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Historic commission seeks funds

April 10, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission wants more money from the county commissioners to restore two historic sites and to teach archaeology to members of the Jefferson County Boys and Girls Club this summer

Landmarks commission members said Thursday they felt the $500 the county commissioners budgeted for the group was insultingly low. The Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission had requested $5,000 from the county commissioners.

"It's like leaving a nickel tip at a restaurant," said William Theriault, chairman of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission.

Theriault said the group is involved in more projects than ever, from the restoration of the Peter Burr House, the oldest wood frame structure in West Virginia, to listing the Shannondale Springs Resort on the National Register of Historic Sites.

This summer, volunteers from the historic landmarks commission will be working with the Boys and Girls Club to train about 20 youngsters on how to do archaeological work, Theriault said.

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For three weeks, the youngsters will do a "surface survey" for any archaeological finds at the Peter Burr House.

They also will spend three weeks doing an actual archaeological dig, supervised by a professional archaeologist, Theriault said.

The $500 budget for the landmarks commission is part of a $6.7 million total budget for the county.

"To private groups and state agencies, it says Jefferson County does not care about historic preservation," Theriault said.

Walter Stowell, mayor of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and a member of the historic landmarks commission, said tourism is now the state's main source of revenue and that historic sites in the county will help draw tourists.

County Commissioner James K. Ruland said that the amount of money budgeted doesn't mean the county commissioners don't appreciate the work done by the volunteer group.

The county commissioners tabled a motion to provide the group with the requested $5,000 until the commissioners can determine where they will find the money.

The county commissioners did waive $500 in construction permit fees required by the planning department for restoration work at the Peter Burr House.

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