PARKERSBURG - A master plan for the Henderson Hall Plantation was unveiled Monday to the Wood County Commission.
The plan developed with West Virginia University includes restoration to its turn-of-the century grandeur, development of an on-site research library and artist center. The 200 pages of analysis and recommendations from WVU include a strategic business plan, Henderson Hall advisory board member Tom Crooks said.
"We believe the ultimate outcome of all of this will be a world-class tourist destination like no other in the country," Crooks said. "In many regards what we are working to create will surpass even sites like Williamsburg. We have original documents left behind by seven generations of the Henderson family, furniture, clothing, furnishings, artwork, documents, photographs, journals, books, newspapers; it's an incredible opportunity."
The commissioners contributed $15,000 to the hall a year ago to assist with preparation of architectural drawings and long-term plans for the property. This past spring and summer, soffits and shutters were replaced and work on windows began.
Documents, original textiles, clothing, and other artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the 1700s are being catalogued with the assistance of WVU.
"We are dreaming of creating a research center and library where people can come to access the documents we have at Henderson Hall, as well as an artisans center on location to allow West Virginia artisans to practice their crafts on premise," Crooks said.
"The house and grounds will be restored, inside and out to the way they were at the turn of the century. The property goes down to the river affording a fantastic opportunity for Civil War re-enactments and other history-related activities. That's our vision."
A feature about the mansion in the October tourism section of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer generated a large amount of interest in the hall and resulted in many out-of-town visitors.