Franco Enjoys ‘Taste’ Of City

Andres Franco, a finalist for the music director’s position with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, has already gotten a “taste” of the Friendly City.

During a recent interview, the Pittsburgh resident remarked, “It’s funny, I went to a small neighborhood market last night and got some wildflower honey. It was from Windswept Farms in Wheeling.”

Franco will be conducting the orchestra’s Masterworks concert, A Night in Vienna, at the Capitol Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and a pops concert, “Music of the Knights,” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22.

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The holiday season truly has arrived in the Wheeling area, with the opening of the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Park.

A guest at Oglebay’s Light Up Night festivities Thursday evening observed that the festival’s arrival really seems to signal the beginning of the holidays. The festive lighted displays and beautiful seasonal decorations throughout Wilson Lodge certainly offer a cheering sight.

The lighting displays bring brightness to the darkness of the world, while the enduring popularity of the Winter Festival of Lights brightens the area’s economy.

A highlight of the Light Up Night ceremony, of course, was the well-deserved recognition given to Lakin Chambers, a third-grade student at Woodsdale Elementary School in Wheeling, who designed a new lighting display to celebrate Oglebay’s 90th anniversary this year. Her winning entry features a five-tier birthday cake topped with fireworks.

David Lindelow, the Wheeling Park Commission’s president and CEO, showed Lakin’s original drawing to guests at the opening reception. The finished lighting display, in place near the Harry Hamm Clubhouse at the Speidel Golf Course, replicates the youngster’s concept.

If she wants to pursue a career as a designer, Lakin could have a bright future as evidenced by the colorful, clean lines and captivating images in both her drawing and the actual display.

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In addition to its array of holiday decorations, the Hickman Lounge at Oglebay’s Wilson Lodge is sporting a bright, fresh look as a result of a recent refurbishing project.

The second-floor area, which is always a popular gathering spot during the holidays, now features sophisticated overhead lighting fixtures and sleek, comfortable new furniture.

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A special exhibit, “America’s First Highway: The National Road in West Virginia,” is on display this month at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling.

The exhibit includes a photocopy of Elie Williams’ commission, signed by President Thomas Jefferson, to serve as one of three surveyors for construction of the National Road. The late Mary Eleanor Bowie Colvin of Wheeling was one of Williams’ descendants.

Her daughter, Connie Colvin Ault of Cincinnati, inherited Williams’ commission, but the original document is too fragile to display publicly. Jay Frey, chairman of the Wheeling 250 Committee, related that arrangements were made to have a photocopy of the document prepared for the library’s display.

Christin Byrum, director of the Museums of Oglebay Institute, curated the special exhibit.

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In another historical tidbit, Billy Joe Peyton, a professor of history at West Virginia State University, said one of the other commissioners for construction of the National Road — Thomas Moore from Maryland — also invented an icebox.

Peyton was the keynote speaker last weekend for the Ohio Valley History Expo, which celebrated the 200th anniversary of the National Road’s completion from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer.net

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