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Historic Jefferson County barns featured for real, on canvas

October 03, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

RANSON, W.Va. - If seeing the six barns being featured in the upcoming Barn Tour and Harvest Fair Weekend is not enough, Katherine Cimaglio has a deal for you.

Cimaglio, a longtime artist in Jefferson County, has created six acrylic paintings of the barns to raise money for historic preservation in the county.

The paintings are selling for $850 apiece, and 25 percent of the sales will go to the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, the organization that is sponsoring the barn tour.

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There has been a growing effort to promote Jefferson County's agricultural heritage and this past spring, a farm tour was held in the county.

On Oct. 12 and 13, the attention turns to some of the county's historic barns.

The barns found in the county represent a variety of styles that can be found in the Shenandoah Valley, said Bill Theriault, chairman of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission.

The buildings reflect influences from Pennsylvania as well as English-style barns, which were prevalent in southern plantations, said Theriault.

They also tell unique stories, like the barn that George Bowers built in 1906 on Sulphur Springs Road.

Bowers used to own a department store in Birmingham, Ala., and frequently traveled through the area on business, Theriault said.

Bowers eventually decided to build a summer home in Jefferson County, and because he liked to have barn dances, the barn he built on the property had a wide-open room on the second floor just for that purpose, Theriault said.

Cimaglio's painting of the Bowers barn shows the three distinctive cupolas that adorn its roof.

When Cimaglio heard about the plans for the barn tour, she spoke to members of the historic landmarks commission about the idea of creating portraits of the structures as a fund-raising effort for the organization.

The commission liked the idea, Cimaglio said.

Cimaglio first took photographs and did sketches of the Altona, Blakely, Bowers, White House, Elmwood and Shotwell barns.

Cimaglio, a former Jefferson County magistrate, said it was a memorable experience. The farm animals at the barns followed her around and seemed to be amused by her presence, Cimaglio said.

At the Bowers barn, she had to dodge an aggressive dog that nipped her in the heel.

"It's just the experience you get when you go out and roam around," said Cimaglio.

Cimaglio's paintings will be shown Friday between 7 and 9 p.m. at the newly renovated C. Broadway Rouss Hall beside the Jefferson County Courthouse on George Street.

The First Charles Town Group renovated the building, which Charles Town City Council members want to use for a visitors center.

Cimaglio's art show will be the first event in the new building.

Any of the paintings not sold at the show will be taken to the historic Peter Burr house along W.Va. 9 west of Charles Town during the barn tour, Cimaglio said.

Tickets for the barn tour are $15 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. Tickets can be purchased at seven area businesses or at the barns the days of the tour, Theriault said.

For more information, call Theriault at 304-876-3321.

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