ARTHURDALE, W.Va. (WBOY) — On Wednesday, the Arthurdale Heritage Center celebrated what would have been First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s 139th birthday by hosting free museum tours.

Roosevelt, who was dearly loved by West Virginians, was an advocate for the creation of New Deal towns, specifically the very first town: Arthurdale.

“Arthurdale was the very first new deal community so this was kind of the—supposed to be the prototype and experiment to so the other would have a model to follow so 98 others followed and Arthurdale was really the prototype, the first. And Eleanor Roosevelt pushed for that first community to be located here in north central West Virginia,” Elizabeth Satterfield, Curator and Director of Education at Arhurtdale Heritage said.

Satterfield said that Roosevelt visited the town more than 30 times and would either stay at the inn nearby or stay in Morgantown. She wanted to be involved as much as possible in the evolution of the town, insisting the houses and the government were as modern as possible, even including refrigerators.

“Eleanor would come for high school graduations and speak at the commencements and their diplomas every year she came for square dances she came just sometimes she would just show up and greet people well and go to their houses and meet with folks she donated money every Christmas for every child to have a Christmas gift purchase for them,” Satterfield said.

These New Deal towns were created in order to help communities learn how to sustain themselves and get help from the government while the Great Depression was ongoing.

If you were not able to get to Wednesday’s free museum tours, the next one will be on October 15 and will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will also be a Fall Fest on Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a craft show, fall activities and rides, followed by a Harvest Hoedown Square Dance from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with no cover charge.

To learn more about Arthurdale Heritage and upcoming activities, you can go here.