The Hagerstown Aviation Museum won the restoration award. Hagerstown and Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Riford received the advocacy award; and county residents Donald and Mary Jane Spickler received the preservation award Tuesday at the Academy Theater in Hagerstown.
Hagerstown Aviation Museum President John Seburn accepted the plaque for the museum, which focuses on Hagerstown’s aviation history. It features more than 10,000 pieces of aviation-related memorabilia and artifacts, along with 19 aircraft, most of which were built in Hagerstown.
“We’re very grateful to win this award,” Seburn said after the ceremony. “It’s very nice for the museum to be recognized for all the years of hard work since 2005, all the airplanes and all the artifacts.”
Seburn noted the museum’s mission is to preserve Hagerstown’s aviation history.
“A lot of that history was being lost over the years,” he said. “A lot of people didn’t even know airplanes were built in Hagerstown.”
Riford was presented the advocacy award for his work in promoting heritage tourism in the county.
He talked about the importance of investing in historical preservation.
“Visitors want to come, and they want to see buildings, and they want to see sites that they can explore, and walk battlefields that are pristine and maintained, and learn about history and heritage and about people who have gone before us,” Riford said. “A visitor does not necessarily want to come and see a plaque that is set up next to an empty parking lot.”
Riford said after the ceremony that his job is to be a “cheerleader” for the “things that are good” in Washington County.
“It takes a lot of people to be able to save a historic site, to maintain, to stabilize and to restore,” he said. “Being able to tell that story outside of the local area brings a lot of visitors here.”
The Spicklers were presented the preservation award because they donated to the Rural Heritage Museum a family store that the family owned and operated from the 1890s to 1951.
The Fairview Country Store was known as the Shank and Spickler Store, and Don Spickler said the building existed since 1839. He donated it in 2011, after the house next to it burned.
“It was a labor of love to move it to the site,” he said. “We are so impressed by the folks at the Rural Heritage Museum.”
The store needs to be renovated before it can be put on display, but Spickler said he hopes to put products in there that would have been sold there when it was operational, such as eggs and overalls.
“We’re trying to determine how to put that together in a succinct way that folks visiting that store will not only see a building and what it was like, but who patronized it and how those people lived at the turn of the century,” he said.
The Washington County commissioners, members of the Hagerstown City Council, Hagerstown Mayor David Gysberts and local historian John Frye, for whom the awards are named, attended the ceremony.
Washington County Historical Advisory Committee Chairwoman Betty Shank said the awards have been presented for 35 years.
“The fact that Washington County has been giving a historic preservation award for 35 years really demonstrates that it’s important, that preservation does make sense, and that the benefits of preservation can be seen not only for the present, but for the future,” she said.