I’ve enjoyed following and participating in the WV Tag-O-Rama, and finding interesting locations led me to this site about the West Virginia Historical Marker Program. Here is a brief background of the Historical Marker Program as noted on their website:
It was implemented in 1937, during the Great Depression, to encourage tourism. The West Virginia Commission on Historic and Scenic Markers worked with the State Road Commission, Works Progress Administration, and Federal Emergency Relief Administration to place 440 markers during the first year alone. After World War II, markers were placed at the sites of most state-run facilities and schools. The West Virginia Historic Commission took over the program in 1963. Since the late 1960s, the program has been managed by the West Virginia State Archives, which is today part of the West Virginia Division of Culture & History.
The State Archives maintains files on each of the markers. Unfortunately, many of these files are outdated because markers have been moved and road names have been changed. Approximately 1,000 markers have been placed in West Virginia. However, the recent survey indicates nearly 30% are no longer standing and a majority of the remaining markers are in dire need of repair.There is no state funding to repair or replace markers. Some historical societies and civic groups assume the cost for refurbishing markers in their counties. Missing or damaged markers should be reported to the State Archives.
My goal in this thread is to gather photos and a brief footnote on all of the remaining markers. There should be about 700+ of them out there. If you visit the WV Historical Markers website http://www.wvculture.org/history/markers.html you can find lists of markers in each county. (See Markers Database page)
This is an opportunity for all riders to contribute to the awareness of our WV History (and to make up for sleeping through history class like I did - sorry, Mr. Poling!), and it’s just a good excuse to get out there and ride. I believe every county has at least a few markers, so nobody should feel left out.
A few simple guidelines, please:
1) Only photos of the rectangular white metal signs with the state insignia on the top. You know the ones I’m talking about. (See example below) Please, no funny/cute signs or ads. The wooden sign in the parking lot of Spruce Knob (“Highest Point in WV”) is a nice sign, but it’s not a Historical Marker. Sorry. If you want to start a separate thread for those, please feel free to do so. Thanks!
2) Please post a close-up photo of the sign sized large enough to read – I usually post 640X480 and that seems to work. Also, step back and take a photo or two of the general area and the specific attraction (if applicable). Include your bike in the area photo if you would like. Three to five photos should generally be the limit, unless there are multiple parts of the attraction. It would help to give general directions to the sign if others would like to visit it.
3) Brush off your writing skills and give us a 50-100 word essay on what the site meant to you. Perhaps you visited here as a kid, or it had some sort of special meaning, or you can elaborate on the history of the site beyond the writing on the marker.
4) File photos are OK, as long as you took them (no copying from other websites)
5) If you find that a marker is missing or moved, please make a note of it so others will know. Many are already listed as MIA on the WV website.
6) Keep it clean and keep it polite. There are some North/South/Slavery history markers that could easily start arguments. Keep any arguments/disagreements/politics offline on Personal Messages. We’re not here to judge the actions of our ancestors, just to preserve a bit of history. Perhaps we can do a small part to assist the Dept of Archives and History to maintain these signs and keep a bit of WV history alive. Enough talk – now let’s get riding!!
To see what Markers have been posted, please click on the link below. As I find time, I will try to keep the list updated as much as possible.
LINK TO SPREADSHEET WITH LISTS BY COUNTY / POST # / RIDER
(Last updated - 15 Sept 2010 thru Post #1273)
TOTAL MARKERS TAGGED - Appx 825 (Accounts for duplicate County-Line markers)
MARKERS STILL AVAILABLE - Appx 20