Tucker Culture is much more than simply the name of our organization. But what exactly is it? For some, it’s viewing the explosion of mountain laurel blossoms and six-foot-tall ferns in spring and walking among flagged red spruce trees and crimson bushes in fall. For others, it’s skiing or mountain biking by day and enjoying Appalachian fare, craft microbrews, and live music well into the evening.
If this is your first visit, it might be the feeling you get when you crest that mountain ridge and catch seemingly endless peaks fading into the distance. If you’re a life-long resident or a recent transplant, it might be simply crossing the county line on your way home. But for all of us, Tucker Culture is the beautiful amalgamation of landscapes, people, and history that make this special place what it is today.
From its industrious past as an epicenter of logging and coal mining boom towns to its modern resurgence as a mecca for outdoor recreation across a network of protected lands, Tucker County is unlike anywhere else. Recognizing that special feeling, a group of citizens, business owners, and county officials came together in 2013 to figure out how to harness it. The result was the Tucker County Cultural District Authority (TCCDA), an organization seeking to preserve and advance Tucker County’s unique culture. The TCCDA is authorized by the State of West Virginia under Senate Bill 561.
Tucker Culture Performance Agenda
In 2017, a Performance Agenda was developed to guide the goals, objectives, and strategies guiding the TCCDA. Led by faculty and researchers at West Virginia University (WVU), the Performance Agenda was the result of data gathered from surveys and hours of interviews with county officials, business owners, residents, and tourists.
Read the Performance Agenda HERE.
The Performance Agenda was completed in partnership with the Tucker County Planning Commission, Tucker County Development Authority, Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau, New Historic Thomas, Tucker County Historical Society, Friends of Blackwater, Heart of the Highlands, ArtSpring, Mountain Arts District, and Alpine Heritage Preservation, Inc.
The primary goals in the agenda are to protect Tucker County’s cultural and historical resources, connect recreational, artistic, educational, and historical opportunities throughout the county; enhance cultural resources, and promote the unique elements that set Tucker County apart as a special destination.
The Performance Agenda also identified various entrepreneurial, artistic, and educational projects which will be actively supported through formal partnerships:
Entrepreneur Pitch Contest
WV Highlands Artisan Guild
Cultural Activities in Schools
Basket Making, Quilting, Stained Glass
Each year, TCDA awards grants to organizations working to improve various aspects of life in Tucker County. Whether it’s promoting environmental conservation, celebrating mountain heritage, funding the arts, or improving access to recreation, we seek to help local projects bear fruit. The following is but a sample of local projects that received grant funding in 2019.
Friends of Blackwater
Friends of Blackwater (FOB) is a Thomas-based nonprofit organization working to protect the Blackwater Canyon and surrounding Allegheny Highlands region. Using funds awarded by TCCDA, FOB has been able to build and install interpretive signage along old railroad sites, conduct educational events and guided tours, and to support volunteer efforts to clean up historical sites.
Snowsports Museum of West Virginia
The Snowsports Museum of WV (SSMWV) was founded to collect, record, preserve, and promote the heritage and history of Tucker County’s rich winter recreation culture that continues to thrive today. The TCCDA grant will allow the SSMWV to break ground on its proposed site in early 2021.
Woodlands Development Group
Woodlands Development Group (WDG) is a Randolph County-based social enterprise nonprofit organization working to improve communities in eastern West Virginia. WDG is using its TCCDA grant funds to continue restoration work on the historic Cottrill’s Opera House located in downtown Thomas.
Voices of Change
From progressive artists in Thomas and adventure-seekers in Davis to conservation-minded visionaries in Canaan Valley and traditional Appalachian culture lovers in Parsons, Tucker County is full of unique and visionary voices.
These diverse voices have put aside their differences and discovered common ground through a shared love for this special place. From that shared sense of community, these voices speak to improve and promote the outstanding opportunities that exist and have yet to be discovered in our mountains. The combined chorus of these voices create Tucker County’s unique mountain culture that draws folks from far and wide.
Feature photo by Dylan Jones