Unfortunately, given the rural nature of the area, vandalism and theft have always been problems. 2020 has been a year of significant incidents, however. On New Years’ Eve, the few remaining headstones at Moonville Cemetery were smashed to unrecognizable pieces. Although a report was filed with the local sheriff’s office, there have been no suspects.
Then, on the night of June 15 or early morning June 16, the Hope Schoolhouse Welcome Center was burglarized. Thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise and supplies belonging to the Moonville Rail Trail Association and Vinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau were stolen.
Fortunately, the schoolhouse was mostly undamaged, aside from a broken window and door. Stolen merchandise included Moonville- and Vinton County-themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, hats, walking sticks and hiking emblems, mugs, shot glasses, hand-painted slates, covered bridge throws, and more. Some of the supplies included a mini fridge, cooler, coffee pot, shop vac, decorated ceramic turkey, and many black plastic totes containing extra inventory. (All merchandise was exclusively sold by the MRTA and Vinton County CVB and features our logos. If anyone knows anything or sees someone selling merchandise with our names, please report it to us or the Vinton County Sheriff.)
The funds raised by this campaign are intended to help both organizations replace lost inventory, bolster security at the schoolhouse, and erect a monument at Moonville Cemetery to replace the broken headstones. The Brown Township Trustees have already pledged $1,000 to help erect the cemetery monument. Any funds raised beyond our goal will be used to host our fifth annual Midnight at Moonville festival on October 9, 2021.
The breakdown of what we need to raise is as follows:
$10,000 – Replacement of stolen inventory and equipment
$1,500 – Installation of a new security system for Hope Schoolhouse
$500 – Purchase of trail cameras for use at the schoolhouse and historic tunnels
$3,000 – Installation of an obelisk monument at Moonville Cemetery
Please consider making a donation to support the preservation of these important historical and cultural assets in the heart of rural Appalachia.
- Linda Webb
- Carmel Johnson
- Bryan Lane
Fundraising team: Moonville Rail Trail & Vinton County CVB (2)
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