Connecting Cultures in Glenville.
The Create West Virginia Conference is the culmination of at least a year of study, collaboration, and discovery . This year, it comes together in a location that reverberates with American frontier history, traditional music, and one of the state's historic centers of learning.
Glenville is an old frontier town most famous for the West Virginia State Folk Festival, one of the first of its kind in the nation. In 1950, Dr. Patrick Gainer established it to honor the heritage of the region's first European settlers. The town owes its existence to hardy 18th century Scots Irish settlers who first called it "The Ford" because of an easy crossing there on the Little Kanawha River. They later named it "The Glen," remembering their native Celtic lands. Dependent on river commerce for its first 125 years, Glenville's economy began transitioning to oil and gas beginning in 1872, with discovery of oil at Letter Gap. In the late 1930s, paved highways replaced the river as the main means of transportation. The town is home to Glenville State College, one of the state's oldest institutions of higher learning.
Gilmer County, one of West Virginia's smaller rural counties, was its own Virginia political jurisdiction as of 1845, when it was formed from Kanawha and Lewis Counties. Scots Irish and German settlers raised sheep, cattle and tobacco, using rushing mountain streams to power farm mills until timber, coal, oil and gas industries grew to dominate the economy. Its roads include an ancient Native American trail (now WV Route 5 and a scenic by-way), and a stretch of old Virginia turnpike, now US Routes 119/33. "The West Virginia Hills," one of the state's beloved old-time songs, was adapted in 1885 from a poem written by Ellen King who was visiting Glenville, and set to music in 1911 by Tanner singing school master H. E. Engle.
Glenville State College
Glenville State College is West Virginia's only centrally located public college. Established in 1872, it grew from its beginnings as part of the State of West Virginia's normal school system for training public school teachers. Today, it prepares students for careers in education, business, land resources, music, liberal arts, sciences, criminal justice, and human services. Dr. Peter Barr, a native of Huntington, WV, and an Innovation Economy champion, is leading the college toward achieving its vision of being the best small public college in the United States.
In March, 2014, GSC was one of three higher education institutions in the nation to win recognition for its collaborative international online learning program from the Collaborative Online International Learning (SUNY COIL) Center.
The Mountain Lakes
This region of West Virginia includes Jackson's Mill, the boyhood home of Civil War General Stonewall Jackson; Stonewall Resort, featuring an 18-hole Arnold Palmer signature golf course; and Bulltown, a 1765 Delaware tribal settlement headed by Chief Bull, now a Historic Area maintained as part of the Burnsville Reservoir. Cedar Creek State Park, a 2, 588-acre preserve five miles south of Glenville, features campsites, pavilions, hiking trails, a recreation center, three stocked fishing ponds, an authentic 19th century one-room school house, and a historic log cabin that is used as the park's check-in center.