Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hopefully helping to save Zoar

It's been a crazy couple of weeks around my house since I got an email that totally floored me. If you are a frequent visitor to this site, you've probably noticed that I post a lot of pictures of the town of Zoar. Lots of pictures.  On my Flickr site, I think I have 3600 pictures tagged with the towns name.  Granted, a large number of them are from a Civil War reenactment that they have there every couple of years.  But there is something about that town that just keeps drawing me back to it.  It's within walking distance of my house so it's not uncommon to see me walking around with my camera trying to find that just right angle or waiting for the sun to hit something just right for me to snap a picture.  A lot of times it's just an excuse to get out of the house and not think about work for a while.  Camera therapy.  Needless to say, I've fallen in love with the town and it's 19th century charm.  But with the devastating floods over the past decade, the town is in trouble.  Big trouble.  There is a levee that protects the town from the Tuscarawas River when it floods due to water that gets backed up behind the Dover Dam downstream.  When the town was originally built, the dam was not there and the town was laid out so that rain water would run down to the river.  The levee was a recent addition back in the 1930's.  Along with the dam, the levee was built to protect Zoar, which it had until recently.  Over the past decade there has been several major floods that impacted the lives of residents in northern Tuscarawas County and also caused major damage to the levee.  So much so that on Easter morning 2008, there was major concern that the levee was going to give and flood the town.  With the constant flooding that has occurred, faults in the levee have become exposed.  Water has found its way under the protective levee and has flooded basements, caused major structural damage to one of the towns main buildings and has cost much to clean up the mess left behind.  So that has left the town asking the government, namely the Army Corps of Engineers, to fix the levee so this will stop happening.  But since Katrina, the government now has a lengthy process that must be gone through before a decision is made.  Right now the options on the table are:
    -  Repair the levee
    -  Tear down the village and let the area flood
    -  Relocate the Historic Village of Zoar to higher ground

Most anyone that I've ever talked to in Zoar want to have the levee fixed.  That's what I would like to see.  So over the past couple years I've often thought that if there was a way I could help in the effort with my photography I would love to do it.  Well, my wish may have come true.
A couple weeks ago I was contacted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation off of my Flickr account.  They have recently listed Zoar as one of their 11 most endangered historic sites in America and are currently in the process of coming up with an advertising campaign for their efforts.  One of the people in charge of the project came across some of the pictures I had of Zoar on the Internet and asked if I would submit pictures for their campaign.  Honored and excited, I of course said YES!  I don't know which ones or how many they may use but I had heard back today that they are liked.  Which is good enough for me.  If they use 1 or all 90 that I uploaded to them, then I'm doing something right in my book.  So time will tell what becomes of this, but, already having my images used on the banner of one of my other favorite places around here, Historic Fort Laurens, and now this, I'm pretty happy.  Hopefully 100 years from now an image I took of one of these places will be on someones wall.  That would be a pretty cool legacy. 
So, if you are interested in learning more about Zoar, be sure to check out the Zoar Community Associations website as well as the Save Historic Zoar site for information about the town, the efforts to save it and how you can help.  
Below is a link to the images I submitted.  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.

Shared with NTHP


  1. I'm proud of you, Andy! This is great! You have an exceptional eye, and this is just more of your rocket to stardom!