The Preservation Effort: Accomplishments Thus Far

The Town of Glen Dale and the Marshall County Historical Society, upon the death of Samuel A. J. Cockayne in November, 2001, partnered to preserve the Cockayne Property. The farmhouse was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. It was so listed in December of that year.


Major Accomplishments of the Marshall County Historical Society and its Cockayne Farmstead Preservation Committee since a lease was signed with the City of Glen Dale in 2003 include:

  • Farmhouse listed on National Register of Historic Places in December, 2002.

  • A Master Plan was completed in October 2003;

  • The box gutter system was rebuilt and the 100-year-old slate roof replaced over a one-year period from September 2004 to September, 2005 (funded by a Development Grants and matching grants and donations made by individuals, private foundations and local businesses);

  • A Phase I archaeological survey of the property was completed in 2005, services donated by Archaeological Consultants of the Mid West (which services also included the authentication of the Indian Burial Mound as prehistoric in nature and excavation of one of the Cockayne privies);

  • The prehistoric Indian Burial Mound was recovered and reunited to the Property in March, 2005;

  • A documentation process was undertaken to log, number and tag each of the over 1500 artifacts within the Cockayne Farmhouse during 2004-2005. The artifacts included furnishings, clothing, toys, jewelry, tools, original artwork, magazines, etc. covering a span from the 1850's through the 1950's;

  • A smaller 18th century Cockayne Farmhouse was brought under the protection of benefactors in December, 2005 and leased to the Society until that property can be reunited with the farmhouse. The Project's administrative offices are housed there;

  • Services of the Curator of the West Virginia State Museum was donated in 2005. Mr. Mitchell worked with volunteers to both teach the curation process and curate the Cockayne artifacts that had been previously documented, numbered and tagged. More than 90% of the curation process has been completed;

  • The front porch columns, porch decking and porch roof were restored in 2007 (funded by a Transportation Enhancement Grant);

  • Educational programming began in earnest in 2008 as the Society began to implement the Cockayne resource into several high school curriculums. John Marshall High School's AP English class presented a brochure, videos and public service announcements prepared by the students to benefit the project and at the same time meet the curriculum requirements of the course;

  • The Marshall County Historical Society's Cockayne Project became a host agency for trainees of the National Council on Aging in 2008. Furniture, including desks, office chairs, computers, software, copier, and a myriad of office supplies were donated by local businesses and individuals to create a workable and attractive office setting;

  • Restoration of the front facade of the farmhouse was completed in 2008;

  • A part-time Program Director was hired in November, 2008, to interface with schools and institutions of higher learning to facilitate implementation of this Appalachian resource in various curricula;

  • A domain name,, was donated in December, 2008 and the original Cockayne website was remastered and presented to the project.

  • A volunteer began working with the project to scan the massive collection of written letters, newspapers, legal documents, social invitations, school records and more contained within the farmhouse and dating from the 1840's. These scanned documents number over 6000 pages and have added an additional layer of knowledge of the farm's operation. They include such interesting documents as a handbill from the Presidential Election of 1860, a roster of the sons and daughters of the area's earliest settlers who attended school within the farmhouse, taught by Alexander Cockayne, letters from the State of West Virginia thanking Sam's maternal grandfather for his services in the "late rebellion" (the Civil War) and much more.

  • An operating relationship with the faculty of both the Public History/Cultural Resources Management and Interior Design/Fashion Merchandising departments at West Virginia University was developed during 2009, resulting in:
    Use of the Cockayne Farmstead as a site for an unpaid summer intern in Cultural Resources Management, who developed and implemented policies relating to the cleaning, care, maintenance, and display of the historic textiles of the Farmstead;

    A project by Interior Design faculty to scan each room of the Cockayne house, using state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning gear, which will enable undergraduate students taking classes in historic interiors at the University to access the Farmstead's holdings on-line and in 3D, reducing or eliminating the difficulty involved in bringing large classes from the University Campus to a distant location;

    Use of the Cockayne Farmstead as a site for the Museum Studies class, in which graduate students will visit the Cockayne Farmstead to assist in developing a collection management plan for the Project;

    Connection with WVU Librarian Anna Schein, who will train volunteers and oversee the organization, documentation and protection of the cultural ephemera within the farmhouse.

    A group of 30 students from Dr. McFall's class will be visiting again in October, 2010, as our relationship with the Merchandizing and Design Department continues.

  • The Cockayne House was included in a "Pittsburgh History Series" documentary entitled Right Beside the River, produced by Rick Sebak, and broadcast on Pittsburgh's PBS affiliate, WQED in August 2009;

  • Restoration began on the three previously un-restored facades of the Cockayne House in August 2009. Exterior restoration of the farmhouse was completed on November 13, 2009 (funded by a Transportation Enhancement Grant and 20% match); and

  • The Cockayne Farmstead collaborated with Wheeling Jesuit University faculty and students as the source from which students in a curriculum and instruction course designed "problem-based" learning classroom presentations. As a result:
    Four presentations were developed, each appropriate for a different grade level. These presentations were designed to comply with Curriculum Standards and Objectives of the West Virginia Department of Education. These lesson plans serve as the basis for the Farmstead's latest initiative to "Bring Cockayne to You" in the Schools.
  • A new Transportation Enhancement Grant was awarded to the project in 2009. The match to that grant was provided DOH in July, 2010 and will bring a total of over $200,000 earmarked for the design and construction of both a climate control system, facilities for handicapped access at the Farmstead, and frontal access to the smaller 19th Century Cockayne house.

  • An exciting component of the effort to bring a climate control system to the Farmstead, now in the planning stage, is the alliances being formed with LEED professionals at John Marshall High School and West Virginia University to provide a "green" sustainability approach to the issue of climate control. The Cockayne Farmhouse can serve as a model for other similarly situated homes in West Virginia.

  • Restoration of the shed behind the farmhouse was completed by students from Belmont Technical College's Building Preservation and Restoration Program in August, 2010.

  • The 87 Club initiative was launched by the Society in March, 2010 - a program intended to reduce the principal on the smaller Cockayne house leased by the Society. A loan for $87,500 is in place to purchase this house that serves as the project's offices. 87 Club members are formed by businesses and individuals willing to donate $1000 to restore the house. To date, almost $22,500 has been paid on the principal.

  • 2011 - Development of the South Lawn: A $5,000 grant to create curriculum utilizing the Cockayne resource has been awarded. Similarly, a $3500 renewable grant to create a community garden/orchard has been awarded to the horticulture department at John Marshall High School. The community garden/orchard is intended to be placed on Cockayne Farmstead land.

  • 2011 - An exciting relationship with WVU's Landscape Architecture Department has just solidified as a senior in the landscape architecture program will be undertaking the project of creating a site design for the Farmstead during the Spring 2011 semester. She will be supervised by Peter Butler, Assistant Professor of the Landscape Architecture Department, who is experienced with National Park Service guidelines. As the National Park Service recommends both a Cultural Landscape Study and Archaeological Study, the committee is making efforts to complete these two important studies.
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    This is the tri-fold brochure created by Amanda Beckett and Michael Kotson of John Marshall High School's AP English Class.

    Click to enlarge

    Click to enlarge


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