From teachers looking for creative lessons to residents who’ve always wanted to check out the century-old building on Cherry Road, the Duvall Historical Society has plans to deliver. After overcoming some technical difficulties, the organization is planning on hosting virtual tours of the Dougherty House by the end of August, according to President Country Roney.
Amid early signs of the novel coronavirus’ potential impact, Roney started looking into ways to bring Duvall’s historic landmark to people from a safe distance, she said.
“I just had a gut feeling that we weren’t going to be able to share that face to face,” Roney said.
Lamentably, the site lost internet connection during its early attempts at live, video-streamed tours. But the organization didn’t give up, Roney said.
When the tours pick back up in August, she’s hoping to work with local schools to incorporate them into the lessons. In the past, she’s taught about the former homestead in classrooms, but now she sees an opportunity to spread the information to an even broader audience.
A trained docent will lead a guided tour via video chat through the rooms of the home and talk about each room and its significance to the greater history of the area, she said. The docent will wear a clear face shield so that hearing-impaired viewers can read lips, and guests won’t have to worry about the house’s steep stairs.
“This way, we can reach those who might have a diminished capacity physically,” Roney said. “They’ll be able to visit the upstairs rooms virtually, where they couldn’t have before.”
The building has served a number of purposes in the community in its more than 130 years of existence; it was owned by a homesteader, served as a post office, housed Cherry Valley loggers and its parlor at times doubled as a church for Catholic congregants, according to Roney.
The Dougherty farmstead, including the house, is designated as a national landmark and contains the Duvall Historical Society’s archives.
During this particularly tumultuous time, sharing information about the site as well as the area’s past continues to be an important mission for the society and for Roney in particular, she said.
“One thing my father reiterated to me was, in order to know your future, you have to understand your past,” she said.
“Duvall has experienced hardships like this before … And we’ve made it. We’ve made it as a community.”