Staff Picks

Early Native Americans in West Virginia

Early Native Americans in West Virginia

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Follow Archaeologist Darla Spencer as she discovers the history and habits of 16 Native American sites in West Virginia.


Once thought of as Indian hunting grounds with no permanent inhabitants, West Virginia is teeming with evidence of

Foxfire 10

Foxfire 10

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Chock full of the wit and wisdom that has become the Foxfire trademark, this entirely new volume in the acclaimed, 6-million-copy best-selling "Foxfire" series is on oral history of Appalachian lives and traditions, homespun crafts, and folk arts.
Great Virginia Flood of 1870

Great Virginia Flood of 1870

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In the fall of 1870, a massive flood engulfed parts of Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. What began near Charlottesville as welcome rain at the end of a drought-plagued summer quickly turned into a downpour as it moved west and then north through the Shenandoah Valley. The James, Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers rose, and flooding washed out fields, farms and entire towns. The impact was immense in terms of destruction, casualties and depth of water. The only warning that Richmond, downriver from the worst of the storm, had of the wall of water bearing down on it was a telegram. In this account, public historian Paula Green details not only the flood but also the process of recovery in an era before modern relief programs.
Uncommon Vernacular The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia 1735-1835

Uncommon Vernacular The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia 1735-1835

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Within the picturesque borders of Jefferson County, West Virginia remain the vestiges of a history filled with Civil War battles and political rebellion. Yet also woven into the historical landscapeof this small county nestled within the Shenandoah Valley is an unusual collection of historic homes. In this fascinating architectural exploration, John C. Allen, Jr. details his expansive seven-year survey of Jefferson County's historic residences. By focusing on dwellings built from the mid-eighteenth century to the arrival of the railroad and canal in 1835, Allen unfolds the unique story of this area's early building traditions and architectural innovations. The 250 buildings included in this work--from the plantation homes of the Washington family to the log houses of yeomen farmers--reveal the unique development of this region, as Allen categorizes structures and establishes patterns of construction, plan, and style.
Allen's refreshing perspective illuminates the vibrant vernacular architecture of Jefferson County, connecting the housing of this area to the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley. Varying features of house siting, plan types, construction techniques, building materials, outbuildings, and exterior and interior detailing illustrate the blending of German, Scots-Irish, English, and African cultures into a distinct, regional style. Adorned with over seven hundred stylish photographs by Walter Smalling and elegant drawings, floor plans, and maps by Andrew Lewis, Uncommon Vernacular explores and preserves this historic area's rich architectural heritage.