BELPRE - A wine and cheese tasting benefit for the Belpre Historical Society took place Saturday at the Unicorn Wine Guild.
Nancy Sams, president of the society, said the society is raising funds for a new building to be built next to its museum on Ridge Street.
"We need an additional building at the museum," she said. "The Unicorn wanted to help us by having this benefit."
Talking over samples of wine and cheese were, from left, Diana Skinner of Belpre, Barbara Payne of Vienna and Rosemary Scott, of Washington, W.Va. (Photo by Jeffrey Saulton)
Sams said the society needs to raise $200,000 and has an intermediate goal of raising $175,000 by the end of January. She said the new building will be slightly larger than the building the society has been using since 2001.
"The new building will be a 50-foot by 50-foot concrete block building and a porch that can be enclosed late," she said. "Before we had our current building we stored things in people's houses and now we are back to that since we have completely filled the building with our collections and displays.
"When we get this, it will be a benefit to the community."
Barbara Whitaker, co-owner with her husband Joel, said they hope to make the Unicorn a place in Belpre for events such as the fundraiser for the historical society.
"Part of the purpose of building this place was so that events could be held here in Belpre," Whitaker said.
Sams said the idea for the tasting was Whitaker's and the society decided it would be a good thing to try.
"We've never had anything like this before," she said.
Whitaker said having the historical society event at the shop tied in with her interest in history.
"We have always been mindful of history, always talked about it in my family," she said. "When we heard of the historical society it seemed like the right thing to do. They are preserving the history and giving back to the community and it is all done by volunteers."
Whitaker said the society and Unicorn Wine Guild have something in common.
"The truth be told, they attract some tourists to the area as we do," she said. "We've had many different events in here, a few baby showers, wedding showers and a couple of political fundraisers."
Sams said the society has about half of the amount it needs for the building. The museum has become a tourist draw in Belpre, she said.
"We've been consistently having 500 visitors a year for the past five years," she said. "We have many tour groups and school groups."
Sams said the society has submitted applications for five grants and so far it has received confirmation on one.