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Archaeological Conservancy, West Virginia Land Trust and Greenbrier Historical Society announce crowdfunding campaign to save Fort Arbuckle

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The biggest obstacle to safeguarding Fort d’Arbuckle is to raise the funds necessary to acquire the property containing the site.

The Archaeological Conservancy, the West Virginia Land Trust and the Greenbrier Historical Society are pleased to announce the launch of a crowdfunding campaign for the acquisition of the Arbuckle’s Fort archaeological site located in Greenbrier County, Virginia- Western. This project is an opportunity to preserve a site dating from the War of Independence and the first colonization of the State, as well as to protect the important natural resources located on the property. These resources will be available for educational and tourism activities.

Arbuckle Fort was part of a chain of forts established to defend settlers entering the western border of the colonial United States. It was built in 1774 in response to Native American raids in western Virginia, now West Virginia, caused by increased European colonization. The fort was built above the confluence of Muddy and Mill streams and was first occupied by the militia company of Captain Matthew Arbuckle, who remained until the fall of 1774 when they left to guide Colonel Andrew Lewis at Point Pleasant as part of a campaign during the Dunmore War. The fort was reoccupied at least in the fall of 1776 during the American Revolution. As groups of Native Americans increasingly sided with the British, the fort was reinforced as a defense along the Allegheny border. The fort was attacked twice but held up.

No description of the fort has ever been found, but excavations by archaeologists Kim and Stephen McBride have revealed the history of this important site. Buried features include a stone fireplace base and a blockhouse foundation, with a large nearby storage pit that may have served as a powder magazine, pits filled with ash and garbage, and a concentration of slag from from the forge. A trench filled with pole molds delimits a palisade with north and south bastions and two doors. The archaeological integrity of the site; its link with the Amerindian, African-American and settler communities; and its rich historical documentation give the site of Fort d’Arbuckle enormous potential for research and public interpretation.

This 25-acre reserve will serve as a permanently protected monument to the struggles that our ancestors in the Greenbrier Valley endured in the mid-1700s as they took root in the region. The fort site now rests on a lush grassy mound bordered by two slow winding streams; inviting visitors to interpret history while peacefully enjoying the natural surroundings. Local school students and tourists used the site to learn more about archeology and history; the permanent preservation of this property will allow them to continue to do so. The conservation of these historic sites in the Greenbrier Valley is expected to increase the attraction for tourists and ultimately stimulate the local economy, the valley becoming a destination for more visitors.

The biggest obstacle to safeguarding Fort d’Arbuckle is to raise the funds necessary to acquire the property containing the site. The West Virginia Land Trust and The Archaeological Conservancy are seeking to raise $ 125,000 to purchase the site which currently has no protection against development or destruction. The West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund has already committed $ 25,000 to manage the property, and we hope that $ 60,000 of the total can be raised through an outreach effort with the local community in partnership with the Greenbrier Historical Society. Once acquired, the partners plan to work together to develop the site into a park for passive use with signage on the cultural and natural resources protected within the property. Future plans include developing a group of friends to help maintain the site and share the importance of this resource at the local and state levels.

Please consider making a donation to this conservation effort at https://give.archaeologicalconservancy.org/holdthefort, to support the protection of this extraordinary site. Each $ 30 donation will give you a one-year subscription to The Archaeological Conservancy.

About The Archaeological Conservancy:

The Archaeological Conservancy, created in 1980, is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of our nation’s remaining archaeological sites. Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Conservancy also operates regional offices in Mississippi, Maryland, Wisconsin and Nevada. The Conservancy has conserved more than 550 sites across the country. More information can be found on http://www.archaeologicalconservancy.org.

About the West Virginia Land Trust:

The West Virginia Land Trust is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of special places, focusing on projects that protect scenic areas, historic sites, access to outdoor recreation air and drinking water supply by protecting the land that borders rivers and streams. Since 1994, the organization has protected more than 10,000 acres of land across the state. More information can be found on http://www.wvlandtrust.org.

About the Greenbrier Historical Society:

Founded in 1963, the Greenbrier Historical Society is dedicated to community enrichment through education and preservation of the history and culture of the Greenbrier Valley. A regional organization, we serve the West Virginia counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers and Pocahontas. We own and manage three properties, the North House (our offices and head office), the barracks and the Blue Sulfur Springs pavilion. The mission of the Greenbrier Historical Society is to share the diversity of the history and culture of the Greenbrier Valley. More information can be found on https://www.greenbrierhistorical.org.

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