Skip to Content

Historic preservationist receives prestigious medal

BEAVER, W.Va. (WVVA) As history is often twisted over the years from one agenda to the next, one man has made it his mission to find truth.

Historic preservationist Merle Cold was honored for his efforts on Sunday with one of the most prestigious medals given by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution: the Historic Preservationist Medal.

"It's not often people in this line of work get recognized. It's an unusual honor," said Cole, surrounded by members of the Captain James Allen Chapter in Beaver on Sunday.

Regent Linda Whitman said only a handful are given out each year by the organization. "With all the things he has done over the years, the national organization decided this was the medal he should receive."

Just like history, Cole's work to preserve and understand the past goes way back.

"Merle is particularly interested in documenting the history of the West Virginia State Police. He's done a wonderful job laying out the history there. He's an expert on the mine wars. And he's done so much for the county," said Lisa Clark, Cole's niece who is also a chapter member.

Thanks to Cole's hard work, the chapter members said Raleigh County has one of the only historical marker programs operating in the state. The markers help to keep the local history alive for generations to come.

Still, Cole is troubled by the lack of interest in history in today's society. "Movies, TV, political propaganda, they all twist things. If you don't go do your own research, you'll never know what really happened."

Cole doesn't shy away from deep research and prefers to study subject previously unexplored. For the historic preservationist, it isn't just interesting learning about his ancestors, it's imperative to avoiding the same mistakes of the past.

"If you don't know where you've been, you're don't know where you're going."

Cole also happens to be the descendant of the first Beckley business owner, who ran a blacksmith shop at the intersection of several major roads at the time.

Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

Skip to content