Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker - Interstate 64
Located at the West Virginia Welcome/Tourist Information Center on Interstate 64 Eastbound, near Huntington, this marker denotes one of many Blue Star Memorial Highways which honor the United States Armed Forces. This marker was dedicated in 1988 by the Ohio-Guyan District of West Virginia Garden Club in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Highways. From the parking lot, the marker is located to the left of the West Virginia Welcome Center (in front of the restroom building) in a landscaped area designed to both pay tribute to the Armed Forces and beautify the area. National Garden Clubs, Inc. directs the Blue Star Memorial Program which dates back to 1946.
Backstory and Context
The idea excited garden clubs throughout the United States and Rhode Island became the first state to receive the endorsement. Participants work to provide landscaping along the sides of designated highways and erect markers with official approval from their organization and the state highway departments. By 1951, the program expanded beyond World War II and honored all members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
West Virginia's first Blue Star Memorial Marker, dedicated in 1970, was in Weirton. Unfortunately, it was lost a couple of years later during road construction. The large Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker on Interstate 64 Eastbound was the fifth Blue Star Memorial Marker dedicated in West Virginia. Originally dedicated in 1988, the marker was refurbished in 2007. There is also a large Blue Star Memorial Marker at the Interstate 64 Westbound rest stop, which was the third in the state, dedicated in 1986. There are over eighty Blue Star Memorial Markers in West Virginia. The Beechwood Estates Garden Club, part of the Ohio-Guyan District, has sponsored or at least co-sponsored three Blue Star Memorial Markers in West Virginia, one at both rest stops on Interstate 64, as well as one at Roadside Park on Route 60.
2. "History of the Blue Star Memorials." National Garden Clubs, Inc. June 2016. Accessed March 31, 2017. http://gardenclub.org/resources/bluestar/blue-star-program-guidelines.pdf. Located on page 2.
3. "Blue Star Memorial Markers." West Virginia Garden Club. Accessed March 31, 2017. http://wvgardenclub.com/history-of-wvgc/
4. Robbins, Michelle, and Michelle Robins. "Rooted in Memory." American Forests 109, no. 1 (2003): 38-46.
5. Mayes, Fay M. "A Salute to the Garden Clubs." In A Place to Live: The Yearbook of Agriculture 1963, ed. Alfred Stefferud, 566-572. Washington, DC: The United States Government Printing Office, 1963.
6. Weingroff, Richard F. "Blue Star Memorial Highways." U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. November 18, 2015. Accessed March 31, 2017. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/blue01.cfm