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.
Top O Rock is a distinctive house sitting atop a rocky outcrop which provides 360° view of Charleston and the Kanawha River. The building was designed by Henry Elden, an industrious and award winning architect whose works are known throughout the area. Due to recent vandalism and deferred maintenance, the Charleston Building Commission last week sent the current owners a notice to submit a development or demolition plan within three weeks or face possible fines.
The current owner purchased the house in 2011. Since the transaction, the house has remained vacant. Due to the ongoing vandalism, the property owners have hired a security guard. On May 7th, the WV MetroNews reported Rodney Loftis and Sons Contractor, “has a contract to tear down the house and is going through the normal process of asbestos assessment and other pre-demolition requirements. He said the demolition could start in three to four weeks.” It is not clear if the contract has been signed and the contractor is not speaking publicly on the subject.
If you are interested in keeping up with any developments or voicing your concern, click on the Save Top O Rock Facebook group page and ask to join.
WBOY Channel 12 traveled to Belington, WV to visit the Golden Rule and learn about the historic significance of the site and adaptive re-use efforts. Learn more at the video.
In honor of Preservation Month, volunteers gathered at the Golden Rule in Belington, WV for a clean-up day.
The historic store building was added to the WV Endangered Properties List in 2014, and has since benefited from a cosmetic cleaning. There’s clearly still a lot of work that needs to be done, but it’s amazing what a little bit of weed-eating and landscaping can do for any site.
The Belington Revitalization Committee and Belington OnTRAC are on their way to making this site a downtown staple again. Look through the gallery for before and after shots.
Email us an firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering for clean-up days or looking for information on how to help.
Preservation Alliance has teamed up with WBOY Channel 12 on a 12 week news series about WV Endangered Properties in north-central West Virginia. The first news story is about Woodlawn Cemetery & Caretaker’s Home in Fairmont, Marion County, WV. Our very own field services representative, Lynn Stasick, was interviewed about this property. Lynn has been helping with the rehabilitation of the historic windows in the residence.
Enjoy this short video and look for more over the next 11 weeks!
There will be a public meeting to discuss next steps for the historic Golden Rule building in Philippi on 5/15.
All are encouraged to attend to help plan for the re-use of this downtown staple. Show your love for this building during historic preservation month by supporting this 2014 WV Endangered Property.
An ode to West Virginia’s antebellum ties, the historic springs represent much of the state’s Southern influences. These springs are a reminder of another era when people of the Tidewater lowlands flocked to enjoy the springs’ rejuvenating powers. Eventually their popularity diminished and people no longer took stock in the waters’ medicinal values. However, a visit to these springs today could recharge anyone’s love of architecture harmoniously linked to nature.
In April 2014, Alex became the AmeriCorps VISTA for Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Her goal is to assist West Virginian communities to utilize state and national resources to better protect, preserve, and reuse historic sites across the state.
Alex will be serving at the PAWV office at the Darden House in Elkins. She has been tasked with projects including an economic impact study of WV’s Development Grant, helping heritage tourism initiatives in central WV, and assisting with grant applications. You can contact Alex at email@example.com or stop in during regular office hours to see her.
Fayetteville is no stranger to serving as a hub of activity. During the Civil War, Fayetteville was occupied by both the Union and Confederacy due to its strategic location. During the early 1900’s, Fayetteville grew as a center of law and business in the area and remains the seat of Fayette County today. The school building was witness to the early prosperity of Fayetteville and experienced evolving uses while under the ownership by the Board of Education. The school was built in 1923 by skilled Italian stone masons. The builder, C.G. Juanutolo, constructed many of the other stone buildings in the area. Originally, the structure was home to the town’s high school then later the middle school. Most recently, the building stored equipment and supplies for the school board.
The need for a central community space has become more evident as Fayetteville has continued serving as a central location for cultural activity in Fayette County and the surrounding area. Additionally, a study by students in West Virginia University’s Community Design Team verified the benefits of such a community space. The study, conducted during 2007, recognized the historic significance and opportunities such a space would provide to the community. It became clear that this option should gain serious evaluation. Town Superintendent, Bill Lanham, began contacting possible community groups and the Board of Education who possessed the building at that time.
After four years of efforts to secure the deed, the town acquired the building from the Board of Education at the end of 2011. Even before the news was official, the town was beginning to receive interest from community groups who were looking for new activity space. Interest has been expressed by a wide variety of groups including, but not limited to, the Fayetteville Women’s Club, Rotary Club, and Arts Coalition. Individual citizens and council members have also come to the support of the Town’s efforts.
Fayetteville is clear in its goal to keep the building – it is a piece of the town’s historic heritage and capable of endless possibilities for the space would provide. The sky is the limit when it comes to the potential of the building. How cool would it be to see local artists’ pieces on display, possibly catch a music recital, and visit local history exhibits all in one spot? The completed roof repair will hopefully act as catalyst to continue reuse projects and brighten the future for the town while remaining true to its storied past.
Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) is accepting nominations for the 2014 West Virginia Historic Preservation Awards.
Here is a link to the 2014 Awards Nomination Form, which is also available in PDF format. All nominations are due May 30th. Please submit your nomination via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If possible, please submit 3 photos of the project nomination with your submission.
A special nominating committee consisting of PAWV board members and staff will select and notify the awardees, as well as the nominators of the nomination status. All are welcome to submit nominations and attend the banquet. Nominators can submit more than one nomination but must submit one nomination per award.
For information on award recipients from previous years, visit http://pawv.org/awards.htm.
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