Pocahontas Preservation Website Is A Great Source Of County History
Marlinton, WV – Rebecca Clayton served as the Historic Preservation Officer for the first two years of a project designed to catalog the rich history of Pocahontas County. With a foundation firmly in place, BJ Sharp-Gudmundsson took over in 2010 to continue her work. At the Pocahontas County Commission meeting Tuesday, Gudmundsson and Gail Hyre showed off a new website that allows access to that history. Hyre says they took their time with the project.
“We started off kind of slowly” says Hyre. “We did that purposefully because we knew that no one had done some of the things that we were looking at doing. We also realized quickly that eventually we were going to be setting the bar for how other people in the state do things.”
Hyre says when they started this project, they didn’t anticipate just how much historical documentation they would find once they started researching. Gudmundsson, an award winning film maker, says this is a dream job for her. She says some new equipment is making their task much easier.
“I think the one we’re most excited about right now is the purchase of the hand held scanners” says Gudmundsson. “We’ve wanted to work with the libraries and took scanners and equipment in each of the branches so that as we train people, we got them excited to bring in their documents and photographs to get them scanned, they can just go to the local library and do that.”
They also purchased computers and software to process all those documents. The result is the website www.pocahontaspreservation.org, where you’ll find historic photographs and even audio files from WVMR interviews. Gudmundsson explains how the documents are acquired for the site.
“We have a form that’s been developed called the Deed of Gifts” says Gudmundsson. “So when people allow us to scan images or give us their image files to put in the archive, they will have an itemized listing of all of those items, and they will sign a Deed of Gift, which grants us total rights to all of those images. It doesn’t mean we own their material but it gives us the right to put it on the internet [or] to make a print.”
Gudmundsson says Pocahontas County is the only county in West Virginia that now has a digital library of historic documents. And she says they are continuing to gather more. In fact, she hopes to add another collection soon that contains documents dating back to a former Governor of Virginia and future President of the United States.
In other business, the Commissioners approved a request to appoint Stella Callison to the Farmland Protection Board. However they took no action on a request to add FPB administrative assistant Kristin Kinnison to the County Commission payroll.
The Commission also set the dates for Board of Equalization meetings. These meetings, for the purpose of any resident who wants to discuss their county assessment, are scheduled for Feb 1st, 7th, 11th and 17th at 9am. All meeting are at the County Courthouse in Marlinton.