June 10, 2010
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will open a new exhibit, The History of Motorcycles in West Virginia at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. An opening reception to celebrate the show will be held on the plaza deck, the Great Hall and the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater of the Culture Center on Sunday, June 13, from 1 - 6 p.m. The afternoon’s free activities will include live music by Kappa Danielson and Bud Carroll and Southern Souls, refreshments and motorcycle enthusiasts with their bikes on the plaza deck. The exhibit will remain on display through July 8.
Local bikers and bike clubs will bring their cycles and park on the plaza deck of the Culture Center. The public is invited to stroll around and view the bikes and ask questions.
The Great Hall will have 28 bikes on display, some vintage, ranging from 1907, to more current models from the 1980s. The bikes were lent by Tom McKee of Terra Alta; the Triple S Harley-Davidson shop of Morgantown; Denny Ferrell, owner of Tomahawk’s Smokehouse and Saloon in Saint Albans; Dohm Cycles of Charleston; and Harley-Davidson of West Virginia of South Charleston. The exhibit will feature many brands including Harley-Davidson, Indian, Honda, Triumph, Kawasaki and more.
The exhibit also includes photos and text panels which detail the history of motorcycles in the Mountain State. Photographs from the West Virginia State Archives, West Virginia Division of Tourism and Richard Andre, Charleston historian and author are included. Andre’s father, B. E. or “Bee,” was an early owner of a motorcycle shop in Charleston. “Bee” chose Indian bikes for his main line of sales because of their quality, especially their speed–or as he liked to say, “They had plenty of soup.”
The exhibit also delves into the large number of motorcycle riders who come to West Virginia for the scenery; the off-road trails like the Hatfield-McCoy Trails which wind through more than 500 miles in nine southern counties; various motorcycle rallies in Williamstown, Franklin, Summersville and Charleston, as well as the annual Freedom Fest Motorcycle Touring Rally at Snowshoe Mountain. Mountainfest, the state’s largest motorcycle festival is held in Morgantown. Last year it attracted 65,000 enthusiasts and generated some $15 million in regional economic impact.
Visitors also can see pictures of some of the first motorcycles, and read copy explaining how the West Virginia State Police, in its infancy, incorporated the use of motorcycles.
There is a short documentary available for viewing, also entitled The History of Motorcycles in West Virginia which has interviews with Gov. Joe Manchin and others, relating their experiences with biking in the Mountain State. The documentary and the photographs and text labels will become a traveling exhibit.
At 4 p.m., two concerts will take place in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater by Kappa Danielson and The Rise, a bluegrass-based singer/songwriter from Virginia who will perform with her daughters and Bud Carroll and the Southern Souls, a blues and rock band from Huntington.
For more information, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Culture Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.