RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Through the efforts of the Raleigh County Historical Society (RCHS), an official state highway historical marker has been installed to commemorate the story behind the creation of the Glade Creek Reservoir. The cost of fabricating, transporting and erecting the marker was covered by a $2,000 Community Grant from the Beckley Area Foundation (BAF).
According to RCHS marker program manager Merle T. Cole, the BAF grant was a major factor in helping the society reach its goal.
Cole explained, “State historical markers are a permanent and comparatively low-cost tool for raising awareness of, and interest in, county history and culture.” The state program was created in 1937 to encourage automobile tourism during the Great Depression, initially with 440 markers installed across West Virginia. The current RCHS program began in 2017, with the installation of a marker for the Big Beaver Creek Prehistoric Indian Fort in Blue Jay. Today there are six markers installed or reinstalled, with two more under review by West Virginia and History, the state program office, at the Culture Center in Charleston.
Cole performed background research for the marker application, mostly in contemporary Beckley newspapers. He subsequently published the findings as an article in the Spring 2019 issue of West Virginia Historical Society journal.
RCHS is exploring other possible sites or persons which meet state criteria of uniqueness, and broad historical or social influence. Future marker program efforts will likely focus on targets outside the Beckley area. Cole emphasized, “We are a county historical society. We need to commemorate the numerous possibilities across our bailiwick.”