HOPE Crew Project Rehabilitates Historic Horse Stables


Five HOPE Crew members work to preserve historic fabric of Skyland Stables at Shenandoah National Park.

The Skyland Stable, constructed in 1939, is located in Shenandoah National Park and is a contributing structure to the Skyline Drive National Historic Landmark District. The stables are owned by the National Park Service and managed by Delaware North Companies, the park concessionaire, who operates the stables to provide trail rides for visitors to the park.

To repair damage caused by water infiltration, ten Corpsmembers of the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia, in partnership with Harpers Ferry Job Corps, completed a nine-week preservation carpentry project to rehabilitate the exterior of the stable. With the guidance of a craft expert and preservation advisor, the HOPE Crew was able to identify and replace deteriorated wooden planks, repair damaged doors, apply stain to the structure, and save a historic structure that would have otherwise been forced out of service.

The stables are now fully operational, and the 1.2 million visitors to Shenandoah National Park can continue to rent horses and utilize the 200 miles of equestrian trails.

Nick E, originally from Chambersburg, PA, joined the Harpers Ferry Job Corps in October and jumped at the chance to work with the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia to gain preservation carpentry skills while rehabilitating a historic building. Nick shared, “I thought working with HOPE Crew would give me some experience to add to my resume. Working closely with the craft expert, I’ve learned about rough cut wood and why white oak [wood type] was chosen over other types of wood for this project.” Nick plans to complete the carpentry certificate program and eventually open his own construction company.

Bill W., Delaware North, “The HOPE Crew did an outstanding job! Corpsmembers were extremely professional and our staff members enjoyed working with them. We look forward to working with this program in the future.”

Matt, stables manager, “Annual visitors are really excited and can tell that the stables look so much better. The horses haven’t said anything yet, but I’ll let you know when they do.”

JAK Kincaid of Citizens Conservation Corps notes that “this was the first project to utilize a Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE) Crew and the quality of the workmanship displayed at the stable was incredible. The CCCWV looks forward to continuing and building on this collaborative partnership, because of its positive impact on our youth and its ability to help develop the leaders of tomorrow.”

HOPE Crew,  which stands for Hands-On Preservation Experience, is a new initiative by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to connect and engage more young people in the preservation movement through crafts training. The Corps Network is the principal partner of the Trust for this initiative.

-Submitted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

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