Preservation at Heritage Farm Museum and Village

West Virginia couple takes a fond look back at Heritage Farm Museum and Village


| May 2000



Strict preservation has not been the foremost goal in restoring the 19 structures at Heritage Farm and Museum

Strict preservation has not been the foremost goal in restoring the 19 structures at Heritage Farm and Museum near Huntington, W. Va. Authentic exteriors give no hint of amenities (like plumbing and electricity) that have been incorporated inside.

The first indication that Mike Perry isn't your usual bank executive is the mud on the tires of his Cadillac. 

As he wheels out of the parking lot at Bank One headquarters in Huntington, W.Va., Mike tells a visitor that it isn't a long drive to the "farm." In fact, Mike's two worlds are about 15 minutes apart.

In town, Mike has a prime office on the third floor of the bank building, where he is chairman of the board of Bank One-West Virginia. A plaque from Sen. Robert Byrd sits prominently on a shelf. Copies of Executive magazine lay on a table. Visits to the governor's office are not uncommon. Last year, he served as interim president of Huntington's Marshall University.

At the farm, Mike is quick to shed the trappings of the business world. A broad smile crosses his face as he introduces his visitor to Heritage Farm Museum and Village, a project in restoration which Mike and his wife, Henriella, have pursued for the better part of 30 years.

"I enjoy my work and I'm proud of what I've done, but this is a whole other world, you see," Mike says. "This is a whole other part of me, the part I enjoy the most."

Mike's banking career finds him rubbing elbows with many a millionaire. He'd rather be out in the country, spending time with his snuff-rubbing neighbors.