West Virginia’s Partners in Preservation
Although SHPO is mandated by federal and state law to conduct preservation activities throughout West Virginia, the success of these endeavors relies upon the cooperation of all those in the preservation community. Partnerships created among West Virginia’s historical and preservation-related groups benefit our shared heritage. Below is a list of some of the groups and people that have worked together over the past few years toward the preservation of West Virginia’s historic resources. While the list is fairly extensive, it is not exhaustive. SHPO staff hopes the network of partners continues to grow over the next five years.
Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV)
PAWV serves as the statewide, grass-roots organization committed to promoting historic pre-servation and preserving the state’s unique cultural heritage. Estab-lished in 1980, the organization and its members are active in a number of preservation-related endeavors, including those involving heritage tourism, education and outreach, advocacy and preservation easements. Its board also compiles and publishes a biannual list of West Virginia’s most endangered historic properties. PAWV’s annual meetings have provided an opportunity for people across the state to learn about different aspects of preserva-tion. SHPO enjoys a positive working relationship with PAWV. In addition to serving on the organization’s board, staff have worked closely with PAWV members in a number of joint efforts.
Established in 1980, the Archaeological Conservancy is a national non-profit organi-zation dedicated to acquiring and preserving the United States’ important archaeological sites. Nationally, the Conservancy has obtained more than 170 endangered sites in 29 states. In West Virginia, the organization was instrumental in preserving Fort Edwards, located on the Cacapon River in Hampshire County, as well as prehistoric mounds in Nicholas and Wood Counties. SHPO continues to consult with the Conservancy about endangered sites across the state.
National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP)
Since its inception in 1949, the National Trust has helped America protect signifi-cant cultural resources. In addition to providing a national perspective on local issues in West Virginia, the Trust is invol-ved in state preservation endeavors on a number of different levels. They are avail-able to receive comments from the public on various preservation projects and have been a consulting party on Section 106 projects. NTHP staff facilitated workshops sponsored by SHPO and Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. The organization also provided funding and technical assist-ance to groups such as Main Street West Virginia and PAWV.
Council for West Virginia Archaeology (CWVA)
CWVA is an organization composed of professional archaeologists who either work in or have research interests in West Virginia. Its concerns lie in promoting the study of West Virginia’s history and prehistory. SHPO staff archaeologists are members of this organization and often consult with the Council about various federal projects.
West Virginia Archaeological Society (WVAS)
WVAS serves as the state’s avocational arch-aeological organization. It focuses upon preventing the destruction of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites and ensuring that, when necessary, excavation is conducted in keeping with professional standards. With several active chapters across West Virginia, members have worked with SHPO staff to recover information from endangered sites not protected by the federal review process. The Society holds an annual meeting to keep the public informed about archaeological work being conducted in the region and publishes an annual journal.
Certified Local Governments (CLG) and Historic Landmark Commissions (HLC)
CLGs and HLCs often serve as extensions of SHPO at the regional and local levels, and attend to projects that are not feasible for SHPO to conduct. Recent projects include the creation of a website and interpretive signage for historic Beverly; a survey of buildings, structures and public works constructed by Tony Pietro in the Monongalia County area; a survey of agricultural resources in Harrison County; and a survey of historic resources in the town of Weston, Lewis County. SHPO staff rely on these groups to conduct preservation activities around the state, such as survey, listing and restoring historic properties as well as educating the public about their importance, and enjoy working in cooperation with them.
Main Street West Virginia
Housed within the West Virginia Development Office, Main Street West Virginia has promoted historic preservation as an economic development tool since 1988. Currently, West Virginia has 12 active Main Street communities, most of which also have CLGs. SHPO and Main Street staff have worked together closely to achieve goals common to both agencies. By continuing this effort into the future, SHPO staff hope to help more towns across West Virginia preserve their valued resources as they strive for economic vitality.
Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology (IHTIA)
Located in Morgantown, IHTIA is a part of West Virginia University’s Eberle College of Arts and Sciences. It was founded in 1989 to document, ana-lyze and preserve our country’s industrial heritage. Since its inception, IHTIA has participated in numerous projects nationwide. In West Virginia they have surveyed and documented a variety of historic properties, including the Staunton to Parkersburg Turnpike, the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and resources associated with the 1921 mine war on Blair Mountain. Its staff also produced a variety of technical reports such as those for the Trump-Lilly Farm and the Highgate Carriage House, as well as historic context studies, most not-ably those for the northern and southern coal fields.State and Federal Agencies
Several state and federal agencies with-in West Virginia own historic properties and are responsible for their maintenance and preservation. SHPO has developed a solid working relationship with a number of them, especially as it pertains to responsi-bilities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. For example, SHPO entered into ongoing co-operative agreements with West Virginia’s Division of Highways and Division of Environmental Protection whereby SHPO is provided with funding for additional staff to help conduct review and compliance activities. With other agencies, such as Monongahela National Forest, New River National Historic River and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, SHPO entered into memoranda of agreement for the protection and maintenance of historic resources. SHPO staff regularly consult with and provide technical information to state and federal agencies regarding historic resources.
Regional and Local Non-Profit Organizations
West Virginia is fortunate to have numerous regional and local non-profit organizations and historical societies that help further the cause of preservation in many ways. Groups such as Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, Friends of Independence Hall, and the Madie Carroll Foundation have made it their mission to care for specific historic resources. Others, such as Friends of Wheeling, Mountain State Railroad and Logging Historical Association, Berkeley County Historical Society, and The Greenbottom Society have a broader focus that includes a preser-vation component. SHPO staff work closely with a number of these groups toward the preservation of historic properties within their jurisdiction.
West Virginia is home to dozens of historic preservation consultants, including archaeologists, historians, structural his torians, architects and preservation planners. SHPO staff cooperate with profes- sionals during the Section 106 review process, both as they conduct preservation activities for CLGs and HLCs and as con-sultants hired directly by this office. The information they have gathered through various research efforts greatly increases the knowledge and understanding we have about West Virginia’s heritage, resulting in the listing of several properties in the National Register of Historic Places.
National Register Property Owners
A majority of West Virginia’s historic resources are privately owned. Although not all property owners are active in his-toric preservation, most are concerned with properly restoring and maintaining their historic properties. SHPO staff work with many owners by providing them with development grant funds to complete restoration work, assisting them in the state and federal tax credit process, and supplying them with technical information through literature and workshops.
Archives and History Commission
The West Virginia Archives and History Commission serves as the State Review Board and oversees activities undertaken by the Division of Culture and History. It meets three times per year in order to conduct its business. This includes advising and providing professional recom-mendations for the Commissioner and directors, approving and distributing grants and awards from federal and state funds, encouraging and promoting the mission of the SHPO, approving rules and regulations concerning the professional policies and functions of the Division of Culture and History, and reviewing and approving nom-inations to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. By law, the Commis-sion must consist of at least five and up to 13 members who are appointed by the Governor, as well as two ex-officio voting members and five ex-officio non-voting members. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, re-quires that the Commission be comprised of people with expertise in the following fields: history, architectural history, histori-cal architecture, historic and prehistoric archaeology, archives, library science and museum studies.