Hello, all! My name is Eliza Newland and I was raised in a small Georgia town by two parents who instilled in me a respect for nature and the past. I majored in history at Oglethorpe University, a small liberal arts institution in Atlanta. I’m currently serving as a PreserveWV AmeriCorps service member while finishing up my Master’s in Public History at West Virginia University. My service site is the Old Hemlock Foundation in Bruceton Mills.
The Old Hemlock Foundation maintains 230 acres of real estate situation on the Brandonville Pike in Preston County, West Virginia, which is known as “Old Hemlock.” Old Hemlock was the home of George Bird and Kathryn Harris Evans. George was a noted artist, author, outdoorsman, and dog breeder and Kay co-authored and edited his books. The property contains virgin hemlock trees and is to be maintained in its natural state as a nature and wildlife preserve. The house located on Old Hemlock was built in about 1782 and is the oldest residence in its state of preservation in Preston County.
I have experience developing exhibits, surveying historic resources, conducting oral history interviews, editing sound and video, managing Facebook pages, creating web content, and planning events (from summer camps to open houses). When I’m not sharing my love of history with the public, you can find me hanging out with my boyfriend Kenny, whippin’ up some vegetarian magic in the kitchen, hiking in the wild and wonderful, or biking along the Mon River Rail Trail.
My big goals at Old Hemlock are to place the house in the National Register of Historic Places and to start an oral history program, thereby further preserving the legacy of George and Kay. I’ll be keeping a blog about my year at Old Hemlock, so make sure to check in! Read Eliza’s blog HERE!
This service initiative is administered by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, the statewide grassroots nonprofit dedicated to the support and promotion of historic preservation in the Mountain State. The PreserveWV AmeriCorps members develop and participate in a variety of community projects related to historic resource improvement, historic preservation, heritage tourism development, and nonprofit organizational capacity building. For more information, visit www.pawv.org. PreserveWV AmeriCorps is funded in part by Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service, and by the Commission for National and Community Service.