Zoar Village: From Possible Destruction To Preservation Celebrations
This weekend, the Historic Village of Zoar celebrates 200 years since its founding in 1817. German separatists seeking religious freedom settled the town, about 70 miles south of Cleveland.
Five years ago, Zoar’s survival had been in doubt. The National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the village as one of the eleven most endangered historic places in America.
Water had been seeping through a deteriorating levee built in the 1930’s to protect the low-lying town from flooding, and the Army Corp of Engineers considered removing the levee altogether.
That option is no longer on the table and last year, the Corps approved a trench system for the Zoar levee that would help preserve the village from a possible breach and seepage problems.
Jon Elsasser, President of the Zoar Community Association says the town is pleased with the trench plan.
“It’s not very disruptive to life in the village while the work is going on,” said Elsasser. “That was a real plus. And then also it’s relatively affordable which means it’s going to get done which is the other plus.”
The Army Corps estimates the trench project will cost $11.5 million dollars. Last year, the US Interior Department named Zoar a National Historic Landmark.