About Us

Our Commissioners

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 other month. Meetings are held in the Jefferson County Commission room in the basement of the Charles Town Library.

Martin Burke


Martin Burke is an objects conservator. 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).

Term Expires: 3/31/24

Jim King


Jim King is a registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional, and recognized as a historic architect per 36 CFR 61 through the West Virginia Department of Culture and History. Upon graduation with a Masters of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech, he began working for Paul D. Marshall Associates, then the state’s foremost firm in historic preservation. Projects were scattered throughout West Virginia and included the Phillipi Covered Bridge, Blennerhassett Mansion, Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, and the West Virginia State Capitol building. After relocating to the area, and with the wealth of historic properties and opportunities to preserve this region’s past, he continues to work in preservation and is eager to serve as a commissioner.

Term Expires: 3/31/22

Raymond Benzinger


Ray is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University and moved to the D.C. area to work at the National Geographic Society as a color quality control specialist for the Magazine. While working for the National Geographic, he attended law school at night and earned Juris Doctor and Master of Law Degrees at Georgetown University School of Law. He served as a law clerk for a Federal Judge, was a trial attorney at the United States Department of Justice in the Court of Claims Section, was Associate Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law, now the Antonin Scalia School of Law, and also taught at the Catholic University School of Law. Ray was a trial Attorney representing private citizens for over twenty-five years before retiring to his home in the West Virginia Blue Ridge. Ray was active in the Virginia State Bar, served on the Budget Committee, and was appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court to serve two terms on the Continuing Legal Education Board. He was a frequent lecturer in Continuing Legal Education Seminars. Ray and his wife currently serve on the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College Foundation Board.

Term Expires: 3/31/25

John Demer

Acting Secretary

John Demer holds an undergraduate degree from Colby College and a master’s degree from the University of Delaware where he was a Winterthur Fellow. He is an air force veteran. For 30 years he worked at the Interpretive Design Center of the National Park Service in Harpers Ferry, principally in its division of historic furnishings. In recent years he has volunteered with the JCHLC. He is completing a term on the Historic Shepherdstown Commission. He and Margaret, his wife, have lived in Shepherdstown since 1983.

Term Expires: 3/31/24

Addison Reese


Addison Reese has a bachelor’s degree from Shepherd University and a master’s degree from West Virginia University. She has been a special education teacher for more than ten years. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County and is a caretaker/site manager for the Kearneysville Methodist/Boyd Carter Memorial Cemetery.  Addison has also written historical articles for the Shepherdstown Observer. Before becoming a commissioner, she was a volunteer for the JCHLC.  

Term Expires: 3/31/24

Patrick Fuller

AmeriCorps Member

Patrick Fuller is a recent graduate of Shepherd University and currently serves as an AmeriCorps member with the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission. During his time at Shepherd, he served as president of the university’s Living History Club and president of the Pi-Epsilon chapter of Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society. A Baltimore native, Patrick currently lives in Shepherdstown.

Term Expires: 8/30/2022