TALCOTT, WV (WVNS) — A tribute to an Appalachian Folk Hero was unveiled Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Talcott.
West Virginia University Extension Agent, Rick Moorefield, said the project has been underway for a while.
“To have that type of facility here, we think is a wonderful opportunity for tourists to come and visit our county, help our economic, our local businesses and that sort of thing,” Moorefield said.
The John Henry Historical Park now bears two more tributes to the local legend.
Legends claim John Henry challenged a steam-powered rock drilling machine in a race. Although he came out victorious, Henry died immediately after, hammer in hand, when his heart failed due to stress.
The ceremony unveiled both the Keaton Exhibit and the Legends and Lore marker on the site, all with the intention to keep the legend of John Henry alive.
“When I was a kid, we had cartoons, the Disney cartoons and so forth, where we learned the legend,” Moorefield said. “I don’t think our younger generations are seeing that today so it’s very important that we keep that legend out there.”
The legend does not just settle here in West Virginia. President of the Summers County Commission, Jack Woodrum, said people from all over the nation recognize the John Henry name.
“When the Boy Scouts were here, I’d meet the buses at Sandstone and tell them where they were going,” Woodrum said. “I’d say who knows the John Henry legend? 75 percent of the people had instant name recognition.”
To visit the John Henry Historical Park, the John Henry Statue, or the tunnel, people can access the park off of Route 12.