The City of Grafton with the support of the current businesses in Historic Downtown Grafton are working to revitalize this once vibrant commercial area. The City of Grafton has received numerous grants to help support this effort to once again create a central business district with historic significance.
Since 2000, the city has removed 7 dilapidated structures along Main Street. With assistance from the City of Grafton and the State of West Virginia the International Mother's Day Shrine purchased the Historic Manos Theatre and are nearly 50% complete on its renovations. New handicapped bathrooms, Fourier, electrical upgrades, new roof, interior renovations, a modern lighting and sound system have all been completed since this purchase. Future plans are to develop a theatrical play about the history of Grafton, its role in the Civil War and the formation of the International Holiday Mother's Day.
The City has also worked on recruiting new business development along this historic district. In the last 3 years 7 new businesses have located in Historic Downtown Grafton. With an additional 3 new businesses scheduled to open in 2008. Recently the city was able to recruit the American Red Cross to Grafton and is located in the heart of downtown. This is the first time the Red Cross has a physical presence in the city and we are encouraged by its future development in our community.
Vandalia Heritage Foundation (www.vandalia.com) owns and operates the Historic B&O Depot ("West Virginia's Finest B&O Depot") as a museum to the history of the historic Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. An active railroad yard with turn table exists right downtown for railroad historians. Look, you may see the Spirit of Grafton, CSX Engine 500. Grafton has the honor of the only city in West Virginia who has a train named after it. Future plans call for a cafe' and outdoor garden plaza for farmer's markets. Currently, the Grafton Farmer's Market is held on Boyd Street directly behind the International Mother's Day Shrine Saturday's June-October. If your interested in becoming a vendor at this market contact the City Manager for more details.
Last year the City commenced construction on Phase I of a multi-phase streetscape project to construct new ADA sidewalks, historic lighting, benches, trash receptacles, and flower planters to validate the city's commitement toward revitalization of the historic district. Phase I should be complete in mid-2008 and Phase II should begin construction a year later.
The Taylor County Arts Council and the Taylor County Historical & Genealogy Society are currently rehabilitating 3 buildings on Main Street. The Arts Council is open from March-December with new art shows every month, classes, and music nights are often scheduled throughout the year.
The International Mother's Day Shrine (www.mothersdayshrine.com) is home to the Grafton/Taylor Convention and Visitor's Bureau and is the official Welcome Center of the City of Grafton. The Birthplace of Mother's Day, the first Mother's Day Service was held in this historic structure on May 10, 1908. Various community activities are held here throughout the year including an annual service on Mother's Day and a Mother's Day Tea.
Every year the city celebrates Memorial Day with a huge parade down Main Street and a celebration throughout the Memorial Day Weekend called the Spirit of Grafton. The name derived from the Sesquencential of the City of Grafton in 2006 where the Spirit of Grafton was celebrated. It was often said that "Grafton was the city that refused to die". So much makes up the history of Grafton, the only National Cemeteries in WV, the first casualty of the Civil War occurred in Grafton, the birth of Mother's Day, Memorial Day, the B&O Railroad and more. The Spirit of Grafton is the community spirit to revitalize this community