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Introduction


Contents

Introduction

West Virginia’s Historic Resources

The Planning Process

West Virginia’s Partners in Preservation

Issues and Opportunities

Accomplishments

West Virginia Historic Preservation Goals and Objectives for 2002 - 2006

Bibliography

Appendix 1:

Appendix 2:

Contact Information

About the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office

Today’s West Virginians have inherited a rich and meaningful culture and history that is embodied in numerous historic and prehistoric sites, structures and objects. On March 6, 1965, the West Virginia Legislature officially recognized the need to protect the state’s historic resources by passing an act to establish the West Virginia Antiquities Commission. The legislature granted the commission, which initially consisted of six members, the authority to conduct a number of activities. These included the ability to identify and recommend for acquisition historic sites worthy of preservation; direct and supervise the excavation, study, restoration and development of these sites; and conduct a survey and study throughout the state to determine needs and priorities for the preservation, restoration and development of sites, buildings, and other objects of archaeological or historic interest. One year later, with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the United States Congress established a national program to ensure the identification, preservation and protection of our nation’s historic properties. In West Virginia, these duties and responsibilities were subsumed by the Antiquities Commission.

Throughout its tenure, the Antiquities Commission brought recognition to and helped preserve some of West Virginia’s most significant and treasured resources. It played a pivotal role in the eventual preservation of historic sites and places such as Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling, Harpers Ferry, Rich Mountain Battlefield, and cultural resources on Blennerhassett Island near Parkersburg. The commission also recognized the need for careful planning so that important resources were not lost to development and unchecked growth. In 1970 it created West Virginia’s first statewide historic preservation plan. With this plan the Antiquities Commission promoted the idea that preservation and economic development could work together to create a desirable environment in which to live. In the end, the Commission was responsible for surveying more than 3,000 historic structures or sites and was able to list approximately 150 in the National Register of Historic Places. It also created a photograph and slide archive that contained approximately 7,000 images. More importantly, however, the Commission was successful in imparting the ideals of historic preservation to the public and in creating an atmosphere of cooperation between various state agencies and private organizations.

Grave Creek Mound One of the largest and most famous of the burial mounds built by the ancient Adena people, Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, Marshall County, was preserved due, in part, to the efforts of the West Virginia Antiquities Commission. The Antiquities Commission was the forerunner of the present-day State Historic Preservation Office. Photo by Michael Keller

On May 6, 1977, legislation was passed creating the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. This legislation effectively removed the position of State Historic Preservation Officer from the now-defunct Antiquities Commission and placed it within the Division’s newly created Historic Preservation Section (State Historic Preservation Office). The Historic Preservation Section absorbed all duties and responsibilities of the Antiquities Commission, including those created by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

Today the office administers the State Historic Preservation Program, which provides for a number of activities. These include conducting comprehensive surveys of historic properties in cooperation with other public agencies, private organizations or individuals, maintaining an inventory of those properties, and nominating eligible properties to the National Register of Historic Places. The office is also responsible for preparing and implementing a comprehensive statewide historic preservation plan and providing the public with information, education, training and technical assistance, as well as cooperating and consulting with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, federal agencies and interested persons in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) staff are available to give advice and assistance to local governments. They promote the development of the Certified Local Government (CLG) Program so that local governments can receive federal preservation funds through their established historic landmark commission. Finally, the office reviews and comments upon federal and state tax credit applications for commercial and residential properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The SHPO is obligated to follow standards and procedures set forth by the United States Department of the Interior. Most notably this consists of The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards & Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation, which includes standards for conducting a variety of preservation-related activities as well as The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (36 CFR 68) and The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation (36 CFR 67). In general, these documents set minimum criteria that must be met by any individual, organization or agency that uses state or federal funds to conduct a variety of historic preservation activities. For example, archaeological survey and excavation projects conducted in compliance with the West Virginia State or the Federal Section 106 review process must meet identification and evaluation standards outlined by the Secretary of the Interior. Rehabilitation of historic properties conducted using state development money or completed for the purpose of receiving a state or federal tax credit must meet standards established for rehabilitation. Individuals who wish to conduct work in the historic preservation field should meet standards outlined in The Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards (36 CFR 61), which are also part of The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Copies of National Park Service standards and guidelines can be found online at the National Park Service website at www.cr.nps.gov.

The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office administers two grant programs: the Survey and Planning Grant Program and the Development Grant Program. The Survey and Planning Grant Program is funded by federal money SHPO receives from the Department of the Interior. Ten percent of its annual money must be allotted to Certified Local Governments to conduct preservation activities at the local or county level. Activities include administering structural and archaeological surveys, nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places, developing historic preservation plans, and creating a variety of educational materials.

The Development Grant Program assists historic property owners with the rehabilitation of resources listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Money for this program is made available each year by the West Virginia State Legislature. Through a recent increase in development grant money, the West Virginia State Legislature has made it possible to rehabilitate an increasing number of historic properties across the Mountain State.

West Virginia has a wealth of prehistoric and historic properties that embody our state’s culture and history and represent our shared heritage. Their value, however, goes beyond this because, if preserved, they can stabilize neighborhoods, stimulate private investment, provide affordable housing, revitalize downtown activities, attract tourists and enhance community pride.

Civic pride and citizen involvement will be found in any community that protects and appreciates its historic resources. It is time to rediscover and strengthen the sense of place that makes each community unique. The people of West Virginia will benefit immeasurably from a greater awareness of and involvement in the preservation of the cultural environment that connects us to our historic past.

Mission Statement

The Mission of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, State Historic Preservation Office, is to encourage, inform, support, and participate in the efforts of the people of West Virginia to identify, recognize, preserve and protect West Virginia’s prehistoric and historic structures, objects, sites and landscapes.

A Vision for West Virginia in the 21st Century

West Virginia has a wealth of prehistoric and historic properties that embody our state’s culture and history and represent our shared heritage. Their value, however, goes beyond this because, if preserved, they can stabilize neighborhoods, stimulate private investment, provide affordable housing, revitalize downtown activities, attract tourists and enhance community pride.

Civic pride and citizen involvement will be found in any community that protects and appreciates its historic resources. It is time to rediscover and strengthen the sense of place that makes each community unique. The people of West Virginia will benefit immeasurably from a greater awareness of and involvement in the preservation of the cultural environment that connects us to our historic past.

Goals for 2002 - 2006

  1. Educate West Virginians about the wealth and value of our state’s heritage, the resources that embody it, and the opportunities that historic preservation offers our communities
  2. Promote historic preservation as an economic development tool, and create economic incentives to further preservation efforts
  3. Encourage and support efforts to identify, evaluate, study, and designate significant structural and archaeological resources
  4. Identify, increase and provide financial resources to assist preservation efforts
  5. Support and strengthen preservation activities of federal and state agencies, local governments and community organizations, and encourage the inclusion of historic preservation in planning efforts
  6. Encourage protection through appropriate management and treatment of historic resources

About This Revision

This plan will guide preservation activities in West Virginia for the next five years, from January 2002 through December 2006. It updates and refines the historic preservation plan adopted and approved by the National Park Service in 1996. This plan, which is meant to be responsive to issues raised by the public, outlines long-term goals and objectives, and suggests specific ways to reach those goals. While the goals and objectives emphasize the state’s preservation priorities, they also provide a framework for conducting preservation activities over the next five years. SHPO staff encourages preservation groups across the state to use the goals and objectives as guidance in conducting their own preservation activities. Specifically, a preservation group can be any federal, state and local agency, non-profit organization, or Historic Landmark Commission (HLC) and Certified Local Government (CLG), as well as individuals and others who have con-cerns and responsibilities regarding historic properties. In order for preservation activities to be successful, they should be conducted through cooperative efforts across the state. Forming and maintaining partnerships between various organizations and individuals at state, county and local levels are necessary to ensure that West Virginia’s historic resources will be here for future generations.

Plan’s Time Frame

Over the next five years SHPO staff will continue to gather and analyze program-matic information in order to evaluate progress in achieving the goals outlined in this document. Staff meetings held in conjunction with the development of the annual work plan, as well as information gathered from public workshops and meet-ings, will serve as tools for identifying issues and provide a basis for the redesign of goals and objectives when needed. In the fall of 2004, the revision process will begin again with an in-depth evaluation of this plan. In 2005, public meetings will be scheduled and a questionnaire will be mailed to begin seeking public input. By the end of 2006, a new statewide historic preservation plan will be ready to be implemented.