(Posted Nov. 26, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
South Charleston’s historic district has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, but only recently was a sign installed declaring that fact.
At 1:45 p.m. Dec. 8, prior to the Christmas in the Opera House concert at 2 p.m., the South Charleston Heritage Commission will dedicate the new historic marker next to town hall at 35 S. Chillicothe St.
The Heritage Commission purchased the sign with a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation of Syracuse, N.Y. The grant covered the sign, pole and shipping at a cost of $1,100.
The Pomeroy Foundation is a private, grant-making foundation established in 2005. One of the foundation’s main initiatives is to help people celebrate their community’s history, primarily through roadside markers. Since 2006, the foundation has funded nearly 1,000 roadside markers and plaques nationwide.
Sue Mattinson, Heritage Commission president, said she first learned of the Pomeroy Foundation last spring at a regional meeting of the Ohio Local History Alliance.
“I looked at what they do and thought, ‘Whoa, that’s a really good deal,’” she said.
The Heritage Commission sought and received permission from the village to install the sign on village property next to town hall. Mattinson wrote the grant proposal.
The National Register of Historic Places is an official list of properties recognized by the federal government as worthy of preservation for their local, state or national significance in U.S. history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.
The late George Berkhofer was responsible for submitting South Charleston’s historic district for inclusion on the register. As founder of the South Charleston Heritage Commission, Berkhofer realized the historical significance of the town’s architecture.
The central figure in that architecture was Edward Edwards, a carpenter who moved to South Charleston in 1843 and proceeded to build several houses in town. When he died in 1897, his obituary stated that he had built or remodeled more than 90 percent of the town.
South Charleston’s historic district encompasses nearly 16 blocks centered on Jamestown and Chillicothe streets and identifies approximately 40 houses built by Edwards. It was added to the Register of Historic Places in 1978, however no sign was installed to commemorate the special designation.
Mattinson said that by 2010, when she moved to South Charleston, the existence of the historic district was no longer common knowledge. The new sign and inclusion of its GPS coordinates on the Pomeroy Foundation’s website will help to change that.
“It is a source of community pride and sense of our history pulling us together as a community,” she said.
South Charleston’s historic district is one of 40 Clark County sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ohio is home to 3,954 sites on the register, the third most in the country behind New York (6,030) and Massachusetts (4,298). The total number of sites across the United States is 93,235.