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Council Approves Monument, Murals

WELLSBURG – Wellsburg Council Tuesday approved a monument noting the former location of Miller’s Tavern and authorized a Brooke High School senior to paint murals at multiple city parks.

Council had been approached by resident Walter Ferguson about establishing a monument to the historic building, which once housed the Brooke County Museum and was torn down recently by the Brooke County Commission to create space for a proposed addition to the county courthouse.

Built in 1797 at the corner of Main and Sixth streets, the building is said to have offered food and lodging to visitors sailing to and from Wellsburg on the nearby Ohio River.

Plans call for the monument to incorporate three stones taken from its foundation and to be established in a grassy lot at Charles and Sixth streets, not far from the tavern’s former location.

Ferguson, who was called for comment, said he asked the contractor who razed the building for five large stones from the foundation.

He said he gave two to Ruby Greathouse, curator of the Brooke County Museum, to create rear steps for the 232-year-old log house at the corner of Sixth and Charles streets.

Ferguson had assisted in the relocation of that structure, from Third Street to its present site, in 2004.

Wanting to preserve the memory of the former tavern, he sketched three possible designs for a monument incorporating the three remaining stones and a plaque noting the building’s history.

Of the three, a majority of council chose one resembling a bench though the intention is not for it to be used as such.

Second Ward Councilman Paul T. Billiard said he preferred another design in which the stones were stacked like a pyramid.

A third design involved standing the stones upright, with the two shortest at each side of the longest.

Upon learning of the design selected by council, Ferguson said, “If that’s what they wanted, that’s fine with me.”

Ferguson said he’s pleased that the building, which also was home to the Wellsburg Eagles lodge for more than 30 years, will be remembered, though he remains frustrated by the decision to raze it.

He noted it had been named a National Historic Landmark within an area of the city designated a National Historic District.

Brooke County Commissioners have said despite such designations, the structure wasn’t in its original condition and couldn’t be incorporated into the judicial annex they have planned.

They said they have approached officials at the museum, which relocated to Charles Street in 2012, about incorporating items and information from the tavern into a display in the annex.

On Tuesday council also authorized Brooke High School student Elizabeth Hamilton to paint murals at city parks as the community project required of her as a senior honors student.

Hamilton said she hopes to paint a mural with an inspirational image in each of the four parks with buildings and expects to begin work in the spring.

Plans call for the city to provide paint and other materials and city crews to apply primer to the walls first. When the murals are done, a finish will be applied to help preserve them.

Hamilton, who is interested in pursuing a career in architecture, said she looks forward to seeing her artwork when she visits the parks in the future.

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