During the awards banquet, successful preservation projects from all over the state will be recognized and will receive awards, including Grafton’s own International Mother’s Day Shrine for its efforts in preserving Grafton’s Downtown. “We are very excited to have the banquet at the beautiful International Mother’s Day Shrine and for historic preservationists in Grafton to to show their stuff to a statewide audience,” explained Parker.
This year will be the first time the alliance hosts a live musical performance as part of the annual banquet, and they are bringing old-time musicians include West Virginia native, Jesse Milnes, Nate Druckenmiller, Ben Townsend, and Andy Fitzgibbon to the Manos Theater for a special benefit concert. “Part of the proceeds from each banquet ticket will go to the International Mother’s Day Shrine, owner of the Manos Theater, and will be used toward preserving historic properties in downtown Grafton.” Banquet tickets cost $60 per person or a table can be reserved for eight people at $500. “You also have the option of attending the concert only, as tickets are limited for the banquet dinner,” explained Parker. “Concert tickets cost $10 and all donations will be given to the Shrine.” So if you are unable to attend the banquet ceremony, you can head over to the Manos Theater at 9:00 p.m. for the concert and purchase your ticket at the ticket booth.
Tickets can be purchased online, or you can contact Danielle LaPresta Parker at 304-345-6005 for more information on how to reserve a spot. The Preservation Alliance of WV is the statewide nonprofit dedicated to historic preservation. To learn more, visit www.pawv.org.
Read the full Beckley Historic District Report
Beckley officials should follow established laws to save their city’s endangered downtown historic district, according to an assessment released by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia.
Though alterations have harmed the integrity of the district, the assessment identified multiple recommendations that should help protect its federal status as well as financing for future development.
The 27-page assessment performed by alliance staff and an AmeriCorps member over the last five months included a building-by-building review of the district and a review of the codes, bylaws, and guidelines that govern the Beckley Historic Landmarks Commission, the architectural board established to manage its development.
The alliance initiated the assessment after the downtown was added to the West Virginia Endangered Properties List. The declaration was the first in which the alliance had included an entire National Register historic district.
The declaration came after the State Historic Preservation Office warned that mounting alterations could trigger the district’s removal from the National Register of Historic Places — a warning that had been issued with growing intensity since alterations and demolitions began to occur in the late 1990s.
Thankfully the assessment found that city laws were in keeping with state enabling legislation and the standards set forth by the U.S. Department of the Interior and that adjustments to current laws would not be necessary.
There are no gray areas here, and saving the district will probably require only that the landmarks commission follow its laws and seek expert counsel when faced with questions.
As in many historic districts nationwide, alterations to building exteriors and public spaces such as those in downtown Beckley must be approved by a landmarks commission and provided a certificate of appropriateness.
Buildings in the downtown, many of which were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, are to be returned to their original appearances, according to municipals laws enacted in the 1990s when the national historic district was established.
The assessment also includes case studies of practices in other historic districts in West Virginia and suggestions for preservation practices relevant to the architectural problems in the district.
The alliance recommends that downtown property owners organized through the Downtown Beckley Business Association work toward engaging the National Main Street Center in its effort to revitalize the district. Other cities across the U.S. have accomplished this, and we see no reason why Beckley officials cannot through due diligence achieve the same excellence.
The assessment includes information relevant to tax credits, preservation tips, and eco-friendly rehabilitation practices of which property owners should be aware.
Preservation Alliance would especially like to thank Preserve West Virginia AmeriCorps’ Nicole Marrocco for her efforts preparing the assessment. Marrocco’s position is made possible through an AmeriCorps state grant administered by Volunteer West Virginia and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Preservation Alliance would also like to thank the Downtown Beckley Business Association for requesting the assessment, and the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office for providing input regarding the report.
The Trustees of the Norborne Cemeteries in Martinsburg, WV are sponsoring a day long workshop on gravestone preservation. Jonathan Appell, nationally known gravestone and monument preservation expert, will present the workshop. Register at the Eventbrite page.
Read about him at http://www.gravestoneconservation.com/
Learn how to safely clean, level and repair headstones and monuments. The workshop will teach basic conservation and repair techniques. At a slow-working pace, all techniques will be described in detail as work is performed. Different types of repairs will be shown representing various types of work commonly needed in historic cemeteries.
Participants will learn:
Old Norborne Cemetery was laid out by Adam Steven, founder of Martinsburg, Virginia (now West). It was established by an enactment of the Virginia General Assembly as a burying ground in 1778. There approximately 1,111 graves in the “Burying Ground” The oldest marker is dated 1800. Veterans from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Civil War (both Union and Confederate), WWI and WWII are intered here.
Extreme inclement weather may cause a change of date.
Additional Donations Gratefully Accepted!!
Have questions about GRAVESTONE PRESERVATION WORKSHOP? Contact Trustees of Norborne Cemeteries
Preservation Alliance would like to thanks its members for their support and involvement. We are happy to share our Annual Report for 2014. The purpose of this report is to provide our members with information from the previous year. The annual report gives perspective on our financial standing and programming accomplishments. This information helps us to make the best plans for the future of our organization. We invite you to view the report and learn about our progress. We look forward to the remainder of 2015 when we will begin another new AmeriCorps program year on August 31 and hold the 7th Annual Historic Preservation Awards Banquet on September 19 in Grafton.
Downloadable pdf of the 2014 Annual Report
The Morgantown History Museum is located at 175 Kirk Street in Morgantown and is open Tuesday through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For questions call (304) 319-1800, send an e-mail to email@example.com or visit our website http://www.morgantownhistorymusuem.org.
The Old Hemlock Foundation is located at 17098 Brandonville Pike, P. O. Box 69 in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. They can be contacted at (304) 379-7505, firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.oldhemlock.org.
These young men partnered with me to promote the historical society’s events and volunteered for our WV Writers event and Small Museum Exhibit workshop. Furthermore, they helped me round up more college-age people for my first major volunteer event with the HCWVHS. We sponsored a clean-up day at the Stealey-Goff-Vance House in October, and Donald brought a small army of WVU ROTC Silver Wings members to accomplish this task. Even though their semester of service was over in December, Donald and Jordan continue to volunteer for the HCWVHS. Our board of directors was so pleased with our fall semester C S & L students that we participated in the program for the spring semester.
During the spring, the HCWVHS and I presented two school activities to get young people engaged with local history. Michael Spatafore brought his fifth graders from Northview Elementary School for a tour of the Vance House in April. After we divided the students into two groups, my site supervisor, Carol Schweiker, took one group and discussed the house’s first owner, Jacob Stealey, and his role as a tanner in Clarksburg. I then led a conversation on what museum artifacts can tell us about the past, and then the students identified the uses of ten artifacts from our museum. The students had a great time figuring out what the artifacts were and playfully debated with their classmates about the uses of the items. They also asked a lot of great questions about our historic house and the collection.
In May, I presented a school activity using the letters and photographs of a WWII veteran, Richard Criswell, from the HCWVHS archives. Ms. Meese’s Liberty High School students divided into groups, and each group had a folder of primary source documents from Richard Criswell’s life. After exploring the report cards, letters, and newspaper clippings, the students recounted facts about Richard. The students really enjoyed the activity especially the twist ending about what eventually happened to him. Ms. Meese and the students also supplied excellent feedback on how to improve the activity. Over the summer, the HCWVHS is contacting several Harrison County social studies teachers to ask about incorporating both school activities sometime during the next school year.
Lastly, I recruited our youngest volunteer for the HCWVHS in June. The majority of my day-to-day volunteers were women of retirement age until Ms. Meese suggested that I bring one of her students on as a volunteer. I agreed to take her on, and I initially had a hard time coming up with duties that a teenager would find enjoyable. Accessioning photographs and postcards is not exactly the most exciting activity. However, after our first meeting, Shelley (*name has been changed) became excited about putting her art skills to work with our War Remembrances exhibit and tie-dying shirts for the HCWVHS Veterans’ Memorial 5K. She even wants to attend our August lecture on Civil War medicine to possibly get some extra credit for her social studies class. I believe Shelley now understands that doing history can be fun and it’s not just what you read about in a textbook.
Overall, the HCWVHS made significant strides toward more youth involvement during my service year. Our plans for youth-oriented history activities for 2015-2016 are even more ambitious. Our dedication to the next generation will continue the legacy of the Harrison County WV Historical Society and the preserve of history of the area.
What is mothballing? Why should you do it? What are the benefits? Learn all this by watching this short video produced by WBOY Channel 12.
By Devin, Preserve WV AmeriCorps
Working with Teresa Quinn’s fourth grade class from Bruceton Mills Elementary and Middle School, Old Hemlock has shown its ability to reach out into the community and build meaningful partnerships with its neighbors. After the class had read The Great Kapok Tree, a story in which a logger is persuaded by animals in a dream to spare a rainforest from destruction, Old Hemlock made a visit to the school and told the students the story of how George Bird Evans had done a similar thing in the children’s own neighborhood, buying back a large stand of old growth virgin hemlocks from a logging company; a beautiful forest that still stands today on the grounds of the Old Hemlock nature preserve. We also introduced the children to all the different kinds of animals that call Old Hemlock home during that meeting – those critters who would be talking to the slumbering logger in his dreams. Then, over the next few weeks, the fourth graders wrote their own story, each child taking a different animal, coloring a picture of it and writing the dialogue it would have with a logger who had come to tear down its home. Once the text and illustrations were complete, we returned to the school to help the students take pictures of their animals in front of a background depicting the actual forest which was saved by Evans. With all the photos taken and the written texts collected, we worked with West Virginia University to get enough copies printed and collated for each child to take one home.
Please enjoy the copy of their book we have included here:
By Joe, Preserve WV AmeriCorps
They stand as silent sentinels; reminders of our past. The historic buildings in the Heritage Area of Jackson’s Mill remain from that past to allow current and future generations to better understand their collective history. The Farmstead – as it is unofficially referred to – tells the story of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century of West(ern) Virginia, as well as the formative years of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. His is a story of overcoming adversity, and young man’s commitment to better himself despite difficult circumstances.
For years, the story of the Jackson’s was not shared at Jackson’s Mill; that is until Around the turn of the twentieth century, a regional railway service ran a trolley line, which featured a stop near the historic Jackson’s Mill. The public could visit the boyhood home of the man known as “Stonewall” and could walk the grounds or picnic there on pleasant days. It was here that in 1921, the state of West Virginia forever linked the story of one youth who overcame adversity with the development of untold thousands of others; when Jackson’s Mill was selected as the permanent site for the first state 4-H camp in the world!
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Camping in West Virginia 4-H, and although Jackson’s Mill as a 4-H site is not quite so old, it will see tremendous celebration throughout the camping season. As a result, the time is ideal for the development of a volunteer program in the Heritage Area, and on April 25th, we took the first steps.
Although Jackson’s Mill as a site is quite busy throughout the year with various camps and other groups who rent various buildings in the mill for conferences with a sizable staff, the staff at the Farmstead and in Heritage Programming consists of a Program Specialist and one historian, who cover both on-site and outreach programs. This has been augmented with the assistance of an AmeriCorps Member, but we still struggle to meet the programming mission and our role in the West Virginia University Extension Service under which we operate. In addition, meeting this mission often leaves many of our historic buildings and the physical site in desperate want of attention. So I determined that we should organize a workday dedicated the buildings and site, as a whole.
After welcoming them, I described the work we intended to get done that day: cleaning the historic buildings – we have four of them altogether and redoing the planting beds in our Heritage Garden. We quickly divided the group and set out to work – the first task: to clean our two pioneer cabins. It went surprisingly quick. The volunteers were far more enthusiastic and energized than I could have hoped. In less than 2 hours, we had two buildings completely cleaned, and both groups decided to work on getting the Heritage Garden done. This was completed in about another hour and a half. As we continued to work on this task, both of the 4-H mothers asked if they could move on to another building. While the rest of us worked to finish the garden beds, they moved onto our water-powered gristmill. All of this was completed by a little after 1 in the afternoon; at which point, we broke for lunch, which we had provided down in our store. All that remained was one final building to clean. Unfortunately, the weather that had been threatening all afternoon finally turned. I decided that instead of asking the volunteers to stay and risk traveling back home in worse weather, that they should make their way home. This left only one building for “Gabby” and myself to finish.
As they left, I thanked the volunteers for selflessly giving of their time and energy. They were a small group, admittedly, but they were a cross-section of ages, and all of them willingly gave up their Saturday to come in and help us. I told them that while it may only appear to have been some gardening and spring cleaning in our buildings, it represented more than a week or two worth of time for “Gabby” and myself; time that we could now spend on other critical projects in the Heritage Area. I also told them that they were the first participants in what I intend to be a long-term commitment to utilizing volunteers in our programming and in helping to maintain our area. All of the volunteers mentioned that they would love to come and help us again, and would encourage more people to join them in the future. I am still truly humbled that these people came to help, although, it is not because of me that they came necessarily. In many ways, I merely offered them the opportunity to become involved with, and take ownership of their history and they seized on that opportunity. I believe that young Thomas would have been proud of these people and their efforts, as am I.
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