Life Scout Garrett Ensor from Troop 174 loves history. But he’s not the only one. Joann Powell’s passion for history has led her to be president of the Greene County Historical Society. When 15-year-old Ensor wanted a project worthy of helping him become an Eagle Scout and Powell wanted a way to showcase historic downtown Stanardsville, the pair found just the thing to fill both their needs.
“We have a historical society walking tour, but there is not much about it and there is not a lot of history with it,” Powell said. “I have always wanted a way to get more information about the places on the tour to people as they were walking. When the scoutmaster asked if the historical society had an Eagle Scout worthy project, I told him my idea. Garrett like the idea and took it on as his project.”
Ensor calls the project “a digital map (of Stanardsville) with GPS coordinates matching the information on signs placed at the 27 historical places in Stanardsville.”
Besides developing the digital map and linked information, Ensor wants to purchase durable pressed aluminum signs that would identify the site as part of the tour and give a link to historical information about the site. The informational link will be accessible by computer and smart phone; making the walking tour and its sites more accessible by residents and visitors alike.
Ensor said how he needs the public’s help on his GoFundMe site. He has already done presentations to the Stanardsville Town Council and the Greene Historical Society.
“Where I need your help is to raise $1,350 to purchase the signs and support other expenses,” Ensor said. “I was able to negotiate a price of $45 plus tax for each sign and there are 27 sites so we need help from the community. Additional funds raised will be donated to my sponsor, the Greene County Historical Society. Powell said the historical society will put together a hard copy with photos of the sites and that will be the information available at the link.”
Ensor said Stanardsville is the perfect venue for the digital walking tour project.
“Stanardsville was founded in 1794 and established in 1838 as the seat of Greene County. There are many historical buildings and sites dating from the post-colonial period to the early 20th century. Stanardsville is considered the Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley and was once the last stop prior to crossing the mountains through Swift Run Gap and entering the valley.”
Powell hopes the tour will be a draw for locals and tourists alike.
“I hope it (the digital walking tour) will bring more people into town and improve tourism,” she said. “I think people like the idea of a guided tour. This will support the revitalization efforts in Stanardsville. The schools can also use it as a way to teach local history. Garrett hopes to have it finished by this October.”
To help Ensor complete his Eagle Project, he needs extra funding. Simply go to the GoFundMe and type Garret Ensor in the search box. Donations can also be made at the Greene Historical Society. Just make sure to put Eagle Scout project in the memo line.
The Greene County Historical Society and museum is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at 360 Main St., Stanardsville. Donations can also be mailed to the Greene County Historical Society at P.O. Box 185, Stanardsville, VA 22973. For more information, call (434) 985-1834.