SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — It is said to be “the oldest town in West Virginia,” and this November, Shepherdstown residents will launch a yearlong celebration of the 250th anniversary of their town’s founding on Dec. 23, 1762.
That was 30 years after town father Thomas Shepherd received a 222-acre grant along the south side of the Potomac River where a “substantial stream,” now called Town Run, entered the Potomac. Twenty years earlier, the first Europeans moved into the area.
The organizing committee unveiled initial plans for the celebration at a press conference recently at the Bavarian Inn.
Also unveiled was the official anniversary logo designed by Jeff Roth of Charles Town, W.Va., a graphic artist and 1975 graduate of Shepherd College, now Shepherd University.
Roth won $500 for his design, in which large red letters curve over the front wall of the iconic, 211-year-old Shepherdstown Public Library building to announce the town’s 250th anniversary.
Roth’s design won out over four other competitors. He said he wanted something simple and telling.
“Everybody knows and loves the library,” he said. He used its familiarity to “create an image that someone could recognize at a glance.”
The anniversary theme, said Meredith Wait, a local business owner and head of the anniversary celebration, is “Remember, Celebrate and Imagine.”
The mission statement of the yearlong event is “to gratefully acknowledge the people, groups and moments that have helped form, inspire and enrich Shepherdstown’s history and the community, past, present and future.”
Planning for the event began in September with a call for volunteers to serve on the organization committee. It now has 17 members, plus a cadre of more than 60 volunteers, Wait said.
“We spent the first six months setting up the structure,” she said.
The operating committees are community outreach and coordination, marketing and media relations, signature events and legacy, budget and fundraising, and steering.
Highlights of the yearlong celebration will be a community quilt depicting events and history, plus the signatures of current residents. It will hang in the new Town Hall building.
At least one commemorative book will be written, local school students will write essays and make drawings about life in Shepherdstown, and some of the marchers in a celebration-ending parade in December 2012 will be descendants of the town’s founders.
Preliminary plans also call for the installation of a town water fountain, Wait said.