The students worked to document the process of cleaning and mothballing the historic apartment building in Helen, West Virginia. They donated their time and efforts to put together a documentary that has a future as a teaching tool as well as a way to spread awareness of historic preservation efforts in the state of West Virginia. Three high definition video cameras were deployed during the project, including the creative use of time lapsed photography to help illustrate the pulse and dynamics of the project. They eagerly incorporated drone photographs and video taken of the project area to add a cutting edge technology feature to the filming, as well as archival footage of the Helen community. Various leaders in the project and volunteers were interviewed to add perspective and depth to the film production.
Abandoned and dilapidated buildings have become a large problem for the state during the decline of the coal industry over the last 40 or more years, but some historic structures from the coal boom still remain intact and are worthy of adaptive reuse across Southern West Virginia. With the effort put forth by Liberty High School’s Fine Arts Department, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia now has another means of spreading awareness of historic preservation and its best practices. On April 10th and 11th Rodriguez and students captured on film the clean- up work of 33 volunteers from throughout the state who had come together. Volunteers cleared out 6.31 tons of debris from inside the apartment house. Vegetation and trash were collected from around the outside of the building to improve its outer appearance as well. The first floor windows were covered with plywood panels as part of the mothballing process. They were designed and built by The Preservation Alliance’s full-time employee Lynn Stasick and AmeriCorps member Nicole Morocco.
The 2015 Landscape Restoration Award went to the City of Beckley for the Alfred Beckley Mill Project. Beckley City Council member and Raleigh County Historic Society President, Tom Sopher and Gary Morefield, President of the Raleigh County Cycle Club and active volunteer in building the trail system around the mill site and Piney Creek watershed accepted the award.
In 2013, National Park Service cultural resource agent, David Fuerst, produced an archaeological study of a mill site along Piney Creek in Raleigh County. His report found a connection between the mill site and Alfred Beckley the founder of Beckley, WV, his homestead, Wildwood House, as well as Greenwood Cemetery. Fuerst explained that there is an entire network of cultural resources and a history of Beckley that hasn’t been told yet. It is also a history of how people lived and how all of these sites are connected. Although, Fuerst published the report, he gives ownership of the idea to the late Beckley Historian, Jim Wood.
Adopting a true historic preservation ethos, The City of Beckley and the Beckley Historic Landmarks Commission jumped on the chance to learn more about the site and preserve it. They have adopted plans to place the mill in the National register of Historic Places and turn the mill area surrounding the Piney Creek Watershed into a public park. A road is being paved to the park and volunteers have been building trails around the grounds.
The Preservation Alliance of WV, the statewide non-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation honored preservationists from across the state during the 7th Annual Historic Preservation Awards Banquet in downtown Grafton on September 19. “Each year, the statewide banquet is held in a different historic venue in West Virginia, and Grafton was selected after a tremendous show of support for the location during a social media contest in 2014,” explained Danielle LaPresta Parker, executive director for the Alliance. This year’s banquet and dinner were held at the International Mother’s Day Shrine followed by a banquet dinner catered by Gibson Gourmet with keynote speaker, Nikki Bowman, of New South Media, Inc.
During the event, the Preservation Alliance Board of Directors President, Sandra Scaffidi, presented fourteen historic preservation awards along with three grant awards to preservation projects across the state.
See photos from the event at the online album HERE.
The 2015 Historic Preservation Award Winners are:
Archaeology Award – Jamie Vosvick for his commitment in volunteering to the preservation of the Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale.
Most Significant Save of an Endangered Site – Friends of Happy Retreat for the acquisition of Happy Retreat in Charles Town. It was listed as an Endangered Site in 2010.
Heritage Tourism Award – Dr. David Trowbride, professor at Marshall University, for the Clio, a smart phone application that connects people to historic places while traveling.
Best Use of Historic Tax Credits – GJR Enterprises for the advantageous use of Historic Tax Credits in the adaptive re-use of the Riley Law Building and the development of the Kaley Center in Wheeling.
Media Award – Liberty School Fine Arts program for the Helen Apartment Building Restoration video.
Landscape Preservation Award – City of Beckley for the Alfred Beckley Mill Project and preserving the landscape for future projects including a National Register Nomination and the development of a city park.
Downtown Preservation Award – International Mother’s Day Shrine for multiple preservation and adaptive re-use projects in downtown Grafton, including the Manos Theater and International Mother’s Day Shrine.
Community Preservation Award – Wheeling Young Preservationists for their role in preserving downtown Wheeling preservation projects including the annual lovescaping awareness campaign held in February, their efforts in preserving the Blue Church and Mt. Wood Cemetery, and preservation trades educational workshops presented to students of all ages.
Preservation Achievement (Person) – Susan Adkins, Executive Director of Carnegie Hall, for her commitment to developing cultural heritage tourism and preserving the historic theater in downtown Lewisburg.
Preservation Achievement (Building) – Adaland Mansion restoration project under the directorship of Dr. Ann Serafin.
Dr. Emory Kemp Lifetime Achievement Award – JoAnn Lough of Fairmont for her dedication to preserving Marion County history and presenting it through different educational forms to the public.
This year, the Alliance added two new award categories which also included cash awards to be used toward preservation projects. The cash awards were made possible because of an anonymous donor with strong beliefs in the value of historic preservation.
Preservation Persistence Award – Ella Belling, Elkins Coal and Coke Building in Masontown (2010 Endangered Properties List)
Preservation Persistence Award – Holt Barnitz, White House in Nicholas County (2015 Endangered Properties List)
Stewardship Award – Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale
Congratulations to this year’s historic preservation award winners. Stay tuned for inside looks at each of these projects and learn more about why they received their awards.
TOP O ROCK DEMOLISHED TODAY
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.
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