By Capri Graham
January 18, 2022 - The Harrison Coal & Reclamation Historical Park may join forces with the Military History Preservation Group to acquire 1,400 acres of land in the area to construct a living history center.
The Harrison County Community Improvement Corp. contacted members of the county historical park in August regarding the possible partnership between the park and the Military History Preservation Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation.
The group, which coordinates historical reenactment events throughout the country, is looking to acquire 1,400 acres of land in the area to build a history center that would include a museum that could draw attention to the region.
The two groups are set to hold their first meeting to discuss a possible partnership at 5:15 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Cadiz Inn, 82468 Cadiz-Jewett Road in Cadiz.
Amy Welch, secretary of the coal park, said the entities were set to meet last year but everything was pushed back due to COVID-19. She said the meeting will give the two groups a chance to discuss the proposed venture.
“This is the first time we’re going to meet face-to-face. … They (CIC officials) think that our two groups would work well together, so it’s going to be an informational meeting just to see what each other is thinking — what do they expect of us and what do we expect of them?,” she said. “They are looking to buy land, and they just thought joining up with other groups would be helpful. What we would bring to the table is the big equipment, and that kind of stuff was useful in war history.”
Welch said the coal park currently leases land in New Athens for its equipment, though members are hoping to utilize some of the future property to expand.
“We have some projects in the works and were happy where we are, but we would like some land to be able to expand. … We’ve had plans for quite awhile for our own museum, because we have a lot of artifacts and different things that would benefit a museum. We just can’t build them on the land we are on now, so we’ve always been looking for something like that,” she said.
If constructed, the Harrison Coal & Reclamation Historical Park’s Mining & Energy Museum would feature mining, construction, transportation, agriculture, logging and oil and gas history, and it would host events.
“This is what made Harrison, Belmont and those surrounding counties great, and we want to keep that alive,” she said of the area’s industrial past.
The coal park group is always looking for volunteers or donations of heavy equipment.
“It’s a great time. We’re always looking for people interested in old mining, old logging, industrial and people who like to run big equipment,” she said.
Meeting dates regarding the partnership will be announced on the coal organization’s Facebook page and website, hcrhp.org. For more information on the possible venture, to volunteer or to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.