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Kemmerer Historic Preservation Commission works to preserve historic sites

The Kemmerer Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) was created last May in efforts to preserve and record the rich history surviving in their small town.

Linda Naoi Goetz with the Kemmerer HPC discovered Kemmerer was a certified local government, but the town did not have an existing HPC, which is one of the requirements to be a local government. She did the paperwork and soon created the HPC and put a board together as well.

John Sawaya, one of the HPC board members, said the commission will help to identify and list what historical things they have in the town.

“We started a new project identifying houses that have been transported from the abandoned or ghost town coal camps around us and placed in Kemmerer, which still have residents living in them today,” Sawaya said in a live radio interview on The Spur.

HPC just had an event this past Saturday celebrating May as the National Historic Preservation month.

“We put together a walking tour where we featured businesses who wanted to participate who are in historic buildings here in town,” Goetz said. “We had quite a few tourists come through and local residents came through who heard about it through different mediums.”

Being part of the history in Kemmerer, Sawaya said he feels an interest in maintaining and recording what they have as history.

“Our family came into the Kemmerer area in 1909. One of my grandfathers started one of J.C. Penney’s first competitors,” Sawaya said. “We maintained the local clothing and shoe store in town here for a little over 100 years now.”

Goetz said she’s newer to Kemmerer, but has a background in architectural history and architectural theology.

“Having oral history, information from people who have ties to the community and then having that physical legacy which are the historic buildings and retaining the character and defining features, so you get a sense of what they were like when they were first built…it’s so important to have that tie to the physical history of Kemmerer,” Goetz said.

Sawaya and Goetz said they are very appreciative of the support and participation they’ve received from their community with the HPC.

They invite community members to share any historical information they have of Kemmerer to help record and preserve the history there.

Some examples of what you could share with the HPC are oral history they can record, anecdotes, photographs they can take pictures of, and helping identify historical homes and other various historic buildings.

You can contact the HPC by visiting their Facebook page, Kemmerer Historic Preservation Commission.