Madie Carroll House



HUNTINGTON -- The oldest structure in Cabell County, the Madie Carroll House,
 has quite a colorful history that preservationists are trying hard to continue.

Built before 1810, the house became one of the area's first mobile homes when it floated down the river from Gallipolis by flatboat.

Since then, the log cabin structure, located at 234 Guyan St., in the historic Huntington neighborhood of Guyandotte,
has been an inn, the county's first Catholic church, and in its most famous hour a focal point in the Civil War when
the iron-willed Mary Carroll somehow convinced Union soldiers who were torching homes all around her to move on.

To continue to be that beacon of history, the Madie Carroll House Historical Preservation Society, Inc.,
which has been preserving and protecting the home and the area's rich Civil War legacy since 1984,
is launching a new campaign to reel in more folks to be part of the team of volunteers helping preserve
the historic structure and carry on living history presentations during the home's series of annual events.

The society's secretary, Karen Nance, and her husband, Johnny, have spearheaded many of the efforts through the years,
 and they have about 40 to 45 members in the society, but she said they are looking to add to the
membership to enhance what the house can offer.

"We are hoping that the membership we have can boost up the amount of giving and that we can get more
 people involved in the organization," Nance said. "We are wanting to get more people to join us.
We know that some community members can't afford to pay a lot so we have kept membership dues
really low for years, but we are thinking that because we have cuts and we are not sure
what the future brings it is a good time to boost up our membership."

Those cuts are from the state's fairs and festivals grants that help keep the lights on at the historic house.

The Madie Carroll House hosts a school day as part of Civil War Days in Guyandotte that draws about 400 kids
at multiple historic stations throughout Guyandotte, as well as monthly meetings, an annual Easter egg hunt,
 an annual Christmas tour with caroling, a school tour for Guyandotte Elementary kids in May,
as well as a June heritage day to coincide with West Virginia Day.

Nance said they lost about $600 of the $5,000 in allocations they get from the state.

"It pays our utilities and insurance for the year, and the other things we need done we can
raise money or write a grant, but we need that base money to keep the lights on," Nance said.

Memberships are as low as $5 annually, but they are looking for folks to join them at the $25 level and the $50 level.
With the $25 level folks get an 18-month calendar filled with historic paintings by member Debbie Richardson, and
at the $50 level members receive a copy of the calendar as well as as a bicentennial book that the society created in 2010.

Anyone interested in joining the society can contact the Nances at 304-736-1655,
or stop by the next society meeting which is set for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at the house.

Nance said they would love to see more folks interested in the house,
which has a modern history of groups helping restore it.

A local piano teacher and community leader, Madie Carroll willed the historic home to her nephew, Lewis Carroll.
 The house became the Historic Madie Carroll House in 1973 when it was placed on the National Register
 of Historic Places. The Carroll family deeded the house to the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation
District in 1984, and it is now being restored by the Madie Carroll House Preservation Society, Inc.

The society has always needed community help to do so and it has been
the site of some 16 Eagle Scout projects that have shored up the home.

In 2011, three signs were placed at the home as part of the nationwide
Civil War Trails that has more than 1,300 historical markers across the region.

Nance said the biggest need right now is fixing up the interior of the barn out back where they hope to
house a good part of the group's Civil War displays so that the home can go back to
looking like a more authentic Civil War era home without displays.

"We have the materials, we need another Boy Scout doing an Eagle project
or someone to help with the interior of the barn," Nance said.

Nance said once the barn, which already has heat and air, is secure, they can really move the project forward.

"We have someone with a good-sized Civil War collection he wants to give us, but we are tying to get that
secure before we get it," Nance said. "Johnny is re-doing the barn door, and there are no other openings in it,
it has heat and air, and once it is done it will be pretty secure. We are putting up security cameras and have
security at the Madie Carroll House. We just need to finish the inside up,
and get some help and funding for that purpose."

Search on Facebook for the Madie Carroll House Preservation Society, Inc., for more information.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on July 14, 2016


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