sheep where sold as far away as Australia and their wool won a bronze medal at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876. The family was influential locally as well; the Cockayne women were talented musicians and artists while the Cockayne men ran for political office and contributed to the commerce of Marshall County. Their stories combine to create a colorful history, one which I am privileged to learn and share with others.
My goals for this year are to build the volunteer base at Cockayne, organize and repair over 12,000 primary documents, and create the first temporary exhibit focusing on the Cockayne women. I am thrilled to be serving at such an interesting site and I look forward to the rest of my year here.
This service initiative is administered by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, the statewide grassroots nonprofit dedicated to the support and promotion of historic preservation in the Mountain State. The PreserveWV AmeriCorps members develop and participate in a variety of community projects related to historic resource improvement, historic preservation, heritage tourism development, and nonprofit organizational capacity building. For more information, visit www.pawv.org. PreserveWV AmeriCorps is funded in part by Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service, and by the Commission for National and Community Service.
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