Brews on Tues: West Virginia

By Stephanie WrightWheeling Young Preservationists

I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t originally intended to use my first submission to Brews on Tues to debunk the whole “West Virginia moonshine” stereotype. Oh yes, we have champion breweries and wineries scattered throughout our hillsides and I can’t wait to tell you about them, but if I were to be honest, truly honest… there is nothing I can think of that better represents the proud heritage of Appalachian libations or long lineage of traditions passed down through generations of hard-working, independent people than the hand crafted spirits created from the grains of our rich earth and mountain springs.

Today I will share three West Virginia distilleries that are crafting artisan spirits the old fashioned way, the way we’ve been doing it in Appalachia since before the Revolutionary war!

heston farm
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Pinchgut Hollow Distillery is a family-owned and operated Americana craft distillery located in Fairmont, WV. The dedicated folks at Pinchgut Hollow have painstakingly restored recipes that have been handed down through generations for over 200 years to create an earthy, honest and authentic whiskey. They also offer an extensive line of novelty and moonshine-style whiskeys in a wide variety of flavors all made from local ingredients, including rhubarb, ramps and are the only buckwheat whiskey producer in the country. They have something for all taste palettes, guaranteed to give you an authentic taste of Appalachia.

Bloomery SweetShine  Plantation Distillery sits on a 12-acre parcel in Charles Town, WV, with an restored 1840s log cabin steeped in history.
This charming mini-distillery produces artisan cordials by hand from

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the farm’s own lemons and raspberries. Yes, lemons in WV! These guys make a limoncello that hands-down rivals any Italian limoncello. In fact, they have over 20 international awards under their belt. But they’re not just about limoncello.

Bloomery Plantation Distillery is the first commercial growers of lemons in the Mid-Atlantic. Along with 40 Italian Santa Theresa Lemon Trees, the Distillery harvests 300 pounds of Hawaiian Ginger and has 2000 Caroline Raspberry plants. Pumpkins, black walnuts and peaches are also purchased from small family farms to create award-winning liqueurs.




At Smooth Ambler, everything is done the old-fashioned way, from grinding their own carefully selected regional grains to labeling and signing each bottle.

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This grain-to-glass craft distillery is bringing spirits alive by pulling the best ingredients from the region with real mountain water and hand selected grain. If you’re ever passing through Greenbrier County, I recommend stopping for a tour and tasting of their hight-quality bourbon, gin and vodka. Every ounce of alcohol that leaves this distillery is hand-crafted and certain to be of the highest quality available.

That wraps up this week’s Brews on Tues! Next time you hear from this Wheeling Young Preservationists it will be to tell you all about whats on tap in Wheeling’s very own micro brewpub (we’re a small town y’all, this is a BIG deal) and some of the awesome local collaborations that are taking place there. For a sneak peek at what I’ll be talking about check out the Wheeling Brewing Company -Cheers!




This May, join the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists to celebrate the benefits and assets of our local historic districts with the social media campaign #LoveYourHD. After threats to local historic districts in Michigan and Wisconsin, we want to raise the level of debate and discussion of the value historic districts provide in planning and economic development for our communities. If these threats to historic districts arise in the other states of the Rust Belt, we hope to rally our combined forces to prevent legislatures from making these catastrophic changes!

Need post ideas? Myth-bust those frequent misconceptions of historic districts in your community. Demonstrate local historic districts play an important part in affordable housing, sustainability, economic development, and heritage tourism. Showcase new businesses that opened in a local historic district. The ideas are limitless!

During Preservation Month May 2016, promote your favorite local historic districts on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more! We encourage your captions to highlight specific ways a local historic district has positively impacted your community. Use the #LoveYourHD hashtag in every post. We’ll repost our favorites to the @RustBeltYP instagram and twitter accounts.

Even better, organize an instameet in your favorite district to explore and promote historic districts to a broader audience. In Indianapolis, Preserve Greater Indy is teaming up with the instagram community @archi_ologie to host the #OldNorthsideLove instameet in conjunction with #LoveYourHD. Let us know if you’re planning an instameet, we’ll share it with the rest of the RBCoYP!

Here’s a great sample of a few before and after photographs from a local historic district in Indianapolis. When the Old Northside was locally designated in 1979, the neighborhood was full of vacant lots and houses in need of reinvestment. Almost forty years later, the Old Northside is an extremely stable neighborhood with high property values. This early commitment to preserving an area allowed the neighborhood to be preserved for future generations. We used current photos, contrasted with photos from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission in 1975, to show this amazing transformation of houses on 13th Street in the Old Northside.

We know
 the power of local historic districts in creating sustainable and vibrant communities. Let’s make sure they can continue their work to save our neighborhoods, commercial nodes, and distinctive places!


By- Nathan Bevil, Young Ohio Presevationists

While the State of Ohio is known for its industrial heritage the sites associated with that history are quite limited. Beyond our cities and villages are all the farms and cross roads communities that make up the Ohio landscape—the barns, fields, cemeteries, roadside stands, and forests that have been inhabited for over 200 years. And then there are the countless resources we don’t see—the archaeological sites that are hidden beneath the ground that tell the long story of Ohioans that predate European contact. All of these sites and places, above and below ground, make up a large part of the story of Ohio. Yet many of them are in danger.

In the State of Ohio historic preservation is only as strong as your local government. In cities and villages you can create just about any sort of local historic preservation ordinance you want. The same is not true for counties and townships. According to the Ohio Revised Code anything outside of a municipality has limited power, meaning that historic and archaeological resources located in those unincorporated areas are at risk.

The loss of rural resources is especially distressing. As farms are consolidated into larger corporate enterprises the need for individual farmsteads is eliminated. Barns, outbuildings, and even the farmhouse can be demolished to make way for more crops. Small crossroads communities, serving the scattered farms within the township, are decimated—too small to remain a village. Small commercial buildings are left to collapse, citizens driving further and further to big-box retailers and strip malls. The community character is lost to rot.

Archaeological resources are even more threatened. Between oil and gas exploration and ever expanding corporate farming there is little to protect archaeological resources if they are uncovered. There has been limited survey of these sites and this has created large problems.

So, what can be done? How can we save these important resources? It all starts with advocacy. Explaining why these resources matter—and how our elected officials and local township and county trustees can do something about it. First and foremost these trustees can agree that these historic resources, wherever they may be within the jurisdiction, are worth investment in repairs and maintenance. Secondly they can seek out the tools available to them to offer protection from outside forces.

As advocates it is also important to talk with your state legislators. Without additional powers granted in the Ohio Revised Code it is difficult to craft ordinances or resolutions to protect historic and archaeological resources. Be an advocate to your legislators to help protect the rural resources that help define Ohio.

YUP 2016: Report from the Flower City

YUP 2016: Report from the Flower City

By Caitlin Meives and Laura Smith, YUP co-founders

Now in our third year, the Young Urban Preservationists (or YUPs!) continue to celebrate all things Rochester, NY. We started off 2016 with a subzero heart bombing event for the former B’nai Israel synagogue. Braving the coldest day of the year with a group of YUPs and school-aged kids from the surrounding neighborhood, we showed some love to this almost 90-year-old building that was abandoned in 2004.

YUP (22 of 28)

Before creating the heart bombs, one of our YUPs (who also happens to be a city school teacher) taught the kids about preservation, what’s cool about these vacant old buildings, and what can be done to re-purpose them so that they benefit their neighborhood. It was really touching to see the kids almost instantly grasp these concepts and jump onto our bandwagon.

We also heart bombed a vacant and deteriorating former brewery:

YUP (26 of 28)

Since February, we’ve been hard at work expanding The Landmark Society of Western New York’s (our parent organization) WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™ coaster project. WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™ is a project that connects people to places. QR codes on the coasters direct bar patrons to a website that provides before/after photos and a few factoids about the building. As I like to say: It’s not a history lesson; it’s a random amalgamation of titillating tidbits; a series of snippets; a window onto the power of change.


We’re reaching out to our favorite local bars and restaurants in Rochester to become a part of this network but ultimately we want to expand throughout western New York (and beyond! Interested in joining our network? Contact Caitlin for more information). On May 21st, we’ll be celebrating the recent expansion of our coaster sites with a WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™ bar crawl in the historic South Wedge Neighborhood.

We also continue to build on some recurring events we’ve established over the past few years. In May, we’re holding the next installment of our Old House Hacks, a series of one-off classes on restoring, preserving, and maintaining historic homes. In July, we’ll host our third annual Bikes, Beers & Buildings, a biking scavenger hunt that highlights some hidden gems of our fair city. We’re also working on a number of behind-the-scenes tours and pop-up events to highlight preservation projects and historic buildings that still need some love and attention.


Find out more about the YUPs and sign up for our enewsletter here.

Follow us on the ‘grams at @youngurbanpres. (#yupROC)

And follow us on Facebook.

Happy Hours With Carrie

Happy Hours With Carrie

By Katy SawyerYoung Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh

One of the best activities of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists meetup in Pittsburgh was our a 2-hour tour of the Carrie Furnace Blast site on Sunday, April 10th. The Carrie site was an extensive complex of blast furnaces for the manufacture of iron for Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead Steel Works (more on Homestead later).

In 1995, as demolition was just beginning on the furnace, In 1996 the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area was created by Congress to preserve and interpret Pittsburgh’s steel industry. The site, which only has one remaining intact blast furnace, was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

An interesting characteristic of the Carrie Furnace site is the incorporation of public art. In the mid 1990’s, a group of artists snuck into the site and worked for almost a year on the beloved Carrie Furnace Deer. There is also extensive amounts of graffiti art throughout the site. Rivers of Steel has chosen to embrace previous artistic endeavors on the site, and has started the new program called Rivers of Steel Arts that supports the interpretation of local history and encourages the re-imagining of familiar places.

Classroom time: Getting schooled by Tom. Photo credit: Katy Sawyer


Classroom time: Getting schooled by Tom. Photo credit: Katy Sawyer

In addition to honoring our industrial heritage and local guerrilla art, Rivers of Steel is continuing the Pittsburgh tradition of stopping at a local pub for a beer after leaving a shift at the mill. It hosts an event called Happy Hours with Carrie on the first Wednesday of every month. A ticket purchased for $20 in advance gets you a 1-hour tour of the Furnace, and one beer at the featured bar after the tour. And the best news – tour guides will be on hand at the bars to have a pint with you! (Or perhaps Tom’s favorite – an Imp & Iron.)

Read on for more info on some of our favorite places that Rivers of Steel is partnering with for Happy Hour with Carrie!

Voodoo Brewery – Homestead, PA / May 4 & August 3

Homestead, PA is located just outside the Pittsburgh City limits on the Monongahela River. The steel mill town is perhaps best known for the 1892 Homestead Strike, one of the most important events in the history of labor relations in the United States (This fun fact has been brought to you by Tour Guide Tom. Thanks, Tom!)

The Waterfront shopping mall replaced the Homestead Works on the Monongahela River in 1999, which has helped the borough regain a robust tax base after dwindling from a population of 20,000 people in 1920 to just 3,165 people in 2010. The outdoor shopping mall with national chain stores and restaurants and a large movie complex has attracted people from all over Pittsburgh to the area for almost two decades.

Despite the localized success of the Waterfront shopping mall, however, the development did little to attract people to the nearby Homestead business district, which is located just over a bordering railroad track from the shopping complex. Enter local businesses to the rescue! Some of these include the hugely successful (but now relocated) Smoke Barbecue TaqueriaBlue Dust Gastropub, and Voodoo Brewery.

Voodoo Brewery opened in early 2015. The Meadville-based brewery purchased a firehouse from the Borough just off its main drag that had been vacant for 25 years. The brew house not only serves thirsty shoppers from the Waterfront shopping mall, but is a big attraction for bicyclists from Pittsburgh. In fact, a bike ride from downtown Pittsburgh to Homestead is just 45 minutes along the Great Allegheny Passage. The Happy Hour with Carrie on August 3 will be held at Voodoo and is co-hosted by the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh!

The second-best thing about Voodoo? Board games! Shown here, from left to right are Mike Panzitta (Young Preservationists Association) and Rebecca Obley (Young Cartographers Association) rocking Where in the US is Carmen Sandiego? Photo credit: Katy Sawyer

The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company – Braddock, PA / June 1 & September 7

Debriefing at Brew Gentlemen after the RBC PGH Summit. Photo by Katy Sawyer

Braddock sits just outside the City of Pittsburgh in the Mon Valley. While Mon Valley towns like Braddock haven’t seen the kind of renaissance that has occurred in places within Pittsburgh city limits (read more about the sometimes disjointed development in Pittsburgh here), there is much potential for a resurgence. Businesses like the Brew Gentlemen and Studebaker Metals have chosen to locate their business along the main corridor, Braddock Avenue. There are many champions in the Braddock neighborhood, from the local block watch members up to Mayor Fetterman, who are all working to bring investment to Braddock while improving the lives of current residents.

Brew Gentlemen was founded by two graduating Carnegie Mellon University students who decided that since they weren’t really into their chosen majors, they’d pursue their other passion: brewing beer! (This fun fact has also been brought to you by Tour Guide Tom. Thanks, Tom!)

We thought we were done talking preservation for the weekend, but thank goodness some friends came to keep the conversation going! Photo by Katy Sawyer

If you live near Pittsburgh or plan on traveling here this summer, be sure to drop in for a Happy Hour with Carrie.

May 4: Voodoo Brewery – Homestead
June 1: The Brew Gentleman Beer Company
July 6: Blue Dust
August 3: Voodoo Brewery Homestead (co-hosted with YPA Pgh)
Sept 7: Brew Gentlemen Beer Company
October 5: Duke’s Upper Deck

RBCoYP Summit Update: Events!

If you’ve registered for our Pittsburgh summit, you should have received an email on Thursday outlining all the great tour options available next weekend. We want to recap these options and share with those who are unable to attend what we’ve planned for our first meetup!

Friday, April 8
Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists Launch Party!

boggs mansion
The Inn on the Mexican War Streets, photo by Dan Speicher
With the help of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Mexican War Streets Society, the RBCoYP is launching the PGH Summit with a bang at the Inn on the Mexican War Streets Bed & Breakfast! The Inn is housed in the historic Boggs Mansion (1888) in Pittsburgh’s Northside.

We’re starting at 7pm, so join us when you get to town (no rush!) to learn about the mansion’s rich history and meet your newest preservation friends! With 70 people from 6 states attending RBCoYP’s Pittsburgh Summit, this party will be a great time to relax and mingle before a weekend exploring all Pittsburgh has to offer.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL! In honor of the craft breweries and distilleries that are playing a role in the revitalization of cities large and small throughout the Rust Belt, we are holding the first ever #beersavesplaces Rust Belt BYOB Craft Beer Competition!

Learn more about the competition and how you can feature your favorite brew (be it beer, cider, or soda) from your home town!

And if you opted to take care of your own lodging for the weekend and still haven’t booked accommodations, please consider the Inn on the Mexican War Streets! RBC attendees are being offered a special rate of $135/night, which includes breakfast.


Saturday, April 9
A Mexican War Streets Walkabout, 11a – 1pm

mexican war streets

Join all the Rust Belt Coalition Summit attendees for a walk around the Mexican War Streets, one of Pittsburgh’s favorite National Historic Districts.

The neighborhood dates back to 1848, around the time of the Mexican War, and many of the streets – Buena Vista, Monterey, Palo Alto, Resaca, Sherman, and Taylor – are named after battles or generals of the war. You’ll see some of the best examples of Pittsburgh row houses, wonderful community gardens, a firehouse that will be converted into a craft brewery, a sanctuary for endangered writers across the world, and a local gem known as Randyland.

Afternoon Breakout Tours!!

We asked, you responded! Thanks to all who took our survey, and here are our winners! If you are joining us in PGH, register today to reserve your spot! Sadly, you can only go on one of these three tours. Unless you’ve invented time travel… in that case, we have many more questions for you!

“Crossroads of the World”: A Hill District Foot Tour / 2:30pm – 5:30pm

From jazz musicians to photographers to playwrights, Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood provided a cultural melting pot where artistic genius was fostered. Today, demolition by neglect and redevelopment threaten many culturally important sites throughout the Hill.

Terri Baltimore, Director of Community Outreach at the Hill House Association, will take us on a walk through the neighborhood highlighting and telling stories about the buildings and (more importantly) the people of “Little Harlem.” Space for this tour is limited to 18 people, so register today!

Northside -> Downtown -> Mt Washington Bike Tour / 2:30pm – 5:30pm

Downtown. Central Business District. Golden Triangle. Whatever you want to call it, we’re going to bike it! And when we’re finished, we’ll take a furnicular up to the top of Mount Washington and see the best-known view of the city.

We’re renting bikes so you can leave yours at home, but don’t forget your bike helmet! You can expect to bike about 6 miles on this tour, and don’t worry – we’re staying in one of the few flat areas of Pittsburgh! Space for this tour is limited to 20 people, so register today!

Steppin’ Out: An Urban Hike on the City Steps / 2:30pm – 5:30pm

The system of Pittsburgh City Steps are the city’s most unique form of transportation, and offer some of the most stunning views of the surrounding areas.

You can expect to hike and step about 3 miles on this adventure. We’ll end at Wigle Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden, where we’ll get a tour of the Barrelhouse and soon-to-open Ciderhouse. Many thanks to Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh for sponsoring the tour!

Pick your favorite of the three and register today!


Sunday, April 10
A Sunday with Carrie / 11am – 1pm

carrie furnace
Carrie Furnace, photograph by David DiCello
The Carrie Blast Furnace is one of the few still-standing furnaces from the days of Big Steel. Part of the Homestead Steel Works (of Homestead Strike Fame), it was one of the largest mills in the United States and one piece of Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire.

Join all of the Rust Belt Coalition Summit attendees on a tour of the Furnace, led by Rivers of Steel’s knowledgeable guides. Cost is $15 per person and can be paid at time of registration or at the door. Please register here for this special event.

After the tour, those who can’t get enough of the RBCoYP can join us in Braddock at Brew Gentleman for a little weekend wind-down.

Packing List

  • A rain jacket, umbrella, or both! Let’s get real here people; it’s April in Pittsburgh.
  • A 6-pack or growler of your favorite local beer, cider, or soda!
  • If you want to go on the bike tour, bring your helmet! We’ll have some extra on hand just in case.
  • Bring fun, because we won’t have any!

That’s about it! We can’t wait to see you next weekend! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at

Plans for Pittsburgh – 2016

Plans for Pittsburgh – 2016

By Chris Driscoll – Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh

2016 is looking to be an exciting year for YPA of Pittsburgh with a number of projects and initiatives both in the pipeline and coming to fruition. First, it’s the City of Pittsburgh’s 200th anniversary, and YPA has been invited by the City to take part in it! We are planning to make YPA’s annual Top 10 Preservation Opportunities of Southwest PA list and release party bigger than ever as one of a number of celebratory events throughout the city this year. The Top Ten is an annual list of threatened sites in Pittsburgh and the greater region that are nominated by the general public and selected by YPA as a good opportunity for preservation and reuse. The list helps form our advocacy and events in the upcoming year (and beyond).

Perhaps more importantly, we’re confident we’ll see one or more of the previous years’ Top 10 sites saved and/or repurposed. With our recent opportunity to hire an Executive Director, Matthew Craig, we’ve had the opportunity to have someone working full-time researching, organizing, and bringing together people from the City to Community Development Groups to investors to figure out sustainable ways to save historic structures. Simultaneously, our board and members have been taking a ground-up approach, using events from bike rides to (everyone’s favorite) heart bombs to get people interested in historic preservation in their neighborhoods and city. We are so excited to be able to fight on both these fronts, and we are being recognized as a legitimate player in the Pittsburgh preservation scene.

The Old Stone Tavern in West End, a 2015 Top Ten site and one of the oldest buildings in Pittsburgh!


We have so many great events and programming planned for 2016. In addition to mainstays like the Top Ten Event and Painting for Preservation, we have two very exciting projects in the works. First, we will be hosting a roundtable event on saving sacred places to discuss ways to address the growing crisis of historic churches finding their way towards a wrecking ball. We are looking for stories of successes, failures, and lessons learned from both Southwest PA and other regions, and we plan to webcast the event, as we know this is not an issue limited to Pittsburgh. If you’re interested in getting in on the conversation, we’d love to talk about it at the summit in April, so grab a YPA member and start the discussion! Second, we are working on a grant to work with local elementary school students to record and edit (with the help of a local historian) a guided tour of one of the neighborhoods in the city. Our goal is to help the kids learn about both neighborhood history and recording and editing, and end up with a podcast that can serve as a template for future tours in other neighborhoods. We’re very excited to have the opportunity to work with elementary- to middle-school students, as we believe anyone of any age can be a young preservationist!

SCA Heartbomb
We heart bombed the Crawford Grill with a group of high schools students through the Student Conservation Association.


Lastly, we look forward to hosting everyone in April. We hope that you will enjoy experiencing our city, making some new friends and sharing ideas on how we can all work to preserve our past for the future, and I’m excited to meet you all, especially at the opening kickoff at the Inn on the Mexican War Streets. I’m eager to talk to all the regional preservation groups about the other side of these organizations: administration. I know we’re all excited to talk about buildings and people and neighborhoods and preservation, but we all need to worry about things like financials, grant-writing, and membership engagement, and it’ll be interesting to discuss the similarities and differences in the ways our organizations have approached them.

One reason I’m particularly excited to meet everybody in April is that the majority of our board are not Pittsburgh natives, which I believe speaks highly of the way the city and region resonates with us and the renewed passion for preservation in Pittsburgh. We are excited to inspire even more people in Southwest PA to share our passion and we look forward to learning about the ways you’ve inspired preservationists in your cities. See you soon!