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D&E College event to feature author

October 24, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Davis & Elkins College will present a special historic preservation event featuring author John Allen Jr. and a panel of state and area leaders in preservation from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Myles Center for the Arts.

The program is free and open to the public, and it also will include an exhibition of photos and historic maps and a book-signing event with Allen.

Allen's book, "Uncommon Vernacular: The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1735-1835," won the Foreword Reviews' 2011 Book of the Year Award for architecture, and earned its publisher, West Virginia University Press, an Independent Publisher Award. The book not only reveals some of West Virginia's innovations in 18th century architecture, it also encompasses state, regional and national history. Seven-hundred photos by famed Washington, D.C., architectural photographer Walter Smalling Jr. are featured. Some of the photos, enlarged and framed for gallery display, will be in the exhibition at D&E.

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Allen profiles 250 separate buildings in his book, ranging from the plantation homes of George Washington's family to the log houses of simple farmers. With the help of photos and illustrations, he details design, materials and construction techniques rooted in the mix of German, Scots-Irish, English and African cultures of the area. His presentation in Elkins will take the audience through the project, the resources he was able to draw from and the importance of understanding what West Virginia has.

Following Allen's talk, a moderated panel discussion will examine preservation efforts around the state and what communities can do to understand and enhance their history.

Panelists will include Susan Pierce, director of West Virginia's State Historic Preservation Office; Victor R. Greco of the American Institute of America, WV Archives and History Commission, City of Wheeling Historic Landmarks Commission and vice president and partner of Schamu Machowski Greco Architects; Phyllis Baxter, president of Historic Beverly, secretary of Preservation Alliance of West Virginia and director of the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area; and Ellen Spears, president of the Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission, founding director of Elkins ON TRAC and member of the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority. A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion.

Allen's book-signing event and a reception will take place following the event in the Myles Center outside the Augusta Heritage Center offices. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. No tickets are required.

More information is available at or 304-637-1243.



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