By Jody Brumage
The small communities of Kearneysville and Leetown in Jefferson County, West Virginia have been a center of scientific research for over sixty years. One of the laboratories centered in the area is the Appalachian Fruit Research Station, a part of the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Opened in 1979, the laboratory was the result of over fifteen years of efforts to secure land, funding, and a mandate for the institution.
Image to the Right: Senator Byrd's 1963 proposal for the scope of research to be conducted at the Fruit Research Station.
By Jody Brumage
On the morning of January 26, 1978, after returning to Washington D.C. after a tour of flood-ravaged towns in the Tug Fork Valley, Senator Byrd’s office sent a telegram to state agencies notifying them that President Carter had been briefed on the disaster and that assistance was being sought immediately. This message was less than reassuring to its recipients who had heard similar promises frequently over the past several years. The January 1978 flood was the tenth major disaster to impact the Tug Fork region in a decade. The previous year, the worst of these floods, with waters rising in excess of 56 feet, struck the valley in April. For residents in the Tug Fork, promises of “immediate action” were appreciated, but permanent flood control infrastructure in the valley was greatly needed.
Welcome to the Byrd Center Blog! We share content here including research from our archival collections, articles from our director, and information on upcoming events.