Preserving the past to build the future
National Coal Heritage Area Preserve WV AmeriCorps Member
Help us bring the power of AmeriCorps to the southern West Virginia Coalfields as we preserve and interpret the history of coal communities and people to realize the tourism potential of our beautiful small towns.
As one of the 49 national heritage areas throughout the country, the mission of the National Coal Heritage Area is to preserve, protect, and interpret lands, structures, and communities associated with the coal mining heritage of southern West Virginia. We work in 13 counties in southern West Virginia to assist small communities with preserving their history and telling their story as part of a regional heritage tourism initiative. The National Coal Heritage Area's mission is accomplished in several ways including direct preservation of structures and artifacts, supporting community efforts to preserve their history through the distribution of community grants and through providing technical and capacity building assistance to communities to enable them to become better stewards of their resources. Please help us help our region by donating to allow us to meet the match for our AmeriCorps members who provide valuable assistance to us and our community partners. We couldn't do it without them and we can't do it without you. Learn more about National Coal Heritage Area at http://www.coalheritage.org/.
Wondering what the Preserve WV AmeriCorps member assigned to National Coal Heritage Area will be doing during his service year? Here are the tasks outlined for the member to complete over the course of the year:
- Continuing to collect, store, and catalogue artifacts, photographs, and documents related to southern West Virginia's coal heritage. This task allows us to work with the community in securing and protecting these items for use in research and interpretation. To accomplish this and raise awareness of the value and care of historic artifacts, two public collection events will be held where residents can bring their photographs and documents to donate or to be scanned.
- Completing 3 National Register Nominations. The southern coalfields continue to be under-represented in the number of structures and districts included in the National Register of Historic Places. Our small communities typically lack the resources and/or technical knowledge to complete the nominations.
- Complete historical research on the Eccles Mine Disaster and develop interpretive signage for the Eccles Mine Disaster Memorial and for Saint Sebastian's Cemetery where 92 of those killed in the disaster are buried. Saint Francis de Sales church is the owner of the cemetery and will participate by providing a monument to be located at the cemetery as many of those buried there are in a mass grave and are unidentified.
- Help the Piney Creek Watershed Association and the City of Beckley to develop interpretive signage for the Piney Creek Trail and the Beckley Mill Site.
- Assist the Guyandotte Water Trail Alliance to perform research and develop interpretive signage for the Guyandotte Water Trail river access points, focusing on the coal history of the region.
- Develop interpretive signage for the White Oak Depot in Oak Hill and have the Depot included as a site on the Virginian Heritage Trail.
- Assist with historical research to develop a walking tour brochure for the City of Mount Hope.