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Historic Preservation Group Opens Exhibit

June 21, 2008
By WAYNE SHEETS, Contributing Business Writer
The Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation and Historic Beverly Preservation will observe the grand opening of the new Heritage Center’s first permanent exhibit, “Travel a Turnpike Through Time” beginning at 10 a.m. today and lasting until 5 p.m. The exhibit documents the history of the Staunton – Parkersburg Turnpike, the first trans-Allegheny link between the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and the territory of the mid-west beyond the Ohio River. According to Exhibit Designer Dave Vago, the ceremonies will take place in the old bank building, which was the first of four buildings to be renovated that will eventually hold the four permanent exhibits slated for the Heritage Center.

According to Executive Director Chelley Depp, the occasion will also be cause to celebrate the birthday of Beverly’s famous covered bridge builder Lemuel Chenoweth.

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Well, folks, once again I must hang my head in disgust and apologize for my mistakes. One wasn’t enough last week – I had to double my normal output. Last Saturday, in an effort to promote the Tygart Valley Lions Club’s “Grand Give-a-Way, I wrote that it was to be on June 21 — today, one week late. My first greeting when I arrived at the event was, “Hey, are you going to be here next week. If you are, we’ll leave a table and a chair for you and your guest.” I received a lot of good-natured badgering about my mistake. Thanks folks, for not getting too upset because of my mistake. I don’t think my mistake caused anyone to miss one of the most looked-forward-to charitable events in the valley. If it did, you have my sincerest apology. From all appearances, the event met its usual public expectation — fantastic.

My other mistake nearly caused the folks at the water treatment plant to have a heart attack. Mayor Guye, at last week’s Downtown Merchant’s meeting, told us that the newly renovated wastewater treatment plant would be holding an open house on June 27. I wrote in this column that the open house would be at the water treatment plant.

To set the record straight, the open house will be at the newly renovated wastewater treatment plant on Riverbend Road, commencing at 1:30 p.m. on June 27.

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There was one more thing mentioned at the Downtown Merchant’s Meeting on June 10 that I didn’t have room for in last week’s column. That was the numerous comments about how Elkins is coming alive on Saturday mornings. Ed Griesel, president of the merchants group, and who keeps a close watch on the happenings around town, commented on how many people are beginning to come to Elkins early on Saturday mornings.

He, and others, credits this increase in activity to a number of things, two of which are the Farmers’ Market and the passengers waiting for the mid-morning train departure.

“In the past, people who participated in the Farmer’s Market would sell what they brought to sell and would go home,” Griesel said. “Now people are staying long after their goods are gone to mingle and socialize with friends and neighbors.”

Others commented about how enchanting the square looks with all the tents filled with fruits, vegetables, cooked and canned goods for sale, and all the people milling around them. One interesting feature is that of “Katie the Cookie Girl,” a 12-year-old, who is there every Saturday making cookies until she runs out of cookie dough.

Folks, Elkins is really coming to life.

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Another great book on railroading just made it into the bookstores. It’s titled “The West Virginia and Pittsburgh Railroad — B&O’s Road to the Hardwoods” by Alan R. Clarke. This book would make a great “belated” Father’s Day gift. (I’m hoping Sue reads this week’s column and one appears on my bookshelf.) According to a review by the West Virginia Book Company, the book documents the construction of railroads in West Virginia, which was done largely to access the untouched stands of timber in Upshur, Nicholas and Randolph counties. Johnson Newlon Camden and Henry Gassaway Davis were the driving forces behind these railroads.

Sawmills and towns (sawmill towns) sprang up all along the railroads as vast quantities of lumber were harvested from the forests of West Virginia. As the forests were denuded, coal mines opened, more towns were built and coal replaced lumber as the principal freight.

Clarke also authored another book titled “West Virginia’s Coal and Coke Railway — A B&O Predecessor,” which is also an excellent book of this area’s railroad history.

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The Elkins Depot Welcome Center needs volunteers. If you enjoy helping visitors find their way around our area, or talking about the “good old days” when one could take a train from Elkins to Baltimore, or watching trains load with passengers and leave for the mountains, then you will definitely enjoy being a volunteer at the Elkins Depot Welcome Center. Located in the historic train depot, which is celebrating it centennial birthday next month, the center greeted more than 18,000 visitors last year.

You can be a member of the Depot Welcome Center’s volunteers by calling the Welcome Center anytime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. any day of the week and leaving your name and telephone number to be forwarded to Volunteer Staff Coordinator Linda Rudy. The telephone number is 635-7803.

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The Peters Creek Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., has agreed to come to Belington to assist with some much needed maintenance and repairs to the Belington Civic Center, which is home to nearly 350 youngsters during the Jerry West basketball season. The Peters Creek Church volunteers, who have donated their time and energy to various communities in West Virginia for the past 20 years, will be working under the direction of Jeff Sickler, mission coordinator for World Servants in Philippi.

The group will be working at the Civic Center on June 23-24, and June 26-27. In order to achieve maximum results, we need volunteers to assist this work group while they are in town. Everyone is welcome regardless of your trade or profession and no experience is needed. For more information, call Mike Cvechko at 637-9607.

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Jack Pappas, a relative newcomer to Elkins, who lived in Maryland, was inducted into the Rotary Club of Elkins on Monday. Jack is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and after serving his obligation in uniform, entered civilian life and has worked as a consultant to the U.S. Navy since. Jack resides on Buffalo Street with his wife, Sonja.

The Rotary Club is looking for new members. If you are a busy person, like meeting new and interesting people, and enjoy serving your community, Rotary can provide some unique and interesting possibilities.

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The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center, hosted an “Eggs and Issues” breakfast at the Randolph County Community Arts Center on Tuesday. Guest speaker Shana Horrigan with Halcyon Vision presented an interesting program on life coaching. The thrust of her address was about how to proceed from an idea or dream to the goal of that idea or dream with clarity, focus, grace and ease.

One of the many examples she used to illustrate her points was that of the residents of Elkins having the common goal of the city being a vibrant, productive and enjoyable place to live and work. She wove into her verbal illustration how the members of the ERCC and our residents are working toward that goal.

She mentioned, also, that life coaching is being exercised in large metropolitan areas much more than in small towns like Elkins. The fact that Elkins was interested in learning what life coaching is all about is indicative of the progressive mindset of the city’s leaders and citizens.

For information on life coaching, log on at, or e-mail Horrigan at



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