February 27th, 2018
By Scott Park
At the 2018 ForeverGreen Luncheon, Luther Lyle of Oconee County was presented with the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award for his tireless work to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of Oconee Town, an irreplaceable Cherokee historic site.
A typical conservation agreement may take a year, sometimes two, to finally complete, but the Oconee Town project took much longer - 11 years! It’s conceivable that it would have never happened without Luther’s help.
Luther, who is the director and curator of the Museum of the Cherokee in Walhalla, is one of the leading experts on the Upstate’s rich Native American history. His expertise was essential in the 11-year-long effort to protect this iconic place.
The addition of Oconee Town to the State Park system will make Oconee Station State Historic Site the only park in the United States that can offer a Native American village site, a frontier outpost and trading post, an early pioneer homestead, scenic waterfalls, and hiking trails. By including the Cherokee village for which both Oconee Station and Oconee County were later named, the park will provide a more complete interpretation of our cultural and historical past.
Luther has served on several boards and committees, including the Oconee Arts and Historical Commission, Oconee Scenic Highway Committee, Oconee Heritage Center, SAVE STUMPHOUSE Committee, and Oconee Forever. Luther and his wife, Marcia, celebrated their 47th anniversary last year and have three children and three grandchildren.