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.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or stop in during regular office hours to see her.
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