May is Historic Preservation Month, a celebration of the role historic places play in our communities, economy, and culture. Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966, providing a framework and incentives to preserve historic buildings and sites, such as the National Register of Historic Places and State Historic Preservation Offices. Preservation Month was created in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Research institutions, state and local historical societies, civic organizations, and other groups mark the month by promoting the benefits historic preservation projects can bring to their communities.
Senator Byrd believed in the benefits historic preservation could bring to West Virginia's economy and culture. Throughout his career, he worked to increase support for existing historic preservation sites and worked to gain recognition for new ones. These projects included the expansion of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in the state's eastern panhandle and the creation of the New River Gorge National River which led to the preservation of the town of Thurmond in Fayette County. One of Senator Byrd's later preservation projects was the creation of the Wheeling National Heritage Area in West Virginia's northern panhandle.
These large scale projects that expanded heritage and recreational tourism across West Virginia. However, Senator Byrd's support of historic preservation reached local communities as well. In the spirit of Preservation Month, we invite you to explore some of Senator Byrd’s historic preservation projects in West Virginia through blogs that we’ve written over the past few years. Click on any of the images below to learn more about the individual projects featured.
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.