What started as a senior project in high school has since grown into a major organization, and I thought it time that we publicly updated everyone on our progress.
To date, we’ve removed the brush, cleaned every headstone that can be safely cleaned, and began planning headstone repairs at Bumgarner Cemetery, near New Haven. I understand that the family has taken over maintenance for this cemetery, and I thank them for their work. We’ve also continued the brush removal process at Brown Cemetery, in Hartford, with plans to clean and repair the headstones there as well. While trying not to get ahead of ourselves, we’re also planning a cemetery restoration for December. More information will be made available as we finalize our plans.
However, our largest project has not been cemetery restoration, but documentation. We’ve set out with the goal of locating and documenting every cemetery in our county, and with the help of our friends on social media, we’ve gathered solid locations for 231 cemeteries and counting! Of these, we’ve visited close to 80, and continue to find more. Some of these cemeteries are well-maintained, but others are nearly unrecognizable and will be included in our list of future projects.
Other projects include two future books, both of which are progressing nicely.
All of this pales in comparison to our main goal: establishing ourselves as an official organization. As of July 13th, the Mason County Historical and Preservation Society has been fully approved by the State of West Virginia, and we’re moving on to the IRS for our 501(c)(3) non-profit status. At the same time, we’re narrowing down our search for a potential location, and while the Board of Directors will make the final decision, we plan on following through with the building chosen by the public. To participate in this process, just attend our monthly meetings. This month’s will be this coming Tuesday, in Leon, and next month’s will be at the county library in Point Pleasant. At the meeting in Point Pleasant, we will be holding a vote to determine which building to pursue.
None of this work could’ve been accomplished without our wonderful Board of Directors and numerous volunteers. It’d be impossible to list everyone, but they know who they are. Exciting things are happening in Mason County, not just in our organization, but in many others, and I can’t wait to see where it all leads. I hope to see you at an upcoming meeting.
The next meeting of the Mason County Historical and Preservation Society will be on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 6:30 p.m.
Chris Rizer is the president of the Mason County Historical and Preservation Society. More information on the organization found on Facebook at Mason County Historic Preservation. The next meeting of the Mason County Historical and Preservation Society will be Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 6:30 p.m., Leon Town Hall.