What's Happening in Thomas - September

Meetings
9/11: Thomas Planning Commission meeting – 6:00 pm @ Thomas Ed. Center
9/12: Thomas City Council meeting - 6:30 pm @ Thomas City Hall

Live Music
9/1: Humming House- 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/2: Jason Ring- 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/2: Sol Driven Train– 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/3: Jason Ring- 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/3: Black Masala – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/4: Jason Ring- 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/4: Zach Brock- 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/7: Todd Burge - 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/8: The Stray Birds- 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/9: Joshua Rich- 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/9: Meadow Run- 6:00 pm @ Mountain State Brewing Co.
9/9: Peter Mulvey – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/10: Joshua Rich- 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/10: Aurora Celtic – 7:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/14: Hustle Souls – 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/15: David Wax Museum: Electric Artifacts Tour - 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/16: Mike P. Ryan – 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/17: Mike P. Ryan– 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/22: Chad Elliot, with Tommy C. Lewis– 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/23: Bob Keel– 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/23: Belle of the Fall- 3:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/23: EMay- 6:00 pm @ Mountain State Brewing Co.
9/23: The Railsplitters – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/24: Bob Keel - 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/24: Belle of the Fall - 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/28: Diane Cluck – 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/29: Mo’ Mojo – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/30: The Truehearts – 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
9/30: The Soda Pop Gypsies Band- 6:00 om @ Mountain State Brewing Co.
9/30: The Way Down Wanderers – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle

Check out Purple Fiddle and Mountain State Brewing Co. online for times and more details.

Other Happenings
9/2: Art Crawl – 7:00 pm @ Front Street
9/2: Art Opening: Joshua Miller's “Implements: Wooden Sculptures” - 7:00 pm @ Lamplight Gallery
9/2: Art Opening: Lisa Elmaleh's "The Lightness & The Dark"- 7:00 pm @ The White Room
9/22-9/24: Leaf Peepers Festival

Regular Happenings
Stop for lunch at Tip Top for Mediterranean Monday with both delicious meat and vegetarian options. Mediterranean Monday will take place from 11 am – 2 pm.

Check out Tip Top's Burger Night every Friday evening starting at 6 pm and Sunday Brunch weekly from 10 am-2 pm.

Community Mountain Yoga every Wednesday at 6 pm in the Thomas Education Center. Donations encouraged! Check blog for updates. 

Purple Fiddle hosts an Open Mic Night every second Tuesday of the month starting at 8 pm.

To submit events for next month’s newsletter, email details to mail@newhistoricthomas.com by the 25th of the current month.

 

Saying "Goodbye for now" to Thomas

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

When I first arrived in Thomas late August 2016 as an AmeriCorps member for New Historic Thomas, I learned that Thomas was more rural and more magical than I thought it would be. Then, the winter happened. This Georgia girl was not mentally prepared for the cold. Thomas' "mild winter" by local standards proved to be bitter cold and tough on my morale. But, I got to trudge in the snow, shovel the sidewalks, and go sledding and cross country skiing for the first time in my life. 

While in Thomas, I have met so many wonderful people who quickly embraced me as a part of the community. I've loved being able to wander around Front Street and run into people who I knew. I've loved being able to walk home at night and see the Milky Way, even with the glare from street lights. I've loved how "traffic" meant a few cars on Front Street. 

My service with New Historic Thomas has allowed me so many opportunities to learn and accomplish cool projects. I had the chance to start the Thomas Times newsletter and see its following grow. I got to work with a committee and professionals to create a business map promoting Thomas—it's still in the works but coming very soon, by the way. I had the chance to work on addressing Thomas and Davis' needs through helping to write a comprehensive plan. I also got to co-teach a Mountain Laurel Spanish Camp! Most importantly, though, serving with New Historic Thomas has allowed me to become a helper and friend to Thomas and its lovely, interesting, lively, and resilient residents—"locals" and "transplants" alike. 

I am so grateful to have lived and served in Thomas and Tucker County for a year. As I'm writing this, it is still mid-August. I plan on returning to Georgia for the total solar eclipse on August 21st. I have applied to positions in the Atlanta-area and am excited to see what I will be doing next. I plan on returning to Thomas to visit, so it's not "goodbye," Thomas; It's "see ya later." 

New Historic Thomas has selected a new AmeriCorps member who will be taking over for me in mid-September. She'll be working on a variety of projects, including the Thomas Times. To anyone who's reading this, make sure to give her a warm welcome!

People of Thomas: Joe Dumire

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

When I asked Joe Dumire if I could interview him, he agreed right away and forwarded me some already-written documents about his family history and memories of Thomas. Joe is Thomas' resident historian, and he has his heritage as a descendant of one of Tucker County's large (nine children) pioneering families, as well as his upbringing in Thomas, to thank for his interest in history. "Every Dumire in this country is descended from one of those nine children," he said with a smile. Over the years, Joe has filled thirteen four-inch three-ring binders of Dumire and related family genealogy. 

Growing up in Thomas in a "pretty formal house" at the top of Brown Street, Joe had the chance to meet people from all over Europe who moved to Brown Street. "You knew your neighbors" back then, he said with nostalgia. He talked about learning songs in Lithuanian in elementary school, and he talked about going over to see his Italian great-aunt who would hold a "feast of the seven fishes" on Christmas—he never had fish that good since that time, he said.

Joe reminisced about growing up in Thomas when kids, and even teachers, would go to The Varsity, a soda fountain and fun eatery and gathering place in Thomas. Joe misses seeing the live Polka shows, and he even laughed about how the boys in Thomas would go down to the dam to skinny dip. 

However, there were times in Thomas, he said, that were very sad. During the Vietnam War, for example, Joe remembers at least one boy who was killed. He then said that the job market dried up and people moved on, including him. Joe left Thomas for for forty years. He studied Journalism at WVU, but he said " by the time I graduated, journalists were a dime a dozen," so he moved for work to Canaan Valley, Morgantown, Oakland, Elkins, and then to Fairmont, until he came back to Thomas. 

He said that after coming back to Thomas, it has been "nice to see a lot of these store fronts occupied again." Joe likes to "stroll up and down the streets and check out the shops." 

Since returning, Joe has been an active member of the community. He is Chairperson of the Tucker County Historic Landmarks Committee, Chairperson of the Rose Hill Cemetery Committee, advisory member of the Tucker County Cultural District Authority, advisory member of the Thomas Planning Commission, and member of the Tucker County Historical Society. "If I'm gonna complain," said Joe, "then I want to be involved." Joe says that we're so fortunate to have this quiet community surrounded by forest, nature, and cooler temperatures. Joe's concerned about deforestation and water pollution. "We just don't realize how fortunate we are here," he said, and he encourages people to be involved in Thomas and County groups. "If you're not happy and want to complain," he said, "get involved and get things done." 

Cortland Acres' High Tunnel is Flourishing

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

Back in October of 2016, Cortland Acres cut the ribbon on its very own high tunnel green house constructed in collaboration with the WV Department of Agriculture. Cortland Acres started the high tunnel so that residents could have access to fresh vegetables all year long. Cortland Acres' kitchen has a large plot for growing produce, and residents of Pineview Apartments can have their own plots for vegetables and flowers. 

Back in November, the high tunnel looked much different than it does now. If you walk into the high tunnel today, you'll see the green house bursting with vegetables including squash, cabbage, peppers, and tomatoes. Butterflies flutter throughout, and you may spot a happy resident tending to a vegetable plot. 

Before in November 2016

Before in November 2016

After in August 2017

After in August 2017

Mary Mullenax with her beets

Mary Mullenax with her beets

Mary Mullenax, pictured, grows beets, zucchini, red onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and flowers. Mary says that "Cortland High Tunnel is a real blessing! Together we grow much more than vegetables, flowers and herbs—we grow friendship, build community and reap the rewards of shared pride in accomplishments."

Mary says that it's an experiment for her, growing vegetables. Cortland's high tunnel has allowed her a chance to get away to some peace and quiet, she says, where she can feel a sense of accomplishment after seeing her produce flourish. 

Even as the weather outside starts to grow a little colder, Cortland High Tunnel's lush produce will continue to grow and nourish its gardeners in both body and spirit.

What's Happening in Thomas - August

Meetings
8/8: Thomas City Council meeting - 6:30 pm @ Thomas City Hall
8/14: Thomas Planning Commission meeting – 6:00 pm @ Thomas Ed. Center

Live Music
8/1: The Speedbumps- 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/2: June Star- 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/3: Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboy– 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/4: The Judy Chops- 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/5: Mike Herz – 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/5: Madonnas in a Field- 3:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/5: EMay- 6:00 pm @ Mountain State Brewing Co.
8/5: Joshua Davis Trio- 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/6: Mike Herz - 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/6: Madonnas in a Field- 3:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/6: The Hollows- 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/7: Ben Arnold- 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/11: The Ladles – 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/11: Carpoolparty – 10:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/12: Dan Bankhurst - 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/12: Jonathan Foster – 3:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/12: The Terah Crawford Band – 6:00 pm @ Mountain State Brewing Co.
8/12: Pierce Edens – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/13: Dan Bankhurst– 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/13: Jonathan Foster– 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/13: Weary Space Wanderer- 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/14: Girls, Guns and Glory – 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/16: The Bag Daddies - 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/17: Carpenter Ants - 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/18: Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/19: Rebecca Wudarski – 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/19: Sugarfoot Stompers- 6:00 pm @ Mountain State Brewing Co.
8/19: Folk Soul Revival – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/20: Rebecca Wudarski – 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/20: Qiet– 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/21: Brackish Water Jamboree – 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/22: Roy Schneider and Kim Mayfield– 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/23: Trevor Reichman – 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/24: Jenny Parrott– 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/25: Mipso – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/26: The Darkest Timeline– 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/26: Benny Bassett – 3:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/26: Black King Coal – 6:00 pm @ Mountain State Brewing Co.
8/26: Bastard Bearded Irishmen – 8:30 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/27: The Darkest Timeline– 1:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/27: Benny Bassett – 3:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle
8/31: Mean Mary & The Contrarys – 8:00 pm @ Purple Fiddle

Check out Purple Fiddle and Mountain State Brewing Co. online for times and more details.

Other Happenings
Every Friday- Taste of Tucker Farmer’s Market – 4:00pm-6:00 pm @ Thomas Riverfront

Regular Happenings
Stop for lunch at Tip Top for Mediterranean Monday with both delicious meat and vegetarian options. Mediterranean Monday will take place from 11 am – 2 pm.

Check out Tip Top 's Burger Night every Friday evening starting at 6 pm and Sunday Brunch weekly from 10 am-2 pm.

Community Mountain Yoga every Wednesday at 6 pm in the Thomas Education Center. Donations encouraged! Check  blog  for updates. 

Purple Fiddle hosts an Open Mic Night every second Tuesday of the month starting at 8 pm.

To submit events for next month’s newsletter, email details to mail@newhistoricthomas.com by the 25th of the current month.

 

A Sneak Peek of Front Street Grocers

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

We've all been waiting for Front Street Grocers to reopen since their "pause for updates" in late February. During Mountaineer Days, Front Street Grocers opened their doors once more to offer popsicles, pretzels, and sesame noodles made fresh from the grocer's kitchen.

Popsicle flavors included coconut cacao, watermelon mint, and cranberry pomegranate lime, to name a few of the many flavors. The sesame noodle bowl proved a fresh and tasty alternative to all the fried deliciousness available on the rail grade.

The new owner of Front Street Grocers, Ash Keane.

The new owner of Front Street Grocers, Ash Keane.

Front Street Grocers announced on Facebook that the "opening date is in sight." The store is still committed to bringing Thomas the same top quality of food as before but with a new owner this time around. Ash Keane, Front Street Grocer's new owner, is the former manager of The Mountain People's Cooperative, a natural foods market in Morgantown. 

I'm sure many of us in Thomas are growing hungrier in anticipation. In the meantime, if you're interested in working for Front Street Grocers or using its community kitchen space, email Ash at ash@frontstreetgrocers.com. 

Nellie Rose's Public Art in Progress

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

Have you seen the newly-painted squares on the side of the building between Spruce Street and Ash Alley? The artist behind this piece, Nellie Rose Davis, took some time to sit down with me to discuss her work.

Nellie Rose Davis

Nellie Rose Davis

"I really love the location of [the building] because Spruce Street hasn't yet been spruced up, you know," she said.

Nellie says that this is her first time painting the outside of a building. As a person who normally works with dye and textiles on a smaller scale, painting a building is a different beast. First off, the "canvas" is so big. Also, Nellie noted that the paints don't layer and mix like her dyes. Nevertheless, she says there will be "a lot of colors" on the building. 

Nellie started the first week of July. Since then, neither the rain nor the heat have been conducive to painting outside, but Nellie is slowly but surely making progress on the squares. Nellie is open to anyone who wants to help further this project along. 

Like with her textiles, the process is meditative. She mostly paints alone in the evenings before the sun has completely set, and she listens to music or podcasts while she paints. The repetition of painting the squares adds to this meditative quality.  

Nellie says her favorite part of the process is slowly seeing her painting come to life. "I didn't know it would look cool before it was done," she said. The building is "an identifier that there's something weird brewing here," and it's a prime spot for both locals and people passing through, she said. 

Nellie is "really grateful" to the Public Art grant generated by New Historic Thomas, Woodlands Development Group, the Tucker County Cultural District Authority, and ArtSpring. Nellie says without funding from these groups, she would not have been able to do this public art project. 

Nellie will continue working on this piece in the evening. If you're driving by Ash Alley or Spruce Street, please be mindful of that fact and make sure to slow down so as not to startle Nellie while she's painting. 

 

People of Thomas: Kathy Helmick

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

Kathy Helmick is a familiar face in Thomas. When she's not working during the day as Clerk and the face of City Hall, you can find her tending to her ducks and twenty-three chickens at her home in Leadmine or helping to fight fires for the Thomas Volunteer Fire Department. 

Kathy grew up in Hambleton and was part of the first graduating class at the new High School. Growing up the only girl with three brothers, she had to "learn to be rough and tough," and "the only vacation we ever knew was a camping trip." Kathy reminisced about the "good swimming holes back then." Naturally, summer is Kathy's favorite time in Thomas. "I hate the cold," she says, but "winters are not like they used to be," she said. "One time I don't think we saw the pavement for a couple of months at a time."

She came to Thomas is 1980 after getting married to her then husband. Later on in 2002, she moved to Leadmine and moved to a house where she said "I can stand on my front porch and throw a rock into the creek."

Kathy talked about working waitress for many years. She loved getting to interact with people and seeing how the food she served them or the smile on her face made the customers happy. She started working at Penn Avenue Dairy in Parsons when she was a kid, and she worked in restaurants until 2004.  She started working at City Hall in 2008 and then noted the differences in Thomas now and Thomas when she was younger: "It has gotten a lot more fast-paced here," she said, and there are "many more young people," than in the past. 

Even though Kathy moved close to Thomas in 2002, her family always came to Thomas to watch the fireworks. "They just get bigger, and the crowds have gotten bigger," she said. Kathy helps prepare for Mountaineer Days. After this year's fireworks, Kathy served at the Thomas VFD breakfast, making "three and a half 18-quart roasters full of sausage gravy," she said. Serving with Thomas' Volunteer Fire Department isn't all about fireworks and sausage gravy, though. Kathy is always prepared for fires. "I have the radio with me right now," she said. 

Kathy is even on the Leadmine CERT—Community Emergency Response Team. "When you're in a secluded area," she said, "you have to take care of each other." During Super storm Sandy when the roads were near-impossible to navigate, Kathy made it her mission to check on her neighbors and the elderly. She also noted that offering moral support is an important function of CERT. In the interim time between an accident and responder's arrival, words of encouragement, Kathy said, make all the difference. 

Thank you, Kathy, for all the work you've done for Thomas and beyond.

Happy 4th of July!

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

Thomas celebrated American Independence a few days early with the annual Mountaineer Days celebration. Thomas welcomed people from all over to enjoy the July 4th 2017 weekend here. Music filled the air as people poured into the streets to watch the parade, eat funnel cakes and barbecue, browse vendors and open shops, and watch Thomas' legendary fire works. 

New Historic Thomas would like to thank the Thomas Volunteer Fire Department for putting on such an incredible fire works display this year. 

We wish you a happy 4th of July!

People of Thomas: Seth Pitt

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

"I was one of those kids who couldn't draw—or believed I couldn't draw," said Seth Pitt, resident artist, owner and of Creature, and co-owner of The White Room Art Gallery. In the third grade, he didn't draw; rather, he started writing poetry. Seth continued to write poetry in his down time working at a cell phone accessory kiosk.

Then, something seemingly insignificant happened. After years of believing that he couldn't draw, Seth started doodling for self amusement. "Self amusement," he said, "was my approach to making art, and it never really changed." "I started with doodles and then moved to stick men doing particular things with hearts," he said. 

Like with any notable artist, Seth's approach and lack of formal training gave way to the much-loved peculiarities in Seth's artistic style: "I never learned how to draw a face facing you. If you look...they're all facing that way or the other way. Ninety percent are facing away," he said as an example. 

Seth says that he learned how to draw in Thomas after he moved here twelve years ago. Seth Pitt is from a "little tiny, tiny town" from the South Central Michigan cornfields. "I thought I was going to come live here and then move on to another place. That changed really quickly," he said. What Seth loved about Thomas that made him stay was feeling Thomas' strong sense of community.

Seth was here making art along with others in Thomas when they decided to have a community art show in their apartments, hosting strangers who came to look at their art.

After that, the artists, which include Seth, Nathan Baker, Robin Quinlivan, and Sarah Hubbard, decided to rent their storefront and open up The White Room. Seth said they invested less than $150 in the storefront, and they asked friends to show their work there. "It was a horrible business idea at the time—it was just good for us," he said. 

Seth opened up Creature a year ago. He had wanted his own space but was never able to afford it. He then started to ship his art to be sold at galleries around the country in order to afford rent on the storefront. 

"I think all three galleries [on Front Street] are here as mini-museums as much as they are retail spaces," he said. 

"Being an artist in Thomas I believe is building on a tradition of resilience and creativity that I feel has been here since the town existed," he said.  With a community of people living on a mountain for 110 years, he said, of course there has been creative energy here in Thomas. 

Inspired by the hard work and creativity throughout Thomas' history, Seth continues to think about how he can re-invent Creature. 

He now has a greeting card rack, which he'd like to have in other locations around the country, as well as a kid's art area, a button table, and a comfy couch for reading, chatting, and contemplating the universe. 

Check Seth's website to read his bio, browse, and shop his art.