For Immediate Release: 10/30/02
Civil War Preservation Trust Receives $300,000 Grant for Harpers Ferry
West Virginia Delegate John Doyle played a key role in securing grant for School House Ridge
(Harpers Ferry, W.Va.) - At a news conference today, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) announced a $300,000 transportation enhancement grant for battlefield preservation at Harpers Ferry. The grant is the key ingredient in a $1.7 million deal to save 232 acres on historic School House Ridge.
"School House Ridge is a monument to the valor and sacrifice of our fore bearers," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "If this property is allowed to fall prey to development, one of the most beautiful and historic landscapes in America will be marred forever."
Earlier this year, CWPT began a nationwide fundraising campaign to raise both private and public funds to protect three tracts on School House Ridge. Confederate occupation of School House Ridge was key to Stonewall Jackson's September 1862 siege of the picturesque river town.
Joining Lighthizer at the news conference was West Virginia Delegate John Doyle (D-Shepherdstown), who spearheaded the effort in the state legislature to secure the $300,000 grant. Lighthizer praised Doyle's efforts, stating, "This deal wouldn't have been possible without the enthusiasm and support of Del. Doyle. His commitment to protecting the historic treasures of Jefferson County has saved this unique resource from the backhoe and bulldozer."
Doyle, now serving his tenth term in the West Virginia House of Delegates, has long been a friend of Harpers Ferry. In addition to securing the $300,000 transportation enhancement grant, Del. Doyle also helped CWPT obtain another $55,000 for Harpers Ferry through the state budget digest process. Thanks to his efforts, CWPT awarded Doyle its 2002 State Leadership Award.
In his remarks, Doyle noted that this grant has been in the works for some time, stating, "I've been working on this grant for over a year, and am extremely pleased to be able to help the Civil War Preservation Trust acquire this historic property." Doyle also pitched the tourism benefits of preservation, telling attendees: "I think promoting historic tourism in Jefferson County is a great thing for the local economy. We need to continue to rely on historic tourism."
CWPT has a long history of preserving hallowed ground at Harpers Ferry. In 1995, CWPT rescued 56 acres of battlefield land directly across from School House Ridge. In February, CWPT identified Harpers Ferry as one of the ten most endangered battlefields in the nation.
CWPT is a 43,000-member 501(c)(3) nonprofit battlefield preservation organization. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.