Homesteader Descendent Profile: Terry Day

Terry Day’s father, Robert, “Bob,”  Day, called Arthurdale “Utopia.”  For Terry Day, a homesteader descendent on both sides of his family, growing up in Arthurdale was a treasure that he did not fully appreciate until years later.  Both sets of Terry’s grandparents, the Rebers and the Days, were original homesteaders who came to Arthurdale in the 1930’s.   I spoke with Terry via Zoom to find out what it was like growing up in “Eleanor’s Little Village.”   More than anything, what he took away from those years was the great sense of family, neighbors, and hard work.  

Terry Day

In a poem that Terry wrote about the founding of Arthurdale, he captures this idea of community in the lines: “A new heritage then arose, / celebrating success and family legacies. / Bringing homesteaders together, neighbors close.”  For Terry’s family, Arthurdale has been a place to call home.  His father was one of several men from Arthurdale who served in World War II, and after the war, he returned home to Arthurdale where he married Edna Reber Day.  For a time, the young family lived in different places in Reedsville and Arthurdale before settling permanently on the SR-5 homestead where Terry grew up.  As a child, Terry would visit grandparents, cousins, friends, and neighbors around Arthurdale.  One of his favorite memories was just walking the streets of the town with his friends, talking and reminiscing and, rarely, getting into some trouble as well – something that Terry said is difficult for adolescent and teenage boys to avoid entirely.  After graduating from Valley High School in 1967 and attending WVU for three years, Terry graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and moved with his wife to New Jersey where they would raise their family.  But Arthurdale and the community here remained something that Terry could not fully leave, and he made frequent trips home with his family so that his sons too could experience the wonderful place where Terry grew up.  

The history classes Terry took in school, even those on United States and West Virginia history, failed to mention the legacy of Arthurdale and other Homestead Communities, but Terry maintains that this place is an important part of history that deserves to be remembered.  The creation of Arthurdale Heritage, he said, was visionary, and he is hopeful that the legacy of the original Arthurdale project can be continued by AHI and those who work there rather than falling prey to apathy.  Although Arthurdale’s history may be overlooked in standard curricula, the people who know about it are often excited to know more.  Living in New Jersey, Terry has met numerous people who have come across mentions of Arthurdale in books about Eleanor Roosevelt or the New Deal and who, upon learning that Terry grew up here, are excited to talk to him about it.  Terry would often boast to them that he actually met Eleanor and shook her hand when she came to the dedication of the Community Presbyterian church of Arthurdale.  Even from several states away, Arthurdale remains an important part of Terry’s life.

A few Terry Day creations

In thinking about his future as a young adult, Terry had to decide between going to art school or pursuing a Pre-Med track at WVU.  Ultimately, after choosing Pre-Med, he switched to Radiology/Nuclear Medicine Technology and embarked on a 45+ year career in the healthcare field at the local hospital in Mount Holly, New Jersey.  Now though, Terry’s interests have come full circle as creates some of the beautiful pieces sold in our craft shop at Arthurdale Heritage.  From his parents and grandparents, Terry learned self-sufficiency and how to work with his hands.  These skills allowed him to become a mostly self-taught artist, though Terry does give credit to what he learned from shop class with Charlie Helmick at Valley Junior High.  

When I asked Terry if he had any favorite items that he made for the craft shop, he mentioned a few different things that draw on his love of Arthurdale. His paintings, which can be found in the craft shop, are something he is particularly proud of because he only began painting again in 2019, after a brief go at it in 1989.  Terry is a self-taught artist who was inspired by Arthurdale and painted scenes inspired by the area.  We have also been very fortunate to receive miniature Co-Op tractors that Terry made based on pictures of the real tractors that were made in Arthurdale between 1939-1940.  Finally, Terry mentioned his poem, “Arthurdale.”  By Terry’s own account, he’s not much of a poet, but the words to this poem came to him in a dream, and he had the foresight to write them down before he forgot.  

“We’re part of history,” Terry said in talking about Arthurdale.  The family roots and lifelong friends that tie him to this place are something that Terry values, and we at Arthurdale Heritage are honored to maintain a connection with Terry and to see all the beautiful art that he continues to make.   As Terry says in his poem, the homesteaders came to Arthurdale to forge a better life, and we continue today to celebrate and preserve their legacies.  “It didn’t occur to me until later on what treasures we had,” Terry said, but he is very  grateful today to have grown up  here and to help continue the legacy of Arthurdale for future generations.

Terry Day’s items in the craft shop will be on special display for our holiday open house, which will begin on December 6. We hope you stop in and take a look around!

Construction Begins at Arthurdale

Urgently needed repairs were finally able to begin thanks to YOUR generous support! YOU helped us raise $25,000 to make this project a reality. Total project cost is almost $50,000!

Your support combined with 50% matching “federal funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and administered by by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History” has made this preservation possible. Thank you so very much!! #ThisPlaceMatters #ArthurdaleHeritage #EleanorRoosevelt #NewDealCommunity

Operations continue here as we work to reopen June 1.


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Remembering William “Bill” Bauer

Sadly, we share with you news of the passing of William “Bill” Bauer. On January 4th, Arthurdale gained another angel when Bill was reunited with his beloved wife Barbara. Bill and Barbara lived in one of the historic Arthurdale homes and raised six children there. Many of us have wonderful memories of playing in the Bauer home as kids with Linda, Hank, Eddie, Jack. Suzy and Nancy.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., P O Box 850, Arthurdale, WV 26520 or online at: Please include a note stating your gift is for the William and Barbara Bauer Family Legacy. Donations in lieu of flowers may also be sent to the Arthurdale Cemetery.

Friends will be received at Morgan Funeral Home in Reedsville, WV on Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 from 2 – 8:00PM and on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 from 10Am until the 11:00AM funeral service. Interment will follow at the Arthurdale Cemetery.


AHI featured on WBOY’s Roaming West Virginia

Last Saturday morning, a man stumbled upon Arthurdale Heritage. He said he had just spent the day driving around Preston County, looking for unique things to feature on Roaming West Virginia. He was pleasantly surprised to discover Arthurdale! Check out the article and video here!

“You can certainly make a day out of it, or a whole weekend out of it. This is just a small portion of what this part of West Virginia has to offer. “

Why Join AmeriCorps at AHI

Why join AmeriCorps at Arthurdale Heritage?

After graduating from WVU last year with a degree in International Studies, I decided to take an AFHA AmeriCorps position at Arthurdale Heritage. My year of service here has been incredible. It’s not only a great resume booster, but also the perfect transition from college to a career. Thanks to the meaningful work we do here, I have learned so many new skills and can now market myself in so many different directions. I’ve seen improvements with my public speaking, confidence, networking, marketing and communication, people skills, and so much more. It also provides invaluable experience if you want to work in the nonprofit world. 

Because of this position, just to name a few examples, I’ve been in the paper twice, on the news once, and on two separate occasions met a WV Senator and a WV Representative. It truly has been a year of personal development, while also making a difference in the community.

About the site, Arthurdale Heritage, Inc. (AHI)

Arthurdale is right next door in Preston County and is a wealth of unique American history. It was the first community created under the New Deal Homestead Subsistence Act. It became Eleanor Roosevelt’s pet project and therefore, she spent a great deal of time here. AHI comprises of the Center Hall complex, Administration building, Forge, old Esso station, and two original homes. One of the coolest things about this AmeriCorps position is that they actually provide housing for their members—a perk not common of other AmeriCorps sites and programs. I get to live in one of the beautiful original homes that the museum owns! Besides a free place to stay while serving for a year, there are other perks to joining AmeriCorps, as well. You get bi-monthly stipends, eligibility for SNAP and other assistance programs, loan deferral, and upon completing your term, you receive an education award of nearly $6,000 that can go towards more schooling or towards student loans.

The community is so fun to work with, too! Being a small nonprofit, we rely a lot on volunteers and fundraising. Those two struggles, believe it or not, are some of the best parts of working here. Many of the volunteers are descendants of original homesteaders or grew up in Arthurdale their whole lives, so they have amazing stories to share. Just being a part of this community alone has made my time here worthwhile.

What do you do?

Day-to-day activities can range from giving tours, to planning events, handling the social media page, helping with unique classes (from weaving to baby goat yoga), volunteer recruitment and management, and overall doing what you can to help the small non-profit museum. You can also attend an array of seminars, courses, conferences, and receive free admission into events to represent AHI, such as Cheat Fest. Serving here is pleasant, fulfilling, and fun! AHI gets two AmeriCorps members a year which makes it even more enjoyable. Serving at AHI has been one of the best decisions I’ve made upon graduation. Both of us AmeriCorps members are grateful for this experience and want to share it with some of those unsure of what to do or looking to serve next year.

New donations for our collections

A BIG thank you to Tom Belmaggio for donating two photos, three reflectors, and two sets of post office boxes!! The reflectors were made in the forge and had come from Wagner house U3. The post office boxes are from the original post office, which was a part of our Center Hall complex, located right next to the Craft Shop. It is so neat to have these items back here to display!

The post office likely moved to its current location in the ’60s. Two postmasters that worked at the original location, however, were Mr. Lovett and Mr. Vanaman. Does anyone have any information about the original post office that they could share with us?

Storyteller Mentions Arthurdale

We wanted to share a recent article from the Appalachian History: Stories, Quotes and Anecdotes website. Storyteller Judi Tarowsky shares her father’s unique story during the 1930s when he freelanced newspaper articles and photographs as a WVU graduate student. She describes his experience with his large Speed Graphic camera used to successfully capture photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt during her visits to Arthurdale, WV. This two-part story describes the national attention on the New Deal and the efforts made by Mrs. Roosevelt to improve coal miners’ lives.

Arthurdale WV: poster child for New Deal efforts to ease the suffering, part 1 Continue Reading

United Way Volunteers Pitch in to Help Arthurdale Heritage

Front Row (left to right): Helen Nikirk, United Way coordinator Martha White. Back Row (left to right): Nick Taylor, Chris Hudson II, Brandon Hudson, Chris Hudson Not Pictured: Lora Quince

Volunteers from the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties rolled up their sleeves to help Arthurdale Heritage (AHI). It was all part of the United Way’s Day of Caring. Six United Way volunteers from WesBanco’s Kingwood branch and Allegheny Energy’s Albright Power Station teamed up with AHI volunteers to clean and organize storage facilities at its Center Hall Complex.

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New Deal Festival Celebrates Arthurdale Heritage’s 25th Anniversary

Arthurdale Heritage President Sarah Barnes (left) and AHI Executive Director Jeanne Goodman (right) display Governor Manchin's proclamation declaring July 'Arthurdale Heritage Month.'

Arthurdale Heritage (AHI) is celebrating its Silver Anniversary this July at its New Deal Festival. To kick off the celebration, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin issued a proclamation declaring July ‘Arthurdale Heritage Month.’

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Volunteers Win State Award for Work on Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Garden

The Preston County Master Gardeners have received top honors for their efforts to construct and maintain Arthurdale Heritage’s Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Garden. Master Gardeners Becky Friend, Mildred Lindley, Russ Sanders, and Barb Sanders were awarded the West Virginia Master Gardener Award of Excellence for Outstanding Volunteer Project. The award, given by West Virginia University’s Extension Service, recognizes volunteers who dedicate a significant amount of time and creative effort in gardening and landscaping projects.

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