Community Sounds: Josh Wanstreet & Phil Jones

On June 13th, 2019 we hosted “Tunes on the Tracks: an old-time music showcase” featuring Josh Wanstreet and Phil Jones. Enjoy these clips from the concert: Josh and Phil (along with Tom Hoffman) play some twin fiddles on Burl Hammons’ “Rocky Road to Dublin” Tom, Phil, and Josh play Frank George‘s version of the classic “Liza Jane” Tom, Phil, and Josh play Burl Hammons‘ “You […]

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Community Sounds: Jesse Milnes & Emily Miller

On June 13th, 2019 we hosted “Tunes on the Tracks: an old-time music showcase” featuring local duo Jesse Milnes & Emily Miller. Enjoy these clips from the concert: Jesse & Emily sing the classic railroad song “John Henry” Jesse plays “Big Fish” (aka “Rye Straw”) from Melvin Wine Emil & Jesse sing “Undone in Sorrow” by Ola Belle Reed Emily and Jesse play some twin […]

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Community Sounds: The Phrawg Giggers

On 5/21/2019 we hosted a concert and ice-cream social for the National Model A Restorers Club at the Rotary Amphitheater in Elkins Town Square. Enjoy these clips from the concert from local bluegrass group the Phrawg Giggers. “A Million Lonely Days” written by the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys from Pocahontas County, WV   Hear how they came up with name “Phrawg Giggers” after they play […]

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The Real Story of Stephen Elkins and the Outlaw Cole Younger

Senators Stephen B. Elkins and Henry Gassaway Davis are best known as senators and industrialists who developed the railroad, timber, and coal industries around Randolph County, and are the namesakes of the towns of Elkins, Davis, Gassaway, and Davis & Elkins College. But it is rumored that they were actually the outlaws Frank and Jesse James of the infamous James Gang. Listen or read below […]

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Celebrate Fasnacht “The Mardi Gras of Randolph County”

Every year hundreds of people converge on the tiny town of Helvetia for one of the most unique festivals in West Virginia. Fasnacht takes place annually on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. Only at Fasnacht can you find homemade masks, a candlelight parade, a square dance, Swiss food, and the burning of Old Man Winter, all in one celebration. Join us for one of the […]

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Ramps are a stinky springtime specialty

Springtime in West Virginia means it’s ramp season. Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are a wild edible plant that’s known as the first green of the season. The plant has been eaten for generations as a spring tonic and is nowadays celebrated across the country at community festivals small and large called ramp feeds. If you’re not from West Virginia or Appalachia you might […]

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Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Randolph County’s Country Music Stars

Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper were country, gospel, and bluegrass musicians from Randolph County who recorded several top-ten country hits and performed on the Grand Ole Opry for 20 years. Wilma Lee Cooper was born as Wilma Leigh Leary on February 7th, 1921 in Valley Head. She grew up singing since age 5 and performing gospel music regionally with her sisters and parents as the Leary […]

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Community Sounds: DardenFest

In January 2019 Elkins community members gathered at the Darden Mill for the Third Annual Darden Fest, a music benefit organized by AmeriCorps members with the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area to raise money for ArtsBank (a local non-profit that organizes arts education outreach programs in Randolph County schools). Listen to some of the highlights below: Learn more about AFHA and ArtsBank here and here.

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Camp Chase: West Virginia Song Tells Civil War History

Old-time music from West Virginia is known for several family traditions that continue to this day, like the music of the Hammons family and the Kessinger brothers. Another well-known musical family was the Carpenter family who are said to be some of the original white inhabitants of what is now central West Virginia. The family produced many highly-regarded fiddlers like Solomon “Devil Sol”, Ernie, and […]

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Cheat Mountain’s Unique Ecological and Cultural Heritage

Did you know that the namesake of the Cheat Mountain Salamander excursion train is found only in West Virginia? This rare critter is found in Grant, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, and Tucker counties and is one of the few vertebrate species unique to the Mountain State. The Cheat Mountain salamander’s tail is shorter than the length of its body and head, which helps distinguish it from […]

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