Historic Preservation Month award winners
May is National Historic Preservation Month and we celebrate by honoring individuals involved in preservation efforts in the Shepherdstown area. Traditionally the awards are presented at our May Speaker Series event. Because of the uncertainty about when restrictions on public gatherings will be lifted, we have cancelled our May event. However, we are delighted to announce our award winners and we plan to present the awards in the fall.
Our first award, Preservation of Historic Legacies: The Dr. James C. Price Award goes to Cheryl Brown. Cheryl is being honored for two primary reasons. In 2106, as the Regent of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, she led the effort to honor the men of Shepherdstown who fought in the American Revolution. On Memorial Day, May 30, 2016, a plaque, located on the side of the War Memorial Building in downtown Shepherdstown, was dedicated to the sacrifice of those men. The dedication was part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter of the DAR.
In addition, Cheryl did the extensive research over three years that established that New Street United Methodist Church was the actual owner of the Shepherd Family Burial Ground. Using the process of reverse genealogy, she researched the first Shepherd in the area, Thomas Shepherd, his children and grandchildren. Her research of deeds and wills in court houses and libraries in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and what is now West Virginia allowed her to determine that Abraham Shepherd had deeded the cemetery to the “Episcopal
Methodist Church”, which was the name of the church at the time. Once ownership of the cemetery was established, the church voted to transfer the property to the Corporation of Shepherdstown.
Cheryl is a former board member of Historic Shepherdstown Commission. She is currently the Regent for the West Virginia National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She previously served as regent for the Pack Horse Ford DAR chapter in Shepherdstown and she has served as the National Chair for DAR Service for Veterans.
Our second award, Outstanding Service to The Historic Shepherdstown Commission, goes to Eleanor Finn. Eleanor has been an outstanding officer, board member, committee chair and member of HSC over the past decade. During this time, she has consistently provided leadership and shown tremendous dedication to a wide variety of key HSC projects and programs. While Eleanor’s contributions to HSC and the community are too numerous to fully detail, we’d like to highlight a few of them.
Eleanor is a former president of HSC and during that time, she exhibited strong management and leadership skills and presided over a prosperous period for the organization. She serves as Museum docent coordinator, recruiting volunteers to serve as docents at the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, coordinating schedules and communications on a weekly basis, and serving as a docent herself.
She spearheaded a major exhibit on the Brothers of Harmony gospel choir and the local African-American Red Sox baseball team. The exhibit was part of Eleanor’s strong effort to reach out to Shepherdstown’s African-American Community and to improve coverage of their important contributions to the history of Shepherdstown. She also presided over HSC’s commitment to improve and maintain the historic Shepherd Cemetery on New Street. She was instrumental in securing three grants for repair of stone walls and wrought iron railings at the cemetery, personally led numerous work parties there, and has also taken responsibility to ensure that the cemetery is well maintained.
Our final award, the Preservation of Historic Structures Award, goes to the 1950 cottage located at 207 N. Mill Street in Shepherdstown. The award is given in collaboration with the Shepherdstown Historic Landmarks Commission. In this case, the restoration meets the award criteria for “rehabilitation or making possible compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural guidelines.”
Most of the rehabilitation work was done by owner Jason Rolfe. He indicated on his permit application that he planned “to make the cottage historically appropriate and consistent with maintaining Shepherdstown’s historic appeal.” Using historically appropriate materials (Circa 1950), Jason replaced roof shingles, siding, windows, porch railings, repaired the porch foundation and added a new wood picket fence. The Landmarks Commission indicated that the work displayed excellent craftsmanship, and that the cottage was likely saved from total deterioration.