WILLIAMSON – The Williamson Fieldhouse was recently presented an award from the W.Va. Division of Culture and History as a historic landmark.
The event was held Sunday, October 16 as part of the National Historic Preservation Act at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, W.Va.
Thousands of buildings and districts were nominated, but only a few were chosen and the local fieldhouse was one of those that received the historic designation. In all, 50 individual historic resources were chosen, 50 historic districts and 15 historic landmarks.
Local civic leader Dee Kapourales, who was at the event for one of the many organizations she represents, was at the dinner and accepted the award on behalf of the city of Williamson.
The flyer stated that the Williamson Fieldhouse is located in the Williamson Memorial Park, which includes one multi-purpose field and a smaller Little League Field. “Planning for the facility began by the City of Williamson in 1946 to memorialize World War II veterans. Completed in 1951, the Williamson Fieldhouse can seat up to 6,000 spectators. Sports competitions, community events and entertainment shows take place in the facility which is still in use,” the flyer stated.
Locals know how valuable the fieldhouse is and can recall the many great athletic events that have been held at the facility. Many great basketball players have played in its hallowed halls.
Barbara Wyatt, a Historian for the National Park Service, served as the keynote speaker. She is a landscape specialist for the National Register and National Landmark programs of the National Park Service based in Washington, D.C.
The Matewan Historic District also received an award. The flyer talked about the history of downtown Matewan and the historic buildings in that Mingo County town. It also mentioned the May 20, 1920 gun battle between Police Chief Sid Hatfield and coal company detectives which resulted in several deaths.
Randall Reith-Smith, Commissioner of the W.Va. Division of Culture and History, was one of the presenters. Smith told Kapourales he recalled playing basketball in the facility when his high school team came to Williamson.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)