VALLEY BEND, W.Va.—At the heart of an experimental community established during the New Deal in West Virginia, the rescued Homestead Community Center in the scenic Tygart Valley is in need of financial assistance to help repair restroom facilities.
Though it remains an endangered historic property, designated as such by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, the former school building completed in 1939 is considered a success story, thanks to the Tygart Valley Homestead Association and the Randolph County Board of Education.
"It's really an amazing story in every way," said Danielle Parker, executive director of the Preservation Alliance, a statewide non-profit that helps coordinate the rescue of designated historic properties.
"The school is an amazing landmark, but the school board could no longer afford to keep it open, so the homestead association was able to step in as a tenant and begin to work on maintenance and programming."
Soon after the association acquired the building, the roof was destroyed in a freak windstorm, Parker said, and that quickly depleted funds for other maintenance projects.
The association has also completed a major electrical upgrade, but its restroom facilities now require substantial improvements to continue to serve as a community center.
The center's gym and classrooms are now available for rent for events, and an "open-gym" program has been initiated on Saturdays for local youth.
The association has also been fundraising through various events and hopes to launch a farmers market and flea market, though much depends on having good public restroom facilities.
The homestead project at Dailey was the third and largest established in West Virginia during the New Deal under the supervision of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
- See information on the Tygart Valley Homesteads Historic District.
The program resettled residents of the impoverished coal mining regions in agricultural areas where they might sustain themselves through agriculture and vocational retraining.