Elkins library begins Living History Project

ELKINS — The Elkins-Randolph County Public Library is looking to the community to gain knowledge about local buildings and the city of Elkins itself though the ERCPL Living History Project.

The project is an ongoing collection of information about local buildings in Elkins provided by the public through photographs and oral history.

The project was created during a discussion by the library staff as to what role the library should take on in the community. The concluding thoughts gathered from the meeting by the staff were that the library is unique because of its history.

“The information that we have here at the library to involve our community and the history of our community is what makes us who we are and provides a reason for what we do,” Executive Director Stephanie Murphy stated.

The library believes that the staff should be knowledgeable experts on the history of the community and local buildings, she stated.

The goal of the project is for the library to provide downtown tours. During the project, the library will be partnering with the Randolph County Historic Landmark Association to gain architectural and factual history of the area.

The library is also looking to the community and its members to gain oral history about the town and buildings. Oral history can come in the form of stories, legends, memories and experience. The library would then like to record and document this information for future reference and use.

Phase one of the project will include nine buildings in downtown Elkins, beginning with the library, the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA, the former Tygart Hotel and City Hall.

The library is asking the community to provide pictures and spoken stories of these historic buildings in the town.

“Since the project is ongoing, individuals are encouraged to stop by anytime during regular hours or set up a time to speak to a member of the library staff to show their pictures or share their memories,” Murphy said.

“Where we came from, helps define who each of us has become,” she said. “Everyone has a story, we would like to preserve it.”