The National Coal Heritage Area (NCHA) is one of only 48 nationally designated heritage areas in the entire United States. The mission of the National Coal Heritage Area is to preserve, protect, and interpret lands, structures, and communities associated with the coal mining heritage of southern West Virginia. The NCHA encompasses 12 counties in southern West Virginia: Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Logan,McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Raleigh, Summers, Wayne, Lincoln and Wyoming and the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek watersheds in Kanawha County.
For more information on NCHA or the grant requirements, contact email@example.com.
The NCHA has released information on available grants that must meet the following criteria:
Organizations eligible for grant awards are legally established non-profit organizations and institutions (recognized by the IRS), and public and governmental organizations including county and municipal governments, state agencies, economic development authorities, and educational institutions, including public and private not-for-profit schools. Projects must be implemented within the National Coal Heritage Area.
Projects will range in costs from $2,000 to $100,000. Applicant organizations must provide 50% of the project cost and may request grants ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 with the remainder provided in documented matching funds.
Submission of Grant Applications
Completed grant applications must be received in the office of the National Coal Heritage Area Authority by 5:00 PM, May 15, 2014. Applications may be mailed to the Authority at National Coal Heritage Area Authority, PO Box 15, Oak Hill, WV 25901 or hand delivered to the Authority office at 100 Kelly Avenue in Oak Hill. Faxed or emailed applications will not be accepted. Two complete copies of the application, with a cover letter signed by the Executive Director or an officer of the corporation indicating institutional support for the project, are required. Please secure applications with a clip and do not staple or bind in any manner.
Interpretation and Heritage Programming: (grant awards range from $1,000 – $25,000) Projects must create or further develop interpretive opportunities related to coal heritage within the National Coal Heritage Area incorporating at least one of the interpretive themes. Examples of eligible project are interpretive brochures and guides, performances and performance spaces, interpretive exhibits, creation of public art exhibits and development of interpretive signs and brochures for walking/biking trails. Can include community or school based heritage education projects. Designs for printed materials, signage design and interpretive plans must be approved by the National Coal Heritage Area Authority before printing or fabrication of signs begins. Exterior interpretive signage must use the graphic design template currently in use by the National Coal Heritage Area. Historical markers will be allowed under this category, but must be a part of the Division of Culture and History’s historical marker program and must include adequate space for a minimum of two vehicles to safely pull off the road.
Historic Preservation and Resource Stewardship: (grant awards range from $1,000 -$50,000) Projects in this category must further the preservation, protection, and/or restoration of historic properties, landscapes, and cultural resources within the National Coal Heritage Area. All structures must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or determined as eligible for listing by the State Historic Preservation Office. Preservation and restoration of historic structures must adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties.” All preservation projects are subject to approval of the WV State Historic Preservation Office and may not proceed until written notice from SHPO is received. Examples of eligible projects are development of a historic preservation master plan for an existing National Register district or structure, structural analysis for the purpose of stabilizing an eligible structure, and interior and exterior rehabilitation.
Archives and Historical Record Collection: (grant awards range from $1,000 – $25,000) Grants within this category will serve to increase the public’s access to historical records and documents or to preserve paper-based archival documents. Examples of possible projects include collecting and cataloguing archival documents to be made available to the public and creation of systems to allow on-line access to document images. All work done under this category must focus on improving the public’s access to archival information, but may not include ongoing operational expenses of operating an archival facility. A catalogue of material collected and archived under this grant category must be published and made available to the public either on-line or in print and a copy provided to the National Coal Heritage Area Authority.
Greenways, Public Parks, and Non-motorized Trails: (grant awards range from $1,000 – $25,000) Grants within this category must focus on creating outdoor interpretive spaces, be open to the general public, and be generally accessible to the traveling public. Example of projects could include a trailhead facility that relates the coal heritage of the area, interpretive trails that pass across mining lands or through company towns with accompanying interpretive materials, roadside pull-offs featuring interpretive signage and/or historical markers, gateways to coal communities, and non-motorized trails that connect historic resources. Design plans and feasibility studies for these types of projects are also considered to be eligible. In general playgrounds and recreational facilities will not be eligible for funding, unless they contain an interpretive element. Plans for maintenance of the site must be clearly defined with a responsible entity identified. All design plans for approved projects must be submitted to the National Coal Heritage Area Authority for approval before actual construction begins.
Educational Activities and Events: (grant awards range from $500 – $10,000) Grants within this category will focus on providing education opportunities within the community or schools. Educational activities should focus on preserving and sharing the history of the region with children, young adults or community members or involving those groups in collecting and preserving history. Eligible activities include: Field trips when combined with other educational activities, art projects that explore the history and culture of coal and coal communities, including drama, literature, photography, visual arts, music, dance, and public art projects, special speakers or presentations when combined with other educational activities, historical research and documentation including oral and family histories and digital stories created by students and community members, and workshops or presentations designed to assist communities in preserving and interpreting their history.
When envisioning a courthouse most people conjure the image of a blindfolded allegorical statue standing in front of an imposing neoclassical temple of justice – much like the one Cass Gilbert designed for the U.S. Supreme Court. However, courthouses come in all shapes and sizes. With fifty-five counties, each one with a current – and often former – seat of power there are many courthouses across the state to explore. Below are just a few examples of the diverse architectural styles of the many historic courthouses of West Virginia
Go out and do these historic courthouses justice! Make these temples to jurisprudence your excuse for an excursion!
VISTA position begins May 2014 and is a one-year position. It may be extended for 2 – 3 years depending on VISTA’s project development and fundraising. The VISTA will be assigned to the following projects:
2015 Marks the 75th Anniversary of the historic Homestead Elementary School, the last of the 99 schools built under the New Deal program of rural development following the Great Depression to still be in active service. The school is the heart of a struggling rural community and is faced with closure. A local group has organized to commemorate the history of the school and its community, one of the original New Deal Resettlement Homesteads, to fight to keep the school open, and to develop much needed jobs through heritage tourism. The centerpiece activity currently is planning an anniversary celebration which will include publicizing the history, organizing public and financial support, and archiving their collection of documents, photographs and artifacts pertinent to the history of the Homestead. This project will not only commemorate this milestone anniversary, but will also help to move the sponsor organization forward in its efforts to preserve the school as a working elementary school and historical site and enhance its depository of artifacts and data from this New Deal settlement. This economically challenged rural area is struggling to do this with an older volunteer effort and a VISTA would enable a the project to move forward with this mission in the true spirit of the efforts of the New Deal “work to live” programs.
Tygart Valley Homestead School is located about 15 miles south of Elkins, WV. Please contact Gibbs Kinderman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to apply.
By Danielle, Executive Director
We at PAWV have partnered with the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority for a five-locale special program in the New River area: Bridges to the Past. Part of this partnership includes the display of our traveling exhibit, Preserving West Virginia: Saving Communities, giving special presentations about historic preservation, and touring historic sites in the region. Summersville in Nicholas County was the first stop on our five-month tour.
We were lucky to have Ray Moeller, West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension Agent in Nicholas County, be our tour guide of Summersville’s historic hot spots. Ray was a great host. He picked us up at our hotel and drove us around to the Old Main School, Carnifex Ferry Park, Hawks Nest Workers Memorial and Grave Site, Summersville Lake, and more. Of all the sites, the Old Main School left the greatest impression on us. Old Main was the Nicholas County High School from 1913-1978. It is a three-story structure constructed of stone quarried not too far from where the building stands.
PAWV has focused its energies on highlighting dilapidated and vacant schools on the West Virginia Endangered Properties List (two were added to the list this year!). Recently, we’ve seen success stories for adaptive re-use of schools for housing in Clendenin, Charleston, and Elkins. These success stories are worth noting, but it’s important to understand that not every school building can be turned into affordable housing. The folks at the Old Main Foundation showed us a unique approach to making historic schools viable again.
It appears that the Old Main School project has evolved naturally over the years. The group formed in 1990 with the goal to turn the school into a regional cultural arts center. Fast forward twenty-four years, and we see first-hand what can be accomplished when a dedicated group of volunteers put their minds to something. The group has attained its goal, and the school now functions as a cultural arts center. Additionally, it houses a few offices for local organizations and businesses, demonstrating that the group has not limited itself to a certain scope, but that it has learned how to generate income to keep the building functioning and pristine. There are several rooms devoted to museum displays for veterans’ history, local history, and wild game, among other topics.
There is also a grand stage and auditorium that has been restored and is used for community performances. Groups can rent out spaces in the school for special events too. What’s remarkable about this project is that it is cutting edge compared to other school projects in West Virginia – many are in a stage of infancy. The Old Main Foundation found an approach that worked and ran with it. It may not work for every school building, but this project shows that there are endless options for preserving and re-using historic schools. All you really need is a dedicated group of volunteers with creative minds.
Old Main School is a historic preservation gem in the Nicholas County, and it is worth a visit on your summer trips to the New River. You can contact Jim Fitzwater at the Old Main Foundation for special tours and events by calling 304-872-5020. For more information, you can contact Ray Moeller at
Over the next five months, PAWV will be partnering with the New River Gorge Development Authority to present Bridges to the Past, A Historic Preservation Initiative of the NRGRDA. Special historic preservation programming and the PAWV traveling exhibit, Preserving West Virginia: Saving Communities, will be featured at over five locations in southern WV. See a full calendar events, exhibit locations, and programming topics below…
The workshop will focus on the Entler-Weltzheimer House on the campus of Shepherd University. As it is the last remaining example of vernacular architecture in a modest part of Shepherdstown along High Street, preserving the structure is important to the Shepherdstown community. By 2000, though, the Entler-Weltzheimer House had become dilapidated and was an eyesore. In 2011, Shepherd University applied for a grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and was awarded $34,419 for a restoration of the Entler-Weltzheimer House. Shepherd matched these funds, and from 2011-2012, $68,838 was invested for major external renovations, including removal of a non-significant dormer, a new historically appropriate roof, new paint, and significant interior repair and stabilization. In 2013, the Phi Sigma Chi sorority, who used the house from 1948-1960, donated funds for a new railing in front of the house. The windows, however, are in need of repairs, ranging from complete rebuilding to paint removal and repainting. Boards still cover the window openings, and the structure, while no longer an eyesore, still presents an unfinished appearance.
Windows have long been a bone of contention within historic preservation projects. For many years, environmentalists and preservationists butted heads over the issue of replacement windows that were thought to be more energy efficient versus restoring original windows. Concerns about lead paint also led to the drive to replace old windows rather than repair them. Recent best practices have shifted from window replacement to window restoration, retaining the original historical look and feel of the old glass and wood while keeping the energy invested in the original window fabrication. Moreover, weatherization updates can increase the energy efficiency of the window and proper techniques can provide for lead abatement safely and reasonably. Nevertheless, historic wood windows continue to be removed and replaced unnecessarily. In most cases, property owners do not understand that it is possible to restore wood windows properly, safely, and affordably. The PAWV workshop aims to educate the public about proper window restoration a techniques while in the process significantly improving the appearance of the Entler-Weltzheimer House.
The city of Weirton was incorporated in 1947, combining the areas known as Holliday’s Cove – home to the area’s earliest settlers, Marland Heights and Weirton Heights – both located on bluffs above the downtown area, and Weirton – the area immediately surrounding Weirton Steel. Some forty years prior, the area was mostly apple orchards and farms. In 1909, Ernest T. Weir, president of Phillips Sheet and Tin Plate Company of Clarksburg, WV, purchased 105 acres of land from Cyrus Ferguson to expand his business. By the end of 1909, Weir’s company was operating ten mills and by 1918, the Phillips Sheet and Tin Company changed its name to Weirton Steel Company. Weirton Steel and the surrounding areas continued to prosper for the better part of 60 years. At one time, the company employed over 12,000 people, becoming the largest private employer in West Virginia, and was the 5th largest steel producer in the country.
The areas surrounding downtown Weirton, such as Marland Heights, were home to the employees of Weirton Steel. And by providing for the city, Weirton Steel was providing for their employees. During the 1930’s, many community oriented projects were undertaken by Weirton Steel, one such project was the Marland Heights Park and Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool. The park and pool were developed using funds left by David Mason Weir, brother of Ernest Weir and vice-president of Weirton Steel Company. In his will, he stipulated that funds from his estate be used to develop a public space honoring his mother, Margaret M. Weir.
The Art Deco swimming pool was constructed by Weirton Steel Employees including laid-off workers and was under the ownership of Weirton Steel until 1984 when ownership was transferred to the Board of Parks and Recreational Commissioners. Both the park and pool served as the center of Weirton’s recreational activities until the pool closed in 2005. As stated in its National Register Nomination, most of the original elements still exist to this day. The original wire baskets used for storing belongings, wooden dressing benches and a wooden check-in counter.
The impact of the Margaret Mason Memorial Pool and Marland Heights Park is evident within the community; both are mainstays of shared memory. One long-time resident of Marland Heights, Dolores Ginier, was recently interviewed regarding the community pool. Mrs. Ginier was born shortly after the park and pool were dedicated and grew up within walking distance. She has a unique perspective on the situation, having seen the growth of Weirton and the Marland Heights area. She began going to the pool at a young age and took her children there as well. When asked what she remembers most about the pool, Mrs. Ginier answered, “We lived there in the summer. From 4th grade on, we spent every day there. We would ride our bikes two times a day to the pool.” She also remembers her favorite aspects of the pool, how cold the water was as well as the diving boards. [Originally, the pool had three diving boards, including a high dive. In 1990, the high dive was deemed unsafe and removed due to the depth of the deep end.] Mrs. Ginier says her and her friends would lay out a lot as they got older, their goal being to “get tan, as dark as we could get. We didn’t know any better in those days, how bad that was for you.” Some activities that were popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s were ping pong, which was played in a shelter on park grounds, as well as shuffle board. She also remembers playing tennis and watching others play basketball. Mrs. Ginier talked about some of her earliest memories involving the playground. “The playground used to be in back of the pool, there were children’s swings with wooden seats and possibly a slide. There wasn’t any climbing equipment like now” [today the playground is to the right of the pool and does consist mainly of climbing equipment]. “The maintenance and care [of the park] also stand out. There was a spit-polished shine. No gravel was out of place and the shrubbery was perfectly manicured. I believe Weirton Steel took care of the maintenance.” When asked how she feels about efforts to reopen the pool, Mrs. Ginier replied, “I fully support the efforts currently being made. I wish them well.”
Currently, efforts are being made by the Marland Heights Community Association and the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation to begin the necessary steps required to open the landmark to the public. The Margaret Manson Weir Memorial Pool is a major part of the history of Weirton and Weirton Steel. It is a unique building, retaining most of its original elements, and will be a cornerstone of the community.
Here is a historic video of the pool dedication:
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.
The original mill on the Feagans’ site was built by the Abram Haines family between 1757 and 1760. That mill was burnt to the ground by Union forces during he Civil War by order of General David Hunter and General Phillip Sheridan in 1864. It was rebuilt around 1870 by Isaac Feagans, who had purchased one half interest in the property from the Haines family and began operating as the Haines’-Feagans’ Mill. In about 1900, Wilder Feagans purchased the remaining share from the Haines, and the mill operated as Feagans Mill until 1943, when it was shut down. During 1937, it did suffer some damage from another fire, and from 1943 to 2010, little upkeep was done to the mill and it fell into a state of disrepair, with pests infiltrating much of the building.
Acquired by the present owner in 2010, the mill is in need of minor structural restoration and routine maintenance. The plan is to conduct a full restoration of the site, ultimately resulting in a fully operational historic mill and creamery, as well as ancillary businesses, which could serve the needs of local farmers AND become a historic tourism destination. Rehabilitation of the property began in 2011 by removal of most of the accumulated refuse inside the mill and clearing of the overgrowth from the exterior. The mill is powered by a 16-by-4-foot iron water wheel, made by the Fritz Iron Foundry of Martinsburg and located on the north side of the mill. There has been some difficulty in moving forward with the project primarily related to zoning and engineering regulation concerns. It is hoped that PAWV can reduce the threat to the property by providing technical guidance to the owner as to proper historic restoration and preservation techniques and can help the owner mitigate some of the concerns of the county planning and engineering departments.
The Golden Rule building is one of the last remnants of Belington’s economic boom. Completed in 1902, this local ‘landmark’ housed the Shinn family’s Valley Grocery Company wholesale operation and later the Golden Rule Company retail store. Though this is not the only family business associated with The Golden Rule, this turn-of-the-century building includes a hydraulic elevator from the Warner Elevator Company, a family company out of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Warren Warner was considered a pioneer in elevator manufacturing. In the mid-nineteenth century, his company built the first hydraulic elevator in the United States. After Warren passed away in 1891, the company remained in the family. His grandson, C.H.M. Atkins took over the Warner Elevator Company. By 1912, the Warner Elevator Company was the third largest producer of electric elevators in the country.
Mechanics of the elevator
The elevator in The Golden Rule is little more than a palette-sized plate in a narrow three-story shaft. The whole system comprises of a large metal cylinder, iron pipes, cables, and pulleys. The iron pipe, connected to the city’s water source, fed into the cylinder causing the pulleys to turn and the platform to rise and fall. The major mechanical parts are still in the basement, however, it appears that several pipes are missing. The Belington Revitalization Committee hopes to get the elevator working again as part of the preservation and rehabilitation of the building.
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