The home of Virgil Lewis, West Virginia's first official state historian, was located in Mason, WV. Deterioration and the high cost of rehabilitation (over $250,000) made demolition the most feasible option. Wood and brick has been saved from the building to go into the Virgil Lewis Memorial Reading Park which will be placed on the lot next to the town library. Plans include a shelter, a trellis, and several benches to facilitate the library's reading hour. Dedicated July 10, 2015.
Bullets and Steel Lecture Series at 2015 Putnam County Civil War Days
Writing a West Virginia Humanities Grant on behalf of the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Commission, AmeriCorps VISTA Jim Flook assisted park director Scott Williamson in planning the first lecture series to accompany the 18th Annual Putnam County Civil War Days. Jim recruited Terry Lowry to speak about the Battle of Scary Creek (left), Wayne Motts of the National Civil War Museum to share a history of the Civil War through the museum's objects (left-center), Steve Cunningham to speak about the 7th WV Cavalry (right-center), and Greg Carroll to talk about the role of slavery in the Civil War and West Virginia (right).
In honor of Arbor Day, Toyota provided a volunteer labor to clean up the Pioneer Cemetery in Point Pleasant. The group painted the kiosk, planted flower beds, retired an old U.S. flag, painted the flag staff, and raised a new U.S. flag with the help of the Winfield VFW.
Before Storm Damage
Present Work - Finish Painting
2012 Storm Cleanup
As a joint project with the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Commission, aimed at creating a gathering place for families along WV Route 62, picnic shelters were rebuilt and renovated. Under the direction of the Rivers to Ridges, AmeriCorps volunteers
provided labor that included building picnic tables and installing
playground equipment; and this park that serves various local communities has become an excellent rest stop along the scenic byway. In 2010, our organization also supervised the installation of a sub-surface drainage system that has expanded park usage during times of wet weather. Future plans include installing a restroom facility and landscaping an area that contains historic signage.
After extensive damage to the park following a severe thunderstorm in June 2012, Rivers to Ridges has begun an effort to clean up and rehabilitate the park grounds. Several work days in October 2012 were held, during which debris from the storm was removed and landscaping changes were initiated at the park entrance.
Esther and Norman Walter Nature Area Nature Trail
Mason and Putnam County Quilt Trails
Originating in Mason County, a “quilt trail” has now expanded into Putnam County. These 8-foot by 8-foot painted pieces of art can be seen mounted on barns and other outbuildings and posts, as one drives along the Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail. The Quilt Trail also includes two Mail Pouch Tobacco barns: one, near the Mary Ingles Loop of the byway on old US Route 35; the other, on WV Route 62 in Mason County. The Mason and Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureaus provide internet information and printed brochures to help travelers find individual quilt squares.
We are working on mapping mountain biking and hiking trails at the Putnam County Park in Eleanor, WV. In conjunction, we plan to create a map of road cycling routes in both Mason and Putnam Counties. Know of a good hiking path or cycling route? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
Rivers to Ridges completed a project giving a new facelift to the gazebo at the Buffalo Town Park. The gazebo was painted and repaired in time for the annual Buffalo Independence Day celebration, which is one of the largest in Putnam County. AmeriCorps VISTA members, Mark Simonin and Joseph Phillips and project coordinator Lowell Wilks carried out the work. They also received assistance from the Putnam County Day Reporting program.
Winfield Locks and Dam Park
Rivers to Ridges has provided research, planning and design assistance
to construct a kiosk at the Winfield Locks and Dam fisherman access
area. Within the kiosk, signage interprets the history of navigation along the Kanawha River. The panels elevation allows for views of the Kanawha River, and of the working locks.
From 1984 to 2010, the library for the Town of Buffalo consisted of a “temporary” trailer-like structure. With such limited space, the library offered little more than a place to check out books, and those from a diminished supply. The Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail offered technical assistance to construct a new brick facility that offers larger storage space, and will serve for many decades to come.
Buffalo, WV, Route 62 Welcome Center
The abandoned Buffalo Bank, circa 1930 and located in the Buffalo Historic Square, was renovated to become the Rivers to Ridges “mid-way” information center for the scenic byway. Though our organization coordinated all facets of the renovation including planning, design and construction supervision; the West Virginia Air National Guard and AmeriCorps teams provided volunteer labor during the 18 month project. The center was dedicated in 2008.
Buffalo Presbyterian Church Bell Tower
The Buffalo Presbyterian Church was built in 1857 and is located in what is now the Buffalo Historic Square. It along with the Buffalo Academy and Methodist Church are on the national register of historic places. In 2011 and early 2012, the Rivers to Ridges lead an effort to renovate the bell tower of the church. This included replacing the damaged lumber, including all of the louvers, painting the entire structure, installing screens to keep birds out of the bell tower and repairing and painting the roof. Partners in this endeavor included the Putnam County Career and Technical Center construction classes and Putnam County Day Reporting members.
Fort Randolph Foot Bridges
Bridge in use during reenactment
Located in Point Pleasant’s Krodel Park, Fort Randolph is a replica of the original fort, which was constructed in the late 1700’s. The fort is open to the public for tours and is home to various activities during the year. An open area outside the fort is utilized by “settlers” especially during the annual Seige of Fort Randolph which is held in May. In order to have better access to the fort and to the settlers’ area, the Rivers to Ridges AmeriCorps VISTA infrastructure planner coordinated construction of a small foot bridge in the spring of 2012. In order to complete the task, our organization received assistance from an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team.
West Virginia State Farm Museum
Vacant building before demolition
While generally involved in construction, there are times Rivers to Ridges is called upon to do clean-up or demolition. In support of the West Virginia State Farm Museum, our staff facilitated the removal of one of the vacant buildings at the museum. Utilizing plans developed by the Rivers to Ridges AmeriCorps VISTA infrastructure planner the site will be constructed to an outdoor park.