History takes center stage at lawn party

Many area residents came out to celebrate the Beverly Heritage Center’s Lawn Party on Saturday.

The lawn party was a celebration of history and culture within the Beverly community and to help Beverly citizens learn a little more about the place they call home.

“The amount of history located here overwhelms the size of this town,” said Darryl DeGripp, executive director of the Beverly Heritage Center. “This is an opportunity for us to share that history with the community.”

“This has been a successful event and a great way to kick off the fall season,” he added. “This is an event we’d like to keep every year.”

The party included food-hotdogs, cole slaw, baked beans, cookies and garden items from the Center’s community garden-and lawn games like corn hole. People were invited to bring acoustic instruments and have a live jam session on the lawn and had free access to the Center’s museum.

The Appalachian heritage group, History Hitting the Road, from Jackson’s Mill, provided many activities for children, including candle-dipping and story-telling provided by Jane Gilchrist and wool-spinning provided by Julia Bragg.

“We are always interested in events like these,” Bragg said. “And it’s nice to interact with the children and teach them something new.”

“Appalachia has a rich heritage of crafting and oral tradition,” Gilchrist said. “It’s our honor to share that with as many people as possible.”

DeGripp said this was the first time History Hitting the Road has visited the Center, and that he’d like to bring them back for other events, including Beverly Heritage Days.

The biggest draw for the crowd was the station where people could share their Beverly Heritage. Beverly residents were invited to bring photographs, artifacts and stories about their houses, property or ancestors in the area.

Courtney Fint Zimmerman of the state Historic Preservation Office helped people learn about the history of their property and their significance to the community. Saturday’s focus was on property dating back to the early 20th century.

“A lot of people do not realize how historic their houses are,” Zimmerman said. “It’s important to get the word out and talk to people about their houses.”

When asked about the turnout for the event, DeGripp said he was very pleased.

“If we are able to get one or two groups of people who have never been here to come and check it out then I’d mark it as a success,” he said. “There is so much in your own backyard, you just have to look for it.”

Contact Chad Clem by e-mail at