You've been hearing a lot from me lately, but there is one more piece of news that is important for those living near Shenandoah County, VA. It's also very dear to my heart!
The Shenandoah County Historical Society and I are holding a meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, August 21, 7:00 pm, at the Historic Shenandoah County Courthouse. (Use the side entrance on Court St.) This organizational meeting's purpose is to give and get information concerning the historic barns in our county, and sign up anyone interested in helping with our efforts.
Earlier this year, "The Barns of the Shenandoah Valley" won a nomination from Preservation Virginia as one of Virginia's Most Endangered Historic Places. This effort was spearheaded by John Adamson (SCHS board member and barn program manager) and me. The nomination validated our concerns regarding the importance and threatened status of our county's barns. This meeting is the next step along the path of championing our county's barns.
John will give a short presentation about the barns, and Sonja Ingram from Preservation Virginia will share with us her experience with their organization's Tobacco Barn Program after Virginia's tobacco barns received the same nomination. Within a period of about five years, their efforts raised awareness and involvement from the community, eventually attracting an on-going, corporate, philanthropic foundation which grants individual tobacco barn owners funds for restorative maintenance. My dream is that one day such philanthropy will occur here (in one form or another!). I will also have a couple paintings there, sales of which I contribute 20% to SCHS.
Barn owners need help maintaining their barns if we are still to have them a generation or two from now. The SCHS Barn Program is seeking to support barn owners in any way we can. A list of ways to help include barn maintenance education/information, resources for professional contractors/craftsmen, community involvement through public programs, and the encouragement of donations from interested parties. Already in progress is an extensive barn survey led by John Adamson. We are looking for more ideas and volunteers to help in this effort! So please come!
It is time to decide what we want to happen to Shenandoah County barns. They shouldn't go quietly into the night, at least not without our community's conscious consideration. This requires us to ask ourselves: do we want our historic barns to exist in Shenandoah County fifty years from now? For economic and civic reasons of community identity and pride, I believe the answer is YES. Shenandoah County should remain a special place, as it is today. In my opinion, a historic barn that has survived 150 years can and should have a chance to remain standing for 100 more. Hopefully though our efforts, Shenandoah County will enjoy at least a portion of our beautiful, majestic barns, that speak clearly of our heritage, generations from now.
Hope to see you tomorrow!
PS. Click here to read more about my involvement with our historic barns and how I got interested in them.