Discovery Center

Progress on the Alleghany Highlands Industrial Heritage and Technology Discovery Center continues but the Society is still working with the Department of Historic Resources (DHR) to receive approval of our application for historic tax credits.  The exterior of the building has been painted but the trim will be painted after restoration of the windows and finishing of the other trim work.

The Society continues to acquire items for the Center and is excited about obtaining the original safe used by the Low Moor Iron Company.  The safe was built in the 1870s and was located in the Company Store.  It was purchased at auction from the property owned by Ms. Louise Belmont.  Another safe of a historic nature was donated by Glenn Hawkins and his late brother, Walter “Butch” Hawkins.  It was used by the Hawkins General Merchandise Store on the corner of Walnut St. and Monroe Ave, in Covington.  Glenn’s grandfather, Walter T. Hawkins, operated the store but was also an employee of Westvaco, as well as Glenn’s father, Walter C. Hawkins.

William “Bill” Zimmerman donated a grand piano which belonged to the late Carla Bell.  The Society also received a number of her paintings.  We are all saddened by Bill’s death as he will be missed by the entire community.  The piano and paintings are currently located in the Lawrence-Stephenson House but will occupy a spot in the Discovery Center when it opens.

Thanks to the efforts of Liz Higgins and support of District Ranger Elizabeth McNichol, the U.S. Forest Service has donated a number of items to the Society.  Several relate to the history of the iron industry in the region as well as the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camps which completed a number of projects during the era of the Great Depression.  Among those projects were Douthat State Park and the Longdale Recreation Area, originally known as Green Pastures.

Gordon Specht is now working with our general contractor, Sams & Co., to update budget projections and plan the scope of work to create exhibit space and hands-on activity centers in the building.  A projected opening date cannot be determined until final approval from the DHR but it is hoped that a 2019-2020 completion can be met.  Mike Wade is leading a group of individuals on the technology and innovation centers planned for hands-on and demonstration activities.  Other groups are focusing on telling the story of the region’s industrial heritage and the growth and development of communication and industrial development.

Discovery Center Wall of Labor

The Alleghany Historical Society received a grant from The Alleghany Foundation for $1,145,000, to develop the Alleghany Highlands Industrial Heritage and Technology Discovery Center.  The estimated cost will exceed $1.5 million dollars.  An initial fund raising effort involves a memorial donation of $100 to list the names of loved ones or friends on a Wall of Labor.  A large display of individual name plates will be located on a wall of the entrance lobby of the Center.

The effort has currently received contributions for the following; William C. Colvin, Dominion Virginia Power; John C. Ervin, Wesyvaco; Marvin E. “Poppa” Ross, Ross Fencing; Robert R. Luther, Hercules, Inc.; Donald Leet, Covington City Chief of Police; Charles E. Ballou, MD, Surgeon; George W. Halsey, Sr., Halsey’s Auto Repair Shop; Connie McComb King, Chapman Plumbing & Heating; Donald Eugene Tucker, Sr., Chapman Plumbing & Heating; Mary R. Ervin, Industrial Rayon Corp.; Isabell Ervin Entsminger, Industrial Rayon Corp.; Elmer “Preacher” Entsminger, Westvaco; Ethridge E. Burr, Burr’s Studios; Ethridge E. Burr, Covington National Bank Board of Directors; William B. Fleming, Sr., Westvaco; Walter T. Hawkins, Westvaco; Walter C. Hawkins, Westvaco; and William B. Zimmerman, Covington City Council, Vice Mayor.

In the photograph above, Stephanie Ross Clark is shown with Paul Linkenhoker who is accepting a contribution for her father, Marvin Ross, Sr.  Stephanie’s mother, Carolyn Ross, was also listed as a co-contributor of the donation.  To make a contribution, please contact the Society at 540-965-0149 or call Paul at 540-962-3718 or to donate to the wall of labor online click here!