West Virginia preservationists honored at 2023 awards ceremony

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West Virginia preservationists honored at 2023 awards ceremony
Steve & Harriet Pearson are being recognized for their work on the Shepherdstown Opera House, painted blue. (Photo courtesy the W.Va. Independent Observer)

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — The is honoring its 2023 Historic Preservation Awards recipients Saturday at its annual awards banquet at the Clingman Center for Community Engagement, according to executive director Danielle Parker.

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Each year, the organization solicits public nominations and votes on award winners representing the most outstanding and exemplary historic preservation projects around the Mountain State. Preservationists, supporters, and friends will gather with the alliance’s staff and board of directors to celebrate the 2023 award winners.


Heritage Tourism Award

Steve & Harriet Pearson, Shepherdstown, for the Shepherdstown Opera House

The Shepherdstown Opera House has undergone numerous modifications in its 113-year history. A flood from burst pipes after the new owners purchased the building uncovered severe structural flaws. Despite all that, the end result after significant investment and determination by Steve and Harriet Pearson is an intimate Opera House born out of the golden age of Opera Houses in the US but with a technologically advanced 21st-century theater infrastructure. The programming the Pearsons have arranged for the first year of the opera house's renewal will enhance Shepherdstown's standing as a heritage destination in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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Community Preservation Award

Morgantown Historic Landmarks Commission and Main Street Morgantown

The Morgantown Historic Landmarks Commission and Main Street Morgantown are being recognized for their effective government-public partnership to promote historic preservation in Morgantown’s historic downtown and Wharf districts. Their efforts invoked pride in these commercial arts districts and created the environment that made the development of South High Street possible. Notable historic preservation projects include converting the historic post office into arts and city museums, the Hotel Morgan preservation occurring twice in recent decades, and downtown building adaptations for modern purposes, including the Iron Horse Tavern, Mills Group Architecture firm, and many more.


Best Use of Historic Tax Credits Award

Lloyd & Denise Scalph, Fayetteville, for Preserving & Repurposing the Old Esso Station

The Old Esso Station tells the story of the mid-20th century and has a unique architectural style for the Downtown Fayetteville National Historic District. Lloyd and Denise Scalph are being recognized for their efforts in preserving this once-endangered historic property and giving it new life for visitors and residents to enjoy as an outpost for white water rafting.

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Volunteer Award

Randy Weaver, Arthurdale

Randy Weaver is a profoundly dedicated volunteer to Arthurdale Heritage Inc. and the preservation of Arthurdale, the nation’s first New Deal Homestead. Weaver began volunteering in the mid-1980s. For almost forty years, he has donated his time, talents, and resources to preserving more than 20 historic structures and their stories.


Historic Landscape Restoration Award

Sharon Workman, Bramwell, for Oak Hill Cemetery

Sharon Workman is being recognized for her dedication to preserving the historic Oak Hill Cemetery in Bramwell. For over 15 years, Workman has volunteered countless hours maintaining the historic cemetery, the final resting place for many Bramwell residents dating back to the 1880s. She has also spearheaded cemetery preservation projects with the Girl Scouts, local volunteers, and AmeriCorps. She is a member of the Historic Oak Hill Cemetery Association, organized in the 1990s to maintain abandoned cemeteries of their ancestors.

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Archaeology Award

Summers County Historic Landmarks Commission for its Frontier Forts project

The Summers County Historic Landmarks Commission is a government agency charged with preserving Summers County’s unique cultural resources. They are being recognized for their recent achievements in completing archaeological projects to preserve West Virginia colonial history by conducting archaeological research at frontier forts in Summers County, including Cooks Fort and Thompson’s Fort. The group also preserves the Colonel James Graham House, which informs our understanding of how early settlers interacted with Native groups.


AmeriCorps Award

Dr. Kathleen Thompson, Fairmont

Dr. Kathleen Thompson, also known as "Katie," served with Preserve W.Va. AmeriCorps for three consecutive terms—two years with the Clio Foundation and one year with the West Virginia Association of Museums and Arthurdale Heritage Inc. During her outstanding national service in the Alliance’s program, Thompson developed highly-accessible educational resources, preserved numerous historic cemeteries, and organized hundreds of volunteers for a civic service project to make blankets for foster children.

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Most Significant Save of an Endangered Property Award

Committee for the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion Restoration, Alderson

The Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion, located in Blue Sulphur Springs near Alderson, was listed as an Endangered Property by the Alliance in 2013 at the request of the Greenbrier Historical Society. Rebecca Lineberry donated the structure and surrounding property to the society during March of that year leading to the formation of the society “Friends of the Blue” committee, which led the restoration.


Rodney Collins Preservation Achievement Award

Clifford Gillilan, Lewisburg

Clifford Gillilan has been a significant force for decades as the contractor in charge of restoring and maintaining many of the earliest homes in the Lewisburg area, including the historic Renick House, Lewisburg Hotel, and the Old Stone Church, where he oversaw the roof replacement and significant updates to the adjacent education building. Clifford also saw that every inch of the historic Montwell home, a Jefferson Street landmark in Lewisburg, was touched lovingly and skillfully in the two-year project. Thanks to Clifford, Oak Terrace and Merry Hill, two well-known homes of the early 20th century, have also been carefully preserved. Without knowledgeable, ambitious, skilled artisans like Clifford, many of Lewisburg’s unique cultural resources may not have been preserved.

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Michael Gioulis Downtown Preservation Award

Charles Town Now, Charles Town

Charles Town is an accredited national Main Street community led by Liz Cook as the Downtown Coordinator. Under her leadership, the organization won second place nationally in the American Express “Order-In, Help-Out Innovation Challenge,” showcasing the town’s dedication to supporting small businesses through creative measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is being recognized for its significant contributions to preserving the Charles Town Downtown Historic District while balancing community needs, business growth, and affordable housing construction opportunities.


Bob Weir Craftsperson Award

Joshua Adamo, Adamo Building Arts, Lewisburg

Joshua Adamo specializes in the historic preservation of residential and commercial structures, primarily in West Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Shepherd University and apprenticed under Robert Braun in furniture design, construction, and restoration. His extensive training, experience, and portfolio range from cabinetry and museum-quality cases to metalwork and stone and brick masonry. For almost 20 years, he has run his own general contracting business focusing on preservation and design with a reputation for quality craftsmanship. He also continues to share his knowledge by providing workshops and instructions through alliance conferences and the International Preservation Training Workshop.

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Dr. Emory Kemp Lifetime Achievement Award

Carol Stevens, Alum Creek

Carol Stevens has been running her own engineering firm for almost 20 years and is a registered professional engineer in six states. Her expertise has ensured West Virginia’s cultural resources are preserved. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in structural engineering from Penn State University. She began her engineering career in Pennsylvania prior to accepting a position with Alpha Associates in Morgantown. Family commitments brought her to the Charleston area in 1996, where she worked for Chapman Technical Group and CMA Engineering before starting her own business, CAS Structural Engineering Inc., in 2001. She has worked on many building design projects throughout West Virginia, notably the restoration of the Capitol Dome, the Upshur County Courthouse, renovations to Woodburn and Martin Halls at West Virginia University, and the West Virginia Governor's Mansion.


Preservation Persistence Awards

Recipients received $1,000 cash awards intended to support their costs in preserving properties recognized as endangered or at risk of being lost. This year’s recipients are:

Rebecca & Jesse Juarez for the Bowers Mansion, Mannington

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The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia added the Bowers Mansion to its endangered properties list in 2009, and for more than ten years, minimal upkeep was performed on the building, threatening its structural integrity. The Juarezes saved the mansion and are preserving it as a community space.

Arthurdale Heritage Inc. for the Arthurdale School Buildings, Arthurdale

The Arthurdale School buildings, including a cafeteria, high school, and elementary school, were added to the West Virginia Endangered Properties List in 2013. The preservation and repurposing of the buildings have been challenging, but the nonprofit organization has been a persistent steward, working to maximize their potential for re-use.


The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation in the Mountain State. It also administers the West Virginia Saving Historic Places Grant and the Preserve WV AmeriCorps National Service Initiative. For more information, visit .

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