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History tours start on July 7

By Staff | Jun 18, 2010

Pictured above are Heidi Carbough, left, and Claudia Paycheff who will serve as guides on the living history walking tours, which begin on July 7 in Shepherdstown.

The Historic Preservation Program at Shepherd University is partnering with local agencies to provide historic living history walking tours around Shepherdstown starting July 7 and ending August 1.

According to Dr. Keith D. Alexander, coordinator of the Historic Preservation Program, the tours will correspond with the Contemporary American Theater Festival, which will take place at Shepherd July 9-August 1.

“We’re trying to educate not only town residents but people visiting from out of town,” Alexander said. “The focus will be on the history of the region.”

Shepherd students Claudia Paycheff, a sophomore historic preservation major from Jarrettsville, Maryland, and Heidi Carbough, a senior history major from Hamilton, Virginia, will guide the tours. As characters, the students provide a unique perspective on life in Shepherdstown during the Civil War and in the early 20th century.

Alexander said that the Shepherd Foundation received an anonymous donation to provide further living history tours. The donation will assist in providing costumes and promotions of the tours.

The project is funded in part by the Arts and Humanities Alliance of Jefferson County, Friends of the Shepherdstown Riverfront, and the Historic Shepherdstown Commission, which provides historic accuracy on the tours and costumes.

Alexander said that program gives the students a “wonderful hands on experience.”

“They do research on the characters and Shepherdstown and its relation to the Civil War and the C&O Canal,” Alexander said. “It’s an extension of the classes they’ve had on living history and gives them real world experience.”

Alexander said that the goal of the program is to make people more aware of the history and of Shepherdstown.

“It’s a benefit to the town to showcase what the town has to offer,” Alexander said. “The town is an ideal backdrop for this type of thing; it’s the perfect living stage.”

The tours, which are free and open to the public, will be given Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m., Fridays at 3 p.m., Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tours will begin Shepherdstown Visitor’s Center, located at the Entler Hotel at 129 East German Street.