Commission Gives to Kennedy Barn Project

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Marion County Commission has made a gift of $4,000 to the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., to fund the nomination of the historic Kennedy Barn to the National Register of Historic Places.

"The Marion County Commission is pleased to be able to participate in this project," said Sharon Jones Schaffer, County Administrator. "The Commission believes this project is important for the educational and cultural enrichment of the county and will play a role in economic development and tourism."

The money will be used to hire Historic Preservation Consultant Michael Gioulis to draft, present and defend the nomination of the Kennedy Barn to the National Register. His work will begin in February.

"Fairmont State is thrilled to partner with the Marion County Commission on the Kennedy Barn Historic Preservation Project," said Patty Pitrolo, Director of Major Gifts for the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc.

"Our county commissioners have always been strong supporters of Fairmont State and the Kennedy Barn project is important for our entire area. The National Register Nomination is the first step in converting this historic property into the home of the West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State. The Folklife Center will be an important heritage site in Marion County that will showcase our history and provide a rich atmosphere for conferences and public receptions."

The W.Va. Folklife Center is dedicated to the identification, preservation and perpetuation of the region's rich cultural heritage, through academic studies, educational programs, festivals, performances and publications. The center is part of the FSU Department of Language & Literature.

"The Kennedy Barn (which later became Colonial Apartments) has unto itself an historical significance because it was the barn to a prominent Irish dairy farm in Fairmont at the turn of the century owned by Michael Kennedy and family," said Dr. Judy P. Byers, Abelina Suarez Professor of English and Folklore and Director of the W.Va. Folklife Center. "Among the people who stayed there after it became Colonial Apartments was Dr. Ruth Ann Musick from 1946 to her death in 1974."

Musick was one of the state's prominent folklorists and was the author of the popular collections "The Tell-Tale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Stories," "Green Hills of Magic" and "Coffin Hollow." She left her unpublished folklore estate to the library at FS that bears her name. Byers, one of Musick's former students, is the executrix of the estate.

Gioulis has been active in Historic Preservation in West Virginia for more than 18 years. He served as Historical Architect for the state Department of Culture and History and as Assistant Director of the Historic Preservation Unit. In private practice, Gioulis has been involved in rehabilitation projects and design assistance programs for downtown structures. This includes services to the W.Va. Main Street Office, resulting in more than 650 individual design projects, as well as workshops, resource team visits and technical assistance responses. In addition, he has written a Maintenance Manual for downtown property owners. He has completed a number of successful tax certification applications and has participated in individual rehabilitation and restoration projects including the restoration of 20 building facades in downtown Matewan, W.Va. In St. Clairsville, Ohio, he worked with the city and property owners to successfully rehabilitate 17 downtown buildings and public projects. He also revised the city's design guidelines. In Wheeling, W.Va., he worked with a planning team for the revitalization of the historic waterfront into a major urban park. He has also worked with communities reviewing rehabilitation projects and as an advisor to historic review committees. He wrote or revised historic district review ordinances and design guidelines in towns such as Shepherdstown, Elkins, Beverly and Bramwell, W.Va.
The Fairmont State Foundation Inc. helps to secure resources for scholarships, faculty development, cultural programming and other needs. The Fairmont State Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization formed to assist Fairmont State by accepting and encouraging gifts and by using them to advance the missions of Fairmont State University and Fairmont State Community & Technical College. The Foundation is operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.

For more information on gift planning, call (304) 367-4014. To make a gift online, visit For more information on the West Virginia Folklife Center, call Judy Byers at (304) 367-4286 or e-mail her at