Historic Shepherdstown newsletter – December 2022

Dear Members and Supporters of Historic Shepherdstown,

Season’s Greetings! As we head toward the start of 2023, we at Historic Shepherdstown Commission and Museum want to thank all of you for your financial and volunteer support this past year. We want to share just a few highlights of what you’ve helped us accomplish since our last newsletter.

Recognition of Clarence E. CEM Martin III

At the holiday party in December, Historic Shepherdstown recognized former State Del. CEM Martin, who was instrumental in helping to save the historic Entler Hotel complex from destruction. In 1978, CEM represented both Jefferson and Berkeley Counties in the state legislature. Ret. Gen. William Van Ryzin approached him on behalf of town residents, raising concerns about plans by Shepherd College to raze what was then known as Rumsey Hall and replace it with a parking lot. Working with other legislators from the area, CEM introduced the bill that ultimately resulted in the state Board of Regents selling the Entler complex to the corporation of Shepherdstown for $1. Residents of the town renovated the building and Historic Shepherdstown Commission accepted the responsibility to maintain it on behalf of the town. The Museum opened in 1983, and we plan to celebrate its 40th anniversary during 2023. A copy of the bill hangs in the museum beside some before-and-after pictures of the renovations.

After leaving the legislature, CEM worked with Martin & Seibert in Martinsburg for many years. More recently, he has been involved in initiatives to stop human trafficking, has served as a Vatican liaison, and is a fellow of the Catholic University Institute of Policy Research. He has received a number of honors and awards, including ones from both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, an honorary doctorate from Shepherd University, and a Distinguished West Virginian Award, the highest civilian honor awarded by the governor.

CEM and his family – his wife Judy and his daughters McKenna Martin and Morgan Martin Boyer – attended the reception. HSC presented CEM with a plaque, which read:

Presented to Clarence E. CEM Martin III in recognition of your important role in saving the Historic Entler Hotel, and it was signed Historic Shepherdstown Commission and dated December 9, 2022.

In his remarks, CEM made it a point to thank everyone involved in Historic Shepherdstown for their efforts through the years to ensure that the history represented by the museum and the other buildings in the complex has remained accessible to both local residents and tourists. Thank you, CEM Martin!

Tour of Historic Houses of Worship

HSC is once again co-sponsoring the Tour of Historic Houses of Worship from 4-7 p.m. on the day after Christmas, Dec. 26. Seven churches, the War Memorial Building, the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, and the Shepherdstown Opera House will all be open to visitors. The best place to pick up brochures for the self-guided walking tour is the War Memorial Building, although a limited number of brochures will be available at the other locations on the tour. To mark the beginning of the event, participating local churches will ring their bells at 4 p.m. The tour is a wonderful way to introduce out-of-town visitors to Shepherdstown.

Museum update

We welcomed more than 1,100 visitors to the Historic Shepherdstown Museum this year and hosted field trips from Shepherdstown Elementary School, the Shepherdstown Day Care Center, and Shepherd University. We ran ghost tours during Boofest, gave out candy during the town’s Halloween celebration, and entertained a special visitor – Santa Claus – after the annual Christmas parade.

As we’ve noted before, a new exhibit opened in May, Educational Opportunities for Black Jefferson County Residents Before and After Brown v. Board of Education. We received a $1,500 mini-grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council to help fund that exhibit.

We now have a second new exhibit in place. We received a $7,000 grant from Americana Corner, which enabled us to get our S. Howell Brown 1852 Map of Jefferson County Virginia with Farm Limits restored. That map is the centerpiece for “Great Dreams: Maps of Shepherdstown and Jefferson County from the 17th through the 21st Centuries.” The Jefferson County Historical Society donated a copy of S. Howell Brown’s 1883 Map of Jefferson County West Virginia with Farm Limits to the museum in August. It is being restored and will become part of the new exhibit in the spring. The grand opening of the map exhibit will be held during our Spring Opening Reception in April.

Holiday ornaments still available

This year’s holiday ornament, featuring the James Rumsey Steamboat, is still available for purchase via our website. Previous years’ ornaments are also available. Because we mail them, we would expect that any ornaments ordered at this point would arrive after Christmas.

Membership update

Our annual membership drive will begin at the end of January. We will be mailing our appeal letters, and we hope you will continue to support our efforts to tell the story of Shepherdstown and the surrounding area.

Have a wonderful holiday season. We are looking forward to seeing you in 2023 as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Historic Shepherdstown Museum.

Best wishes,

Donna M. Bertazzoni
President, Historic Shepherdstown Board of Directors