Blue Ridge Heritage Project selects memorial site in Stanley’s Ed Good Park

Page News and Courier

STANLEY — After months of deliberation and exploring sites all over the county, members of the Blue Ridge Heritage Project have selected Stanley's Ed Good Park as the site of their monument.

The Blue Ride Heritage Project is a state-wide group, with chapters in all eight of the counties that were affected by the creation of Shenandoah National Park. A committee is formed in each county, with the goal of creating a memorial for the families that were displaced by the park's creation. The only requirement is that the memorial be a chimney — how it looks and where it is located is up to the committee members.

"I think the committee worked a long time, and saw lots of sites and visited several spots before making their final decision," said Rose Anne Smythe, committee chair. "They picked what they felt was the best site — they thought the mountain backdrop provided great scenery."

The committee has partnered with local artisan Clyde Jenkins to work on the memorial.

The memorial will consist of four stones in a square, to represent the outline of a house. The chimney will be at the end, and the space representing the inside of the house will have informational signs that will tell the story of the affected families.

"Clyde Jenkins is going to actually be the man on the scaffolding, mixing the mud and doing the work," Smythe said. "He's donating all of the stone, and really managing the construction itself. He is doing most of the work."

Jenkins stressed the authenticity of the look of the monument as being important to him.

"I want to do it as authentic as possible," Jenkins said. "The rocks aren't going to be all uniform; it's going to look like it would have back in that day."

Before the memorial can be built on the park, it needs to be approved by the Stanley Council, since they own the park property. They meet at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday Jan. 11 and will discuss it then.

Smythe noted she has had nothing but positive interactions with the Stanley employees she has talked to so far, and is hopeful that they will approve the monument site.

"I've been around enough town councils and small-town governments that there's always some sort of fly in the ointment at the last minute," Smythe said. "But, I don't anticipate any problem with their approval."

Council member Mike Uram said he has enjoyed seeing the passion and soul of the BRHP members and he does not foresee any problems with the Stanley Council approving it.

"This is a great piece of history, and will be good for tourism and also education," Uram said. "When you put the puzzle of all of this together, it's a great picture of our history."

If all goes according to plan, the next step would be a groundbreaking ceremony in April.

"That would be a community celebration that we would invite lots of people to," Smythe said. "Then construction would begin after that and hopefully wouldn't take very long."

The projected budget for the memorial — cost of construction, signs and a plaque with family names on it — is around $14,000. The committee presently has $9,000 in their account. They are soliciting donors and planning fundraisers for the spring.

The plaque at the memorial will have the names of every family that was displaced by the park's creation. A research sub-committee was formed to compile and confirm all of the names. There are around 110 names on the plaque, and the committee is still looking for confirmation of six of them.

"If we can't find proof that they were there, we would have to drop their names," Smythe said.

They are looking for representatives of the Bryan, Falls, Hoak, Priest, Turner and Yates families. Anybody who can confirm that those families were displaced by the creation of the park should contact Joy Legg at (540) 743-4746.

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