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New Huntington trail honors Mike and Henriella Perry

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JAMES E. CASTO / For The State Journal JAMES E. CASTO / For The State Journal
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By JAMES E. CASTO

For The State Journal

Retired banker Mike Perry, founder of Heritage Farm Museum and Village, recalls that when he started his career, he could have spent his weekends playing golf.

He didn’t. Instead, he began spending his time hunting down antiques. He found he enjoyed poking around looking for “old stuff.” Moreover, he welcomed the fact it was an activity his wife Henriella and their children could happily join.

Over the years, what started out as a weekend hobby grew into a life-long passion. Soon, Perry graduated from purchasing various objects here and there to buying old log structures, hauling them to his farm and reassembling them.

Today, Heritage Farm is a major tourist attraction. The vast complex boasts nearly two dozen buildings, including a log church, one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, mill and broom shop and saw mills, among others. Museum displays offer an informative look back at Appalachia’s history. Guided tours offer visitors an opportunity to step back in time for a fun-filled, educational and relaxing experience.

In recognition of their efforts, Huntington City Council and Mayor Steve Williams honored the husband and wife team at a July 31 ceremony designating the stretch of road from Old Central City to Heritage Farm in their honor. Signs will identify it as the Honorary Mike and Henriella Perry Heritage Trail.

The couple’s son, Audy Perry, also used the ceremony at the gazebo on West 14th Street to make an announcement regarding the latest addition to Heritage Farm — Artisan Café.

The new restaurant will be operated in partnership with the culinary program at Mountwest Community and Technical College and The Wild Ramp, which will supply the cafe with locally grown foods. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Mike Perry, the retired chairman and CEO of the former Bank One chain, said he was humbled by the trail designation and described it as a “great day … for two kids from the West End” of Huntington.

Mayor Williams cited Heritage Farm as only one of the contributions by the Perrys in their decades as community leaders. He told them: “We’re here first to say thank you, second to say we love you, and third to say we have more work to do.”

In May, when The Wild Ramp moved to Old Central City from downtown’s Heritage Village, Williams said his hope was that the move will not only lure new customers for it but also to the cluster of antique stores and nearby museums in the Central City neighborhood.

The ultimate goal, he says, is to make the city’s West End a tourist destination, with the new market functioning as an unofficial visitor’s center to serve travelers.

 

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