Sunday, May 9, 2010
The Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum, Webster
The Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum opened in 1996, two years after the present owners, Tom and Olive Dadisman, were handed over the keys in 1994 by the Willis Preston Felton heirs. The house was declared a historical site in 1974, and in 1984 the Daughters of the American Revolution received a sizeable grant to restore the house, but over $90,000 of it went towards studies, while the remaining monies went towards repairing the foundation and painting it. When the Dadisman's got the house it was falling down, and was in such a mess that they spent the first year just cleaning up the yard. What is now the gift shop parking lot and pavilion was at that time mostly swamp, which they had to clear and fill. Olive said that all the work s done was with the help of volunteers who came from all over West Virginia. While they have received several grants over the years to help fix the furnace, repair the porch, replace the windows, and exterminate termites, they have not received any grant money for the past seven years. It wasn't until 1998 when Mrs. Hova Underwood, who was being honored as the first Mother of the Year, learned that there were no public restrooms on the premises when she inquired as to their whereabouts, promised that she would secure the funds necessary to change that situation! In 2001 the area across from the Jarvis house was flooded, and everything was lost and had to be rebuilt, which is when someone donated the bridge that now crosses the creek. Also, everything in the house is 95% authentic, either to the Anna Jarvis family or to the time period, much of which has been privately donated to the museum.Thunder on the Tygart, Inc. is a non-profit foundation begun in 1994 to create jobs in WV, preserve historic sites, and educate today's youth about their heritage and the wealth of history that occurred in the great state of West Virginia. They will gladly accept tax-deductable donations, while they strive to keep the cost to visit the Jarvis Birthplace Museum still very low at $5 a person (children under 6 get in free). Besides the Mother's Day Founders Festival Weekend, they sponsor an Old Fashion Christmas Tour during the month of December. Having just visited there myself, and having met the wonderful people who own and work the museum, I'd strongly recommend a drive to Webster, WV. It's a treat for Moms and Civil War buffs alike!
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