New Board Member, Dale Slusser

The Preservation Society is proud to announce the election of Mr. Dale Slusser to the Board of Trustees.  Dale has an interesting history and brings a great set of skills to the governance of your non-profit preservation organization.  Please read Dale’s bio below to gain an insight to our newest Trustee.

Mr. Dale Slusser, newest PSABC Board Trustee

“At the age of six years old, my father died, leaving my mother to care for six children. A year later (1966) I, along with my twin brother, was enrolled in Milton Hershey School, Hershey, PA.   The school which now serves the needs of disadvantaged boys and girls was during my enrollment, a school for orphan boys. At the school, the boys lived in student homes under the care of houseparents who took on the role of parents to the boys.  I credit loving houseparents for showing to me the love of God by living out their Christian faith in care and concern for me and the other boys.  After MHS, I obtained a B.S. in Education degree (Library Science) from Millersville University in 1981 and an Associates in Arts degree from Harrisburg Area Community College in 1984.

I have had an interest in history and historical architecture ever since I was in junior high school. I fondly remember the field trips to the Ephrata Cloisters, the Landis Valley Farm Museum, the Moravian settlement at Lititz, and the Gettysburg and Antietam battlegrounds.  As freshmen in high school, my brother and I were transferred to student-home “Bonniemead”, which was a former 1860 “mansion”, complete with a spiral stairway and Greek-revival entrance doorway with its etched ruby-glass sidelights and transom. My interest in architecture and history continued in college, as I minored in History and did extensive historical research and writing both on “Bonniemead” and other historic homes, such as the early-eighteenth-century Germanic Abraham Herr House in Millersville, PA.  While in college I joined the Marietta Restoration Associates in Marietta, Pa.

After graduation from Millersville University, I was asked by Margaret Hunt Landis, President of the Marietta Restoration Associates, to volunteer to prepare the National Register nomination for an extension to Marietta’s Historic District.  After a year’s work and a visit from SHPO officials, it was decided to increase the Extension to include almost the entire western section of the town. In the end, the Extension included 291 structures, thereby increasing Marietta’s Historic District to include over 48% of the town.  During this period I was also pursuing an Associates Degree in Architectural Technology.

While I was pursuing my Architectural Technology degree, I was hired part-time by Levengood Associates, Architects in downtown Lancaster, PA to research, draw and prepare the National Register nomination for the 1798 John Bishop House in Berks County, PA.  Richard Levengood had purchased the home and subsequently restored it for his personal use.  After graduation I was hired fulltime as an architectural draftsman with Levengood Associates and later Calabrese Architects in Strasburg, PA. At both firms, I was involved in many rehab and restoration projects on historic structures.

In 1987, Dale moved to Georgia to work with Helps International Ministries, a non-profit mission agency providing practical “helps” in the areas of architectural design to other Christian missions and ministries. I moved to Asheville in 1993 when Helps International moved their offices here from Georgia  It was shortly after moving to Asheville, that I  read in a biography of famed Victorian author George MacDonald, that his son Ronald had lived here in Asheville in the late 1880’s  and was the  headmaster of a local boarding school, named Ravenscroft.   A brief mention in the biography of the death of Ronald’s wife, who was an artist and student of John Ruskin, sent me on a quest to find out more about Ronald’s story, and about the Ravenscroft School.  My fifteen-year research culminated in the publication in 2009 of In the Near Loss of Everything: George MacDonald’s Son in America.  I am currently finishing a subsequent book, which is a comprehensive history of the Ravenscroft School and Associate Mission which operated from 1854-1920.

I joined the PSABC four years ago, and in 2009 helped research the history of the Grove Park Office.

I live with my wife Susan in a late 1920’s bungalow in “Linwood Park”, a small subdivision between Oakley and Biltmore Village, developed in 1922 by Lynwood B. Jackson.”

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