‘This whole area is soaked in history’: Idaho students locked into historic Martin County renovation project

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Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:35 PM EDT
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INEZ, Ky. (WYMT) - A restoration project kicked off last summer to restore the historic Martin County courthouse and bring new life to the Inez community.

This week, the project continued as students from out-of-state worked to move the mission forward.

Appalachia Reach Out spent time with a group of volunteers from Northwest Nazarene University at the old Martin County jailhouse.

In an effort to get the former jail ready for restoration, volunteers cleared papers, furniture and other clutter that has collected over the years.

“Working with Sheriff’s Office and the county government and tourism board to make sure that any files that are very precious to the history and to to Martin County- those are saved and preserved. But also clean this space out, so we can continue to reimagine what this might look like in the future,” said ARO Executive Director Dwayne Mills.

The students, from Nampa, Idaho, say they are excited to be part of a project that gives back to a community they knew nothing about.

“I’m someone that always just loves history, and so seeing being part of an opportunity that just like allows you to take something, and just a lot of people to come visit it, check it out, see what it’s like, learn more about the local history, I think that’s awesome,” Cole McCall, one volunteer, said.

The project is part of the county’s ongoing efforts to convert the unused building into an entertainment venue, using the history as a foundation for the future.

“This whole area is just soaked in history and it just feels like you’re a part of a longer story,” said NNU Chaplain Grant Miller. “With every box, you can see a little bit more how progress is being made. And as we get cells cleared out, and we can walk through the hallways, it just becomes exciting to share in the vision of what is going to be happening here at some point.”

The group will continue its work into next week, spending time in the community along the way.

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