Historical Society Leader Steps Down

Another era in Wheeling has ended, but a new phase has been launched in its stead.

The Wheeling Area Historical Society held its final meeting Monday evening, Nov. 14.

The group disbanded as longtime leader Margaret Brennan stepped down from the society’s presidency.

Since Brennan is always so faithful and diligent in capturing photographic images of history in the making in our community, I decided to turn the tables on the historian as she addressed the historical society for the last time and I snapped the photograph that illustrates today’s column.

Brennan was upbeat and cheerful as she spoke briefly to the organization when it convened at West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling. She noted that a major facet of the society’s work – the production of the Upper Ohio Valley Historical Review – will continue under the auspices of the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp. In fact, the fall issue of the review, produced by editor Bekah Karelis, archivist for WNHAC, was unveiled and distributed to society members at the meeting Monday.

Although the Wheeling Area Historical Society is dissolving, the group could always be reconstituted under new leadership at some point. The organization might be “down” now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily “out” altogether.

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Continuing in a historical vein, when Carol Shull, interim keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, gave a presentation at West Virginia Independence Hall Wednesday, Nov. 16, she revealed that she got “the Wheeling feeling” 40 years ago, when she attended her first historic preservation conference which, as it happened, was held in Wheeling.

“I have never forgotten it,” she remarked, “I was thrilled to get back to Wheeling. Wheeling is a very, very special place.”

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It was great to see the phrase, “Written by Sean Hennen,” appear in the opening credits of the television drama, “Person of Interest,” Thursday, Nov. 17. The Wheeling native, who works on the writing staff for the CBS hit series, penned a thrilling episode for the intriguing drama.

Hennen, the son of Mike and Sherry Hennen of Wheeling, is a graduate of Linsly School and Elon (N.C.) University.

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The Rev. Thomas Acker, S.J., former president of Wheeling Jesuit University, has a new job in the region.

It was announced last week that the Most Rev. George V. Murry, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, has appointed Acker as administrator of Sts. Philip and James Catholic Church in Canal Fulton, Ohio. The parish is located in Stark County.

According to media reports, Acker went to the Diocese of Youngstown in September as assistant to the bishop for special projects.

Acker also is chief executive officer of Forward Southern West Virginia and chairman and CEO of the Higher Education Foundation in Beckley.

In addition to his prior work at Wheeling Jesuit University, he served previously as dean of Future Generations Graduate School, dean of arts and sciences at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and associate professor of biology at the University of San Francisco, the University of Detroit and John Carroll University in Cleveland. He also was a project director for the U.S. Peace Corps in Nepal and a Fulbright professor at Tribhuvan University in Nepal.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net