WHEELING, W.Va. – The State Historic Preservation Office of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History (WVDACH) is proud to announce the 2019 Our Legacy, Our Future Awards. The presentation of these awards will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday Oct. 13, 2019, at West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling. The event is free and open to the public.

These awards were inaugurated on the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and celebrate the people of West Virginia who have contributed to historic preservation efforts and the places throughout the state that give life to our history.

“We are proud to recognize the extraordinary commitment of our recipients and the invaluable significance of our historic resources,” shares WVDACH Curator Randall Reid-Smith.

Dr. Robert S. Conte will receive The Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting Award, for exemplary service to historic preservation. Dr. Conte has served as the resident historian of the Greenbrier since 1978, and in that time has shared with the public and his colleagues a wealth of knowledge about the Greenbrier and the history of southern West Virginia.

Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. will receive the Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting Award for Legislative Leadership in Historic Preservation. During recent efforts to eliminate the federal historic preservation tax credit, Congressman McKinley’s efforts were instrumental in saving this program. He is a lifetime advocate for historic preservation. His former company, McKinley and Associates, was responsible for the successful adaptive reuse of historic buildings throughout Wheeling including the YMCA of Wheeling, the Wagner Building, the Wheeling Public Library, the McClure House and several buildings on Wheeling Island.

Margaret Brennan of Wheeling, Ohio County, will receive the award for outstanding individual service to historic preservation. A former history teacher at Wheeling’s Central Catholic High School, Brennan shares her passion for history through her research, writing and public presentations. She has served as the president of the Wheeling Area Historical Society. Most recently, Margaret oversaw fundraising efforts to move the Soldiers and Sailors Monument from Wheeling Park to West Virginia Independence Hall. 

Happy Retreat in Charles Town, Jefferson County, will receive the award for outstanding individual resource. Ongoing restoration of the house and its 18th-century outbuildings will develop the property as a center for history, heritage tourism, scholarship, and culture. The Friends of Happy Retreat work with many organizations to fulfill their ongoing mission to develop the property.

The City of Wheeling, Ohio County, will be recognized for outstanding service by an organization to historic preservation. The City has renewed its commitment to downtown Wheeling with the recent purchase of several historic buildings. The City has assisted preservation efforts of local property owners through funding of code-related requirements. The Wheeling Historic Landmark Commission has completed the resurvey of the downtown National Register-listed Wheeling Historic District in an effort to update the 1978 nomination and recently oversaw the survey and listing of the South Wheeling Historic District.

Lewisburg Historic District, Greenbrier County, will be recognized for outstanding work in a historic district. The Lewisburg Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, making it one of the earliest downtowns to be recognized in this manner in West Virginia. The city’s Historic Landmark Commission has employed design review for over 30 years ensuring that the enduring historic character of the district is preserved.

For more information about the Our Legacy, Our Future Awards, Contact Susan Pierce, director the SHPO, at (304) 558-0240 or

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