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Holly River State Park

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1938. East side of WV 20, 2 miles north of Hacker Valley

This state park, West Virginia's second largest at almost 8,300 acres, was established on cut-over woodlands. The Farm Security Administration, which relocated families from the area, reclaimed the land through reforestation. The effort was eminently successful, and now the park comfortably calls to mind childhood images of an enchanted forest. Holly River's collection of CCC structures displays the whole panoply of building materials and techniques that the Depression-era builders employed. Nine cabins, huddled close together, are constructed and faced variously with horizontal logs, vertical logs, shingle, and rubblestone. All have handsome stone chimneys, laid in rubble. A huge stone and timber hexagonal picnic pavilion with two chimneys containing outdoor fireplaces is surrounded by tall hemlocks. On a rainy, misty day it calls to mind a giant mushroom.

The Windy Gap School, reconstructed here in 1991, stands across the road from the picnic pavilion. As a plaque attached to a wall attests, the one-room building served District No. 14, Hacker Valley Township, from 1902 to 1960. Typical of one-room schools that once stood in countless townships throughout the country, the frame building has a one-bay front, three-bay sides, and a gable roof capped with a belfry. The interior has appropriate furnishings.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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