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The Glenville Democrat
Glenville, West Virginia
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March 25, 2004     The Glenville Democrat
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March 25, 2004
 

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Part 1: Glenville has a proud past--- the future is bright, too In light of the city of Glenville's backing out of the River Trail Grant project at the first of this month, I was asked to comment on the history of our fair city -- to put things in perspective. So for the second time in recent weeks, I hit the history books and scribbled down some salient facts.. Once again, you old-timers are invited to bring me up to speed, if I've missed the mark on any points. Glenville called 'Ford' Located on the Little Kanawha River near the geographic center of the Mountain State, Glenviile, the county seat of Gilmer County, is the home of Glenviile State College and the West Virginia State Folk Festival. Originally visited by Native Americans as a hunting ground, in the late 1700s and early 1800s, white pioneers began settling in the area which they called "Ford" because it was the place where early travelers could cross the river enroute from Weston to points south and west. With small farmers and large plantation owners being the area's economic backbone, the first mill in Gilmer County, which ground corn and wheat, was constructed on the Little Kanawha at Ford by James Howell in 1812. ter Col. Currence B. Conrad renamed the ~all commumty ' Glenvllle because of its location in a beautiful glen or valley. In 1845, Samuel L. Hays, a former U. S. Congressman and major landowner, laid out the community on William Bali's property. Also, at that time, a U. S. Post Office was established. Ball also donated the land where the Gilmer County Courthouse now sits. The In-st county court meetings in the city took place in Bali's home until a courthouse could be constructed. The first one, called the Little Red Brick Courthouse, was completed in 1850; the sec- oud, in 1872; and the current one, a Greek Revival-style building, in 1923. Prior to Gien- ville, the initial county court sessions in 1845, when Gilmer became a county, were held at the DeKalb home of Salathial Stalnaker. Af- ter several months of argumentation, Glen- ville was selected as the county seat. Incorporation The city was fast incorporated in 1856 under a charter from the General Assembly of Virginia, but after the Civil War in 1871, by one from the West Virginia Legislature. During the Civil War, Glenville hosted Fort Moore, a 30-by-30 foot Union stockade over- looking the Little Kanawha River atop Col- lege Hill. Built in the spring of 1864 for Capt. W. T. Wiant's Home Guards to protect the community, it was utilized until that Decem- The Corcoran Column By David H. Corcoran Publisher-Edtor ber when a Confederate unit under Capt. Sida Campbell burned it down. (See the historic marker at Glenville State College near Physi- cal Education Building.) Educational roots A strong community trait of this early pe- riod was the high value that people.placed on education. In 1845, school commissioners were appointed to oversee the county's then one-room school houses which incorporated grades one through eight. By 1937, 21 of these schools and one high school existed in the economy. Rafters, flatboaters and, later, gaso- line-powered boat pilots carried goods and passengers to Glenville from Burnsville and Gilmer Station. Between 1890-193 l, barges carrying 30-40 thousand pounds of freight and 50-100 pas- sengers were a regular sight on the river -- Glenville being a major hub in the Braxton to Parkersburg river route. The freight, in part, consisted of the county's timber and Coal -- products which further augmented the town's economy. Two of the many boat companies were owned by John Shuman and Clyde Conrad who hauled dry goods, supplies for the grow- ing natural gas industry and passengers to Glenville in the 1920s. A quote about this era from a folder in the Robert K.idd Library recounts: "Once during a heavy flood, the barge was loaded with nails and was able to go over the dam at Stout's Mills and down Main Street of Glenville to the hardware store which was operated by the Whiting Brothers." That must have been one Glenville District alone. As early as 1833, a heck of# ride! high school was established in the Methodist (Milch of this colorful river history is cur- Episcopal Church. After moving to the Court- rently being displayed by Mr. Gary Coberly house in 1850 and into a home (called "The who, with the assistance of Mrs. Judy Marks, Arc") in 1884, the school got its own building worked up a travelling exhibit. It will be in 1913. Glenville High School (where the shown in Glenville in the near future.) Heflin Student Union now sits) served the Although in recent years the river has be- area's youth until 1969 when the consolidated come too shallow to boat in, it, in parts, still Gilmer County High School replaced it. offers walkers an opportunity to see the rumi- In 1872 -- only seven years after the Civil nants of its canal glory days. A River Trail in Warended,local people put their hostile philo- Glenville could have captured much of this sophical differences aside and united to found almost forgotten history by way of historic Glenville State College, then called the "Glen- markers. ville Branch of the State Normal School" by By the late 1920s, however, road construe- the Legislature which chartered it on Febru- tion and the use of motor vehicles contributed ary 19. Its primary goal was to train the state's to the demise of riverboating on the Little teachers. The colorful T. Marcellus Marshall Kanawha. Hence, it's now only a colorful was its first acting principal who oversaw 120 segment of Glenville's history. students, ages 12-30. In 1874, Weston lawyer (Editor's Note: Next week in Part II, we'll and businessman Louis Bennett, lateracandi- deal with the city's business history, recre- date for governor, took over the principal's ational assets, newspapers and many other post. colorful facts. For newcomers to our city, this During the College's summer term in 1950, history should put events into perspective.) Dr. Patrick Gainer, a renowned folklorist, Historical Society meeting established the West Virginia State FolkFes- At 6:30 p.m. on this Thurs., Mar. 25, the rival to preserve the state's folk music, trades Gilmer County Historical Society will meet at and folklore--- a festival that continues annu- the Holt House Museum's Annex on East ally on the third weekend of June. Although it Main Street in Glenville. smnea out at the college, it takes place mainly Dr. Michael Gherke, Glenville State in the downtown now -- The Conrad Motel College's history teacher and coordinator of being a night-time jam session center next to the World War II veterans oral history project, the scenic Little Kanawha River. will report on the progress made to-date. Riverboaling days All veterans are encouraged to attend this Beforethe1930s, theLittleKanawhaRiver's meeting in order to learn more about this commercial traffic dominated the town's project. Don't Get Me Started! By KristalSheets, last thing i could ever tolerate in my life is which I have spelled out again and again City Editor & Columnist having contact with Bush supporters, throughout the seven months I've been writ- I really like the idea that GOP leaders and This is just not so. I have some very good, ing this column. Bush administration officials have wanted very dear friends who voted for Bush, and Besidesbeingnearanddeartomyheart, my who say they will vote for him again. I have friends who support Bush have one thing in John Kerry to "name names" since he men- tioned in a campaign speech that most world never hung up the phone when talking to these common: they never can seem to name what, leaders would he happy to see Bush voted out people, even when one of them said, not less exactly, he has done right. of office, than four months ago, "I think Bush is doing They usually answer this question from me Not only does it aim to hold Kerry account- a great job. I really do. Definitely." by telling me everything Bill Clinton did able for this sort ofoff-the-cuffremark (which To my mind, from everything I see and read wrong, or by telling me everything John Kerry happens to he so absolutely true that one must and hear, Bush hasn't done anything of ben- will do wrong if he is elected. think little about it except, Duh!), but it also efit to any one except the religious right; his That doesn't help me at all. has given me a great idea for adding an campaign contributors; and the net-censer- The presidential election is now eight interactive feature to my column, vatives who pushed for war with Iraq long months away. I'd like to think that I'!1 go to Obviously, I take an almost morbid delight before Bush even entered office in 2001. the polls as informed as possible about my in hurling invective at Bush and Co. in this That doesn't leave a whole lot of others column. One would imagine, then, that the benefiting from this presidency, examples of Continued on page 5A Musings of an oldtimer-- Thoughts about marriage and same-sex unions Suddenly the definition of marriage is he- caused by divorce. Could they not just as By Frances Myers Schmetzer, ing questioned by an amazing number of well adapttootherpeoplecommittedtojoint Glenville Columnist people. These are folks who love each other, property? I am guessing that, if a civil union rill A quiet social revolution has accelerated have committed to a stable family relation- were allowed between any two ix ple, re- " To headline news. Two distinct waves that ship, and may own property together. Can wegardless of love orsex, and if it saved enough ~hould be separate are on a collision course. I leave out sexuality as we think ofwhat should money for folks, there would be a rush to am talking about law and Intll]~. happen in the tax structure? I have the crass join. Can we all agree that marriage should be opinion that the plethora of same-sex unions That would not solve the current dilemma, about love? For years, there have been efforts began because of the tax correction efforts! of course. Same sex marriage has become a to correct the "marriage penalty" in tax laws. Think of marriage again. Is it still a sacra- CAUSE and definitely will not go away. I The tax problem has made living together merit if it happens in a civil ceremony? A would suggest that those who want to affirm without marriage, especially foroldercouples, sacrament happens in churches, doesn't it? their love, aswell as wanting to save money, open and accepted. The work for a correction Could it be that we need a new word? Should may have a wedding, as very slightly differ- affirms that people who love eaeh other, have we separate church and state so that marriages ent from a marriage. The latter is in the committed to a stable family relationship, and happen only in religious ceremonies? Does a dictionaries as a legal or religious union probably own property together, have earned justice of the peace say, "Those whom God between ~. There could be a tax break. It assumes also that they would has joined together, let no man put asunder.'U wedl~k ceremonies, no longer being joined rather be married than not. Until now, no one 0 doubt it.) as husband and wife but as ]g,~. questioned the definition of the sacrament. Our tax laws have adapted to changesMight that work? Community supportive of Dr. Freeman's Inauguration Dear Editor, All of us on the Inauguration Committee would like to conm~nd the community for the support shown our efforts this past Friday for the inauguration of Dr. Robert Freeman as the 22nd president of Glenville State College. Though many were responsible for the cer- emonies, as always, the "worker bees" were the ones that performed flawlessly. These workers include the cooks and wait staff for Aramark, the maintenance staff at GSC, the many students who worked the reception lines and performed the musical interludes, and the Alumni House volunteers. We surely had our best face on for the day but these folks are just as responsible for the day--to--day successes that are leading GSC forward, and without their help, an extraordi- nary day would have been ordinary. Denny Pounds & The Inauguration Committee More 'Letters to the Editor' on Page 5A t " t " Our Letters to the Editor Policy LWe are in need of more letters to the editor. Feel free to send them in to us. sign the l,e~_ via snail mail. Deadlines for letters are Mondays at 10 a.m. for IJ~rst remember our policy on the lette~, that week s paper: After 10 a.m., they can be accepted for that week as pa/d [Local newspapers have long been the sounding boards for political, advertisements. However, it would appear for free in a future edition. [per~3nal, and patriotic views and this paper is no exception! Also, for writers who consistently send in Letters week after week, these /Kelative to writingresponses, please keep in mind our Editorial Policy: we messages are constandy evaluated as to content and to purpose, so they may :i I~e~ accept letters on a space ava//ab/e bas/s on/y and they will be subject to be considered as an advertisement, especially if they are weekly, lengthy, and Editogs scrutiny as to content relative to libel, good taste and timeliness, repetitious of previous letters. Nevertheless, you will be contacted if the latter ~order~bgO~d~,~ length is generally one to ou~and-a-half standard typing pages, is the case and will be charged only our regular advertising rate. . l~-spaoed. Tbe decision of the Senior F.Ait6r will be final, l.ame~ must For more information, contact citber Dave Corcoran, Sr. or Jedi at 304-462- u ugned in order to be published - e-mailed letters must include a phone 7309. number where your identity can be verified, but you may still be required to ~ Last Issue Before Election: News, Letters, & Ads ~ .The long-standing policy of this newspaper has always been that if, in the issue before an election, one candidate or citizen makes al legations about another candidate or Lssue, that the other party be given the right of retmttal. Readers of this newspaper know that we editors have had this policy in effect for the past eight years in to make certain that the journalistic and ethical principles of fairness and equality be assured on these pages relative to both the news and advertising side~ Dr. Freeman's Inaugural Ceremony The entire Glenville State College community deserves the public's commendations on the first-class manner in which they conducted the Inaugural Ceremony for Dr. Robert Freeman as the College's 22nd president on this past Friday. The whole occasion was colorful, educational, and, most of all, inspirational. In his inaugural address, Dr. Freeman predicts a bright future for GSC: "Our future is limited only by our creativity. We want Glenville State College to be truly the lighthouse on the hill." What gave the visiting public pause for comfort and refreshment was his announcement that to-date, over 1,000 students have applied for admission to GSC in this next academic year. This figure is up 200 percent from last year at the same time of the recruiting cycle. Better yet, Mrs. Donna Shaffner, director of admissions and promotion, informs us that over "6,000 high school students" have inquired about matriculating at GSC next year. Of those, 1,000 have actually applied ... to-date. Of course, some of the applying students will go elsewhere, but, on the other hand, some of those just "inquiring" initially may decide to actually apply here between now and this summer. The net effect should be a long- awaited and longed for upturn in enrollment. We editors certainly commend Mrs. Shaffner for establishing an effective network for GSC in the state's high schools, in that most schools have a coordinator -- generally a GSC alumnus or alumna -- who can contact the inquiring students, answer their preliminary questions and, finally, encourage them to visit the campus and to enroll. Her visionary efforts to accomplish this goal have taken many hours of hard work, which we, in Gilmer County, deeply appreciate because GSC is the lifeblood of our local economy, its social and cultural life and its sports entertainment. Dr. Freeman, both as interim and now as the fully installed president, has been very supportive of Mrs. Shaffner's initiatives in this highly competitive student recruitment arena. From what we've heard at the Inauguration Ceremony, if Dr. Robert Freeman's presidency i only half as good as what has been stated, he's going to have a very successful tenure. And, we editors wish him the best in attaining these student recruitment and his other goals, such as the novel renovation of the Heflin Student Union into a joint town- gown community center and the institution of more academic programs in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, the federal prison and the national police training academy. Finally, GSC's Foundation executive, Ms. Ronna Dittman, can be credited with planning and implementing a very meaningful Inaugural Ceremony and GSC Aramark's manager, Steve Shattuck, can be commended for financially sponsoring the momentous event. To our knowledge, no one left the ceremony with a negative outlook it was all positive, it was all good. DHC, Sr., Publisher-Editor CANA's visit to Glenville: a success To enhance the FIPSE and other computer labs at Glenville State College and, ultimately, the Internet effectiveness throughout this area, GSC is pressing forward its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Appalachian Network Access (CANA). Their joint goal is to bring wireless broadband Internet access to GSC and Glenville. And, for seven CANA-sponsored graduate students from Pittsburgh, they got one whale of a productive Spring Break during the week of March 8-12 when they began fine-tuning the college's wireless operational system, setting up the Community Sho~vcase's comput- ers and putting them on-line, and meeting with the community to explain the project in detail. In fact, this $250,000 grant project, which is jointly funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission and Benedum Foundation, promises to make Glenville the first rural community in the state to have wireless broadband access, city-wide, which dramatically speeds up Internet access and makes it more mobile. Most importantly, this project is designed to expand the academic course offerings at both the College and high school, to connect local governmental offices more efficiently, andto create extra opportunities for area businesses (including handicraft producers) and non-profits to increase their customer and client bases. Mr. John Whitehill, the project's originator and CANA's chief spokesperson, is very optimistic about this initiative, and his positive-mindedness is difficult to dampen or divert. He still views the joint GSC-CANA wireless broadband access idea as a pilot project for the benefit of all of rural West Virginia -- bringing the "Information Highway" to Glenville, first, and then to oiher remote and underserved communities throughout the Mountain State. Thanks to CANA for coming to Glenville, especially for bringing their knowledge, hard work and enthusiasm for aiding rural communities in Appalachia. Wireless bt'oadhand access is just the tool needed here to move us ahead, economically and educationally. DHC The controversy in American sports I I I IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII II IIIII WITH THE ARRIVAL OF COUSIN "LONGHORN* FROM TEXAS FOR A SUMMER STAY, IT BECOMES EVIDENT THAT THE HERD NOW HAS A NEW PROBLEM TO DEAL WITH. THE 'AGE OF INNOCENCE' ENDS -- GSC Professor Emeritus GiBorge Harper, who is our newspaper's award-winning cartoonist, sees morn in the spdng than just the returning home of the "birds and bees." In explaining why he penned the above cartoon, he writes, "With the coming of spring and our fascination for the nation's pasttime (baseball), it has come the surface (in more ways than one, perhaps), the old controversy about the use of steroids in the Major Leagues. One has to wonder why our species can1 recognize the destructive effects of using such a product. After all, they are not like animals who are subject to all sorts of market-enhancing drugs for commercial gain, or am they?" At a time in our nation's history when children need heroes, it's a great shame that some major sports figures seek out drugs in order to bolstertheir performances in athletics and, later, deny that they've used them off the field or court in front of groups of admiring fans. What hypocrisy for these high salaried people while standing on their high pedestals! But, is the root of the problem only the athletes, or do the communities that demand winning teams sham, at least, part of the blame? DHC, Sr., Publisher-Editor