ELKINS, W.Va. — Aug. 7 was the last day for community members and tourists to stop in and tour the Kump Education Center that the late nineteenth governor, Herman G. Kump, and his family lived in.
The Kump Education Center has been doing free tours every Thursday and Sunday between 3 pm and 5:30 pm since July 7.
This is the first year that they have had public access hours in the summer season, but they were able to get a grant through the West Virginia Humanities Council to create interpretive signs to put throughout the home on the first floor. They wanted to be able to share the experience and show the signs off to tourists and community members who have lived in Elkins and have never seen the inside.
The house is built off of the Kump family history, and they wanted to showcase it so that people can learn about the legacy that was left behind. There were six children, which makes it more understandable why it is such a large house. It is very family-oriented, rather than being considered a “mansion.”
Communications specialist for the center, Nanci Bross-Fregonara, mentioned that she feels the open house summer season went very well. Her favorite part was talking to people who had never been inside the house before. She brought up a young man who had gotten his prom pictures done in front of the house several years ago, and always wanted to see the inside. Bross-Fregonara liked that somebody who was a bit younger was excited to take a tour.
Over the summer season, the Kump house has seen parents with their kids, scavenger hunts, a YMCA kids summer program tour, and others who have not been inside.
Bross-Fregonara is hoping to collaborate with tourism events on Sunday’s for those who may be touring through the Elkins and looking for things to do. They would also like to expand on school tours, because she enjoyed talking to the kids about the history of the house. She mentioned that when the YMCA summer camp toured the house, she felt they enjoyed learning about something that was just in their backyard.
When discussing the importance of having these free open house tours for the community, she said, “I think it’s important that people have access to homes like this, and can learn about it, and and just, share with others, “oh you know , we went to the Kump house today and that would be something fun to do, uh, in the afternoon.” And it gives, um, a little variety about what cool things Elkins has to offer.”
Appalachian Forest National Heritage often partners with the Kump House, in which Bross-Fregonara brought up her gratitude for the volunteers and helpful hands along the way.
The Kump Education Center will be closing its doors for the rest of August, due to the amount of events that were held this summer. However, they will re-open for the fall season. For any updates on events, you can find them here.