CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History will continue its lecture series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 23. Dr. Billy Joe Peyton will present “Investigating Fort Scammon: Charleston’s Forgotten Citadel” at the Culture Center in the Museum Education Media Room. The lecture series is free and open to the public.
Fort Scammon, an 1863 Civil War fortification that once guarded the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers, is located high atop Fort Hill in Charleston, W.Va. Named in honor of Union Brigadier Gen. Eliakim P. Scammon, the fort was built by Ohio troops commanded by future U.S. President Col. Rutherford B. Hayes. Junior officer William McKinley, another future president, served in Hayes’ brigade.
This summer, students at West Virginia State University are investigating the fort site as part of an archaeology field school coordinated by historians Peyton and Dr. Michael Workman, and led by archaeologist Dr. Stephen McBride. The field study will examine the construction of the fort and its features, which once included a powder magazine and 12 cannon emplacements, in an effort to accurately interpret the site for future generations.
Fort Scammon was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Peyton is a professor of history in the College of Business & Social Sciences at West Virginia State University and co-director of the Glenwood Center for Scholarship in the Humanities. He began his 30-year public history career in the 1980s at Prickett’s Fort State Park, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the National Park Service and the Kaymoor Coal Mine site. He later worked as associate director of the Institute for the History of Technology & Industrial Archaeology at WVU, cultural resource specialist at a historical architecture firm and a high school history teacher.
The National Historic Preservation Act has allowed historic resources to be recognized through the National Register of Historic Places and preserved through the survey and planning and development grant programs as well as historic rehabilitation tax credits.
Upcoming lectures include Danielle LaPresta Parker and Michael Gioulis presenting “Looking Back and Toward the Future: Preservation Alliance of West Virginia” on July 21, and Matthew Webster presenting “Preservation and Restoration with Large and Small Budgets” on October 6.
For more information about the lecture series, contact John Adamik, education and planning coordinator for the SHPO, at (304) 558-0240.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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