Yarnall named to Hall of Fame

A BARNESVILLE High School graduate, who has been involved in historical projects in places such as Barnesville, Somerset Township, Somerton, Bethesda, Wheeling, Columbus and Washington, D.C. will make history himself July 13 by his induction into the Barnesville Area Education Foundation Hall of Fame.

This honor goes to Bruce Yarnall, a former Somerton and Barnesville resident who wrote a book, “Somerton Area Heritage,” a 652-page history and genealogy resource, in 1986 and also was co-author of “Barnesville’s 200 Years: A Pictorial History,” in 2008.

Yarnall will be honored at a ceremony at the Barnesville Alumni Banquet in the Barnesville High School Auditorium. The plaque lists him as “local historian, historic preservationist and author.” A reception at 5:30 p.m. will precede the 6 p.m. dinner and ceremony.

Induction into the HofF isn’t his first honor in Barnesville. He was named as “Barnesville Citizen of the Year” in 1986 and 1996.

The former area resident currently is operations and grants manager for the District of Columbia, State Historic Preservation Office, and he began this work in 2005. He was business manager for the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 2001-05.

Yarnall was a member of the Volunteer Research Team for a segment of the PBS television series, “History Detectives,” relating to an early map of Quaker settlements in western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, and that program aired in 2008.

A 1973 graduate of Barnesville High School, Yarnall has a bachelor of arts degree in history from Muskingum College. More recently, he was in the Class of 2004 at Goucher College, Baltimore.

Yarnall, a son of Patsy Yarnall of Somerton and the late Willis Yarnall, was Victorian Village Project coordinator for the Barnesville Development Council from 1989-94 and was general manager of the Barnesville Enterprise from 1994-96. He served as executive director of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation from 1996-98.

He owned and worked on three Wheeling properties that were renovated/restored between 1987-96, including the 1881 Flaccus building at 2269 Market St. That project was accorded a Friends of Wheeling Preservation Award in 1991. He was active in the Friends of Wheeling from 1987-96.

Another historic structure gained Yarnall’s attention from 1987-96 when he purchased, stabilized and restored an abandoned cottage at Epworth Park, Bethesda, from 1987-96, and he was a member of the Epworth Park Cottage Owners Association during those years. He chaired the Chautauqua Homecoming celebration in 1992.

He served as originator and coordinator of the Somerset Museum Exhibit during the Somerton Fireman’s Festival from 1971-76 and was Somerton Water Project Committee chair from 1972-86. Both of those affiliations began when he was still in high school.

A former secretary for the Southern Cemetery of Somerton and a former Somerset Township clerk, Yarnall was a Belmont County Democratic Central Committee member. He also was Somerton correspondent for the Barnesville Enterprise during 1978-82.

His historical and genealogical work was evident when he initiated volunteer work at Somerset Township’s abandoned cemeteries and worked on obtaining the Captina Cemetery Historical Marker. He wrote the nomination, spearheaded the fund drive in addition to organizing and publicizing the program for the Ohio Bicentennial Historical Marker at the Captina AME Cemetery in 2002. He researched and wrote the successful National Register nomination for the Barnesville Depot in 1983.

After college graduation, he was a field claims adjuster and office manager for the State Auto Insurance Companies from 1978-89 and was education marketing manager for the Professional Insurance Association of Ohio from 1999-2000.

Yarnall, who has been program chair for the Ackerman Family Reunion from 2003 to the present, was the parade co-chair for Barnesville’s 175th celebration in 1983 and was on the Ohio Pumpkin Festival committee as publicity and window display chair from 1982-96.

A Barnesville Depot Steering Committee member from 1990-96, he served in other Barnesville organizations for several years and was president of the Barnesville Preservation Alliance from 1983-86, Barnesville Area Chamber of Commerce president in 1985 and 1986 as well as Barnesville Kiwanis Club president in 1983 and 1984. He served as a board member and vice president of the Barnesville Hutton Memorial Library during 1983-87.

Although he now is employed in the District of Columbia, Yarnall still maintains his affiliations with Barnesville. A contributor for the Barnesville Enterprise from 1982-94 and from 1996 to the present, he wrote feature articles focusing on history and development as well as a Capital City Comments Column from 1996-2002. He continues his work on the Twice Told Tales and Enterprise Album, and this began in 1994.

A member of the Watt Center from 1996 to the present, the HofF honoree is a lifetime voting member of the Barnesville Community Foundation and a voting member of the Barnesville Area Education Foundation.

Pokas can be reached at bettypokas@yahoo.com.