About Us

The Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission consists of five appointed members. These commissioners have expertise and knowledge in the areas of architecture, historic architecture, archaeology, historic preservation, and local history. The JCHLC is charged with aiding the county government and its citizens in the protection and preservation of our local historic resources. The JCHLC meets at 7:00pm on the second Wednesday of every month. Meetings are held in the Jefferson County Commission room in the basement of the Charles Town Library.

The Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commissioners are:

Martin Burke, Chair, is an objects conservator and proprietor of Terrapin Neck Conservation, LLC in Shepherdstown, WV. He holds degrees from University of Michigan, Shepherd University, and pursued graduate studies at George Washington University. For seventeen years he was an objects conservator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution and for thirteen years Head Conservator at Harpers Ferry Center, National Park Service. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

Jack Hefestay, Treasurer, is a graduate of the University of Colorado, where he earned a B.A. in History with emphasis on U.S. and European Diplomatic topics. He is also a retired active duty and reserve U.S. Navy Captain (O-6) (Intelligence). He specialized in geopolitical and imagery analysis before assuming managerial and command positions. Professionally, he was employed by a large defense contractor, contributing to critical defense oriented systems and space exploration programs. Jack is a long term resident of this region and claims local ancestors dating back to the 1750s. Jack and his wife currently live in Kearneysville. He also serves on the Jefferson County Planning Commission.

H.S. Leigh Koonce is a lifelong resident of Jefferson County, who currently lives near Summit Point. An active writer, he has reported for both The Spirit of Jefferson and The Observer and his creative writing has appeared in a number of publications. Koonce’s areas of interest include county and state political history and the history of education in Jefferson County. At present he is working on a book length project compiling statistics and anecdotes pertaining to Jefferson County elections from 1952-2012.  He is the great-great-grandson of George Koonce, who was the first delegate to the WV House from Jefferson County, and the great-great-great grandson of John Alstadt, who was kidnapped by John Brown during his raid on Harpers Ferry.

Ben Horter currently serves as the Federal Preservation Officer for the USDA/Farm Service Agency in Washington, DC.  Originally from Fairmont, WV, he received a BA in History with a minor in Anthropology from West Virginia University and a Masters of Philosophy in Celtic Archaeology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.  He has conducted archaeological work within West Virginia off and on since the early 1990’s and has also worked throughout most of the Mid-Atlantic and New England states.  He moved back to West Virginia in 2010 and currently resides with his family in Charles Town.

Anthony (Tony) Troxel is the grateful son of Tim & Judy Troxel, the blessed husband of Bethany Troxel, the proud father of Evan & Grace Troxel, and a follower of Jesus Christ. Tony is a graduate of Radford University, Radford, VA with a Bachelors of Science in History. As an Army Brat he had the great opportunity to travel and live around the world, and that continued into his professional life with the National Park Service as a US Park Ranger (Law Enforcement). After working at some of America’s treasures: Yellowstone NP, Crater Lake NP, Manassas National Battlefield, Vicksburg Nat’l Military Park, El Morro & El Malpais Nat’l Monuments, and Homestead Nat’l Monument of America, just to name a few, he has found his “Retirement Park” at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Tony and his family live in Charles Town.

Commissioner Term Expiration:

Ben Horter – 3/31/21
Martin Burke – 3/31/21
Jack Hefestay 3/31/19
Leigh Koonce 3/31/22
Tony Troxel 3/31/20

Meaghan Papeika is an AmeriCorps member serving with the Historic Landmarks Commission through the Preserve WV AmeriCorps Program and the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia.  She has a B.A. in Public History/Historic Preservation and English Literature from Shepherd University.