Historic Shepherdstown Speaker Series Presentation, Awards Scheduled

May is Historic Preservation Month, and the first Historic Shepherdstown Commission Speaker Series presentation and annual Historic Preservation Awards ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 17 at the beautifully renovated Opera House on German Street in downtown Shepherdstown.

Author Kevin Pawlak, a Shepherd University graduate and local history expert, will discuss the recently released book “John Brown’s Raid: Harpers Ferry and the Coming of the Civil War, October 16-18, 1859”, which he co-authored with Jon-Erik Gilot.

Immediately preceding Pawlak’s talk, Historic Shepherdstown Commission will present the 2023 Historic Preservation Awards to this year’s recipients. The Preservation of Historic Properties award will be given to Steve and Harriet Pearson, for the renovation and rehabilitation of the Shepherdstown Opera House

The Preservation of Historic Legacies (James C. Price) Award is going to Jim Surkamp, for his years of actively promoting and preserving the local history, sharing his knowledge of historically significant families, and creating numerous videos about historic events in Shepherdstown

The Service to Historic Shepherdstown Commission will be given to two important long-time HSC volunteers, A. Jerry Bucey and Nick Blanton. Bucey is receiving the award for his dedicated service on the Board of Directors and for his work on the Executive Committee, as co-chair and member of the Building Committee, and as chair of the Cemetery Committee. Blanton served one term on the HSC board, and since then has been a dedicated volunteer member of the Building Committee and the Museum Committee. He has also been the liaison with the Rumseian Society and has been the lead volunteer with the James Rumsey Boathouse and replica boat, frequently volunteering to tell the James Rumsey story during student field trips.

The May 17 presentation is the first of four Speaker Series planned for 2023. All of the events are free and open to the public. The additional talks are:

  • June 21 at the Byrd Center Auditorium on the Shepherd University campus: Lori Wysong, director of the Jefferson County Museum, will make a presentation on Prohibition in Jefferson County, including temperance, bootlegging, and present-day legacies of Prohibition. Wysong’s presentation will tie into a new exhibit on Prohibition, which opened at the Jefferson County Museum in early May.
  • September 6 at the Byrd Center Auditorium: Dr. Ben Bankhurst, who holds the Ray and Madeline Johnston Chair in American History at Shepherd University, will speak on Loyalism in the Lower Valley during the American Revolution. Bankhurst is also the Co-Director of the Maryland Loyalism Project, a public archive and database documenting the experiences of Chesapeake Loyalists in the Era of the American Revolution. This event also serves as our HSC Annual Membership Meeting.
  • October 18 at the Byrd Center Auditorium: Important Architectural Features of the Shepherdstown Historic District, which will be presented in partnership with the Shepherdstown Historic Landmarks Commission.

Questions regarding the Speaker Series may be directed to the Historic Shepherdstown office by calling 304-876-0910 or emailing [email protected].