The founding of the New Deal-era towns of Dailey, East Dailey, and Valley Bend, part of a controversial federal subsistence homestead project, is featured in the summer issue of GOLDENSEAL magazine, now on sale. The article, titled "Tygart Valley Homestead: New Deal Communities in Randolph County," is written by Kathy Roberts and features extensive illustrations from the Library of Congress and the West Virginia State Archives.
According to the article, the three communities were collectively known as the Tygart Valley Homestead. The Homestead was one of three resettlement communities established in West Virginia during the 1930s, designed to offset the economic devastation of the Great Depression. Homesteaders were placed in new houses, each with enough land for subsistence farming. In addition, industries and craft centers were built to provide employment. At Tygart Valley, this rural industrial initiative included the Kenwood lumber mill, which supplied wood for a commercial furniture operation.
Beth (Guye) Kittle of Elkins moved to Valley Bend with her family at the age of 10 in 1936, and is among the homesteaders interviewed for the article. Jo (Kayes) Vanscoy was raised at Valley Bend and now lives at the Homestead community of Dailey. The late Beatrice (White) Barrickman and her husband Lewis were among the first homesteaders, having moved to Dailey in 1935. Interviews with these women are included in the article.
After World War II, the Homestead was privatized, the cooperative enterprises at Tygart Valley - a cannery, community store, and weaving shop - closed, and the homes sold. Many of the original families and descendants bought their homes and remain there to this day. In addition, newcomers, such as Joe and Gloria Nitz of East Dailey, have settled in the area, according to the article. Many reminders of the original Tygart Valley Homestead remain, such as the Homestead School, located halfway between Dailey and Valley Bend, now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also in this issue of GOLDENSEAL are articles about John and Wilbur Hahn, two octogenarian brothers who operate a small sawmill in Hardy County; the late Rube Stump, a maker of fine porch swings in Calhoun County; 90-year-old Ivan Gorby and the weekly "Bowman Ridge Opry" in Marshall County; and the checkered history of McDowell County's infamous Jones Mansion.
GOLDENSEAL is West Virginia's magazine of traditional life and is published quarterly by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston. The magazine sells for $4.95 and is available from the Tygart Valley Homestead Association in Valley Bend and at Kroger and Wal-Mart in Elkins, or by calling (304)558-0220, ext. 153.
Director of Public Information
West Virginia Division of Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
Phone (304) 558-0220
Fax (304) 558-2779