Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 27, 2013

Preserve history important to future

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — I am a community volunteer and member of a local historical preservation society. I think our knowledge of not just world, national and state history is of great importance to us, but also our local history.

Our local history helped form our unique culture; this would include positive and negative aspects — the civil war, pre-mining culture, the mining dramas, immigrant stories, rough sides of notorious activities and successful cultural and economic ventures.

Our history helped make us who we are today and understanding it enriches us — our sense of identity, pride, belonging, community connections and preserves our wonderful culture.

As has been said, we need to know and appreciate who we are and where we have been to appreciate who and where we are and have an idea of where we are going. We need to remember lessons learned from the past — good and bad — so as not to repeat the mistakes. Also, a lot of the things from the past are positive, beautiful and inspiring, traditional skills, etc., things worth holding on to and passing on.

One way we might do these things, besides celebrating it as we already do, might be to add courses on local history to our school curriculums and even increase the good efforts of establishing museums and preserving our historical landmarks — the visual reminders with a feel for that particular time.

Students may even be more interested in local history because it hits closer to home and affects them more directly. We can’t afford to keep losing our beautiful landmarks, especially those of significant history and rare architecture. We could restore many and maybe even build replicas of those lost.

In addition to our area wanting to develop tourism, these structures would be a huge tourist attraction with their unique aspects of our culture and an excellent investment that would more than pay for itself in the long run, even economically.

Mary McKinley