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National Guard Armory Has Housed Several Units

Although there has been a Army National Guard unit in Moundsville for some 70 years, permanent housing of it has been in the city for 60 years.

When Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 150th Armored Cavalry Regiment, moved from the Exposition Building on Wheeling Island to Moundsville, there were not an armory or a maintenance facility and thus, it was necessary to rent space. One of the buildings was at First Street and Olive Avenue, which had previously housed an automotive business, and another was on Lafayette Avenue.

The first new building for the Guard was a maintenance building which was first used in 1952, and a military Quonset building which served as the supply/recreation facility.

It was not until 1959 that the Guard would have an armory, with that building having been dedicated on Dec. 6, 1959, thus making it 60 years old this Friday.

I visited the Armory this past week to learn if any major changes had taken place in recent years, and found it was pretty much the same as when it was built.

By the way, there is a restored tank in the front parking lot area. It was originally used in the middle of the parking lot but after its renovatiion work it was relocated to the southeast corner of lot. By the way, the 150th ACR was assigned six tanks.

In addition to the 150th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Armory has been home to the 152nd Military Police Detachment, the 157th Military Police Detachment and the 1092nd Engineers.

The current occupant is the 119th Snappers Company, an engineering unit.

Getting back to dedication, among those participating were the governor, who was Cecil H. Underwood; Adjutant General William E. Blake, who presented keys to the Armory to Lt.. Col.. Harry V. Lemery; Congressman Arch A. Moore Jr., Moundsville Mayor W. Vernon Smith, American Legion Post No. 3, John Young, Marshall County Court president; Albert D. Myers.

The dedication committee consisted of Smith, Emery, Lt. Col. Frank W. Haught, Mayor William E. Miller, Capt.. James M. Summers and Capt.. Martin L. Jones.

Special recognition was accorded to the Marshall County Court for the contribution of $77,000, made available from operating funds of the county, to pay for the state’s share of the cost of the Armory. The state would later reimburse the county court.

Vital statistics listed in the program were that the Moundsville Armory was located on a 6-acre site, the Armory was comprised of 20,865 square feet, of which 7,000 was contained in the main drill hall. The Armory is of brick and masonry construction, including administrative and supply rooms, locker facilities, a kitchen, day room, three classrooms and a rifle range, plus facilities for squadron headquarters administration.

Also listed were those making up the troop, which were 16 officers and 104 enlisted personnel.

One change occurred in March of 1980 when the Moundsville Armory became the Col.. Joseph F. Bartsch Armory in Moundsville. Col. Bartsch, who died in May 1979 while on a military assignment in Washington, D.C., served as an officer in the West Virginia National Guard for 24 years, and was a member of the National Guard in Moundsville for 21 years, five of which were as the commanding officer of the 152nd Military Police Detachment.

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Authors Gary Rider and Roseanna Dakan Keller will be signing autographs from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library for their book “Historic Cemeteries of Moundsville,” which will be released that day. The book consists of 237 pages of biographies and pictures.

The majority of the material in the book came from newspaper obituaries, family members and other resources pertaining to persons buried in the First Street Cemetery (across the street from Calvary United Methodist Church), and the Mount Rose and Greenlawn cemeteries.

Rider said, “A vignette of the lives of those select individuals who helped build and shape the community will be discussed” at the book signing. He added, “Some of these individuals were merchants, some were doctors and others were educators, veterans, farmers, laborers, caregivers and craftsmen.” He continued, “Whatever each brought to the developing the Moundsville community, their efforts enriched lives and made a difference in molding the past into Moundsville’s present and future. Our indebtedness to these individuals knows no bounds and our gratitude to them is immense. Some of the individual bios include: Velma Mae Lutes, a murder victim; Francina McMahon, pioneer nurse; two Civil War generals; Galbraith McFadden, penitentiary Warden; Shorty Hicks, basketball star at West Virginia University; Davis Grubb, David Weaver of the whip and broom factory, Dr. Benjamin Spurr, victims of the First Street Mine Explosion and the Benwood Mine Disaster, John Clinton Roberts, Congressman Alexander Newman.”

Rider said that $2 from each book sold will be donated to the Mount Rose Association for the maintenance of the cemetery.

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With the date of 21st Elizabethtown Festival having been moved from September to December, the theme has changed somewhat, as it now reflects on the Christmas season, although the goal of the festival is to instill in visitors a sense of the history of the area while providing entertainment and bringing economic development to the region and the state of West Virginia.

It will be a two-day event, starting at 4 p.m. this Friday. The four-hour attraction will include vendors, music from 5:30-7:30 p.m. by the Cradall Creek Band, and crafts with Mrs. Claus from 6 p.m. until closing at 8 p.m.

The festival on Saturday will be from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., with vendors selling their wares from entire time. There will be Christmas carol singing beginning at 10. Cookies and milk with Santa will start at 10:30 a.m., music by the Honky Tonk Sweethearts from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., an appearance by Charlie Bonar, and music by the renowned Mound City Band.

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A reminder: The Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale, operated by the Marshall County Historical Society, will be hosting on Thursday the first of two Christmas events this month.

Officials connected with the Cockayne Farmstead invite the public to step into the past brought to life one again at its “Christmas With the Cockayne Farmstead Open House.”

The hours will be from 7-8:30 p.m.

This event, along with the one on Dec. 15, has been planned and sponsored by the MCHS, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s Preserve West Virginian Ameri-Corps, an historic preservation program funded by Volunteer West Virginia, and the Commission for National Community Service.

Anyone wishing additional information on either of the events can visit www.cockaynefarmstead.com or search Cockayne at Glen Dale on Facebook.

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The Marshall County Health Department will be holding several clinics and programs this month.

Among these are:

Immunization Clinics on Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, the hours being 9-11 a,m., and 1-4:30 p.m. The seasonal clinics are regular childhood and back-to-school immunizations, including seasonal flu vaccinations. No appointment is necessary.

PPD (TB) Skin Testing Clinics are also on Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, from 9 a.m., and 1-4 p.m. Appointments are not necessary.

STD and HIV Testing Clinic — Free and confidential testing available on a regular basis. Call for an appointment 304-845-7840 and ask for a nurse.

Person In Charge (PIC) Trading — This Tuesday at 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. PIC training is for designated persons in charge, managers, owners and operators of restaurants and other facilities in Marshall County. Call 304-845-7840 for additional information.

Seasonal Flu Vaccination Clinics — Mondays from 9-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Seasonal flu shots will be offered for anyone 6 months of age and older Off-site flu clinics for businesses and organizations are available by appointment.

The Health Department will close at noon on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, and will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

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The annual Marshall County Strings Winter program will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the John Marshall High School Center for Performing Arts.

Some 200 students in both elementary and middle schools will be performing in the Winter concert.

Sounds of the holidays will fill the stage with familiar pieces including “Jingle Bells,” “Up on the Housetop” and “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

Middle school students will share unique arrangements of traditional carols along with contemporary pieces that commemorate the holiday season.

Those taking part will be students from Cameron, Center McMechen, Central, Glen Dale, Hilltop, Sand Hill and Washington Lands elementary schools as well as Cameron, Moundsville and Sherrard middle schools.

The concert is free and open to the public.

Donations will be accepted.

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The annual Marshall County Farm Bureau Christmas Party will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Limestone Community Center, with all members and their families invited to attend.

It will be a covered dish dinner for which th meat, beverages and table service will be provided.

Wesley Howsare will provide the music.

Door prizes will be awarded.

There will be a brief business meeting at the conclusion of the party.

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The Moundville Opus Music Club will perform at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library.

They will be singing Christmas carols and a few songs from their upcoming concert to be held at 2 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the First Christian Church, Moundsville.

The title of the concert is, “Christmas Grace.” Under the direction of Reva Icard, it will feature members of the Opus along with guests, The Gentlemen Singers. Also, taking part will be local students who previously received the benefit of scholarship assistance from Opus to further their education in music. Among them will be Sarah Weinschenker and Shawn Hancher.

There will be no admission charge at the Sunday concert, but a free-will offering will be collected to help fund the club’s scholarship assistance program.

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Cookies & Crafts with Santa will be taking place from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Grand Vue Park, sponsored by the park.

Each child will receive a photo with Santa, and they may choose crafts from a numerous amount. Also, there will be cookies to eat and punch to drink.

To register to attend the event call the park’s main office at 304-845-9810.

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St. Jude Catholic Church, Glen Dale, will hold a fish fry from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday.

Eat-in or take-out orders will be available. Call 304-845-2646 for local delivery if ordered by 11 a.m. for lunch, and by 3 p.m. for dinner.

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The Salvation Army Kettle collection in Moundsville and New Martinsville began in full this past weekend, and will continue on Mondays through Saturdays for the next four weeks.

Any civic clubs, 4-H groups, churches, businesses, churches and individuals wishing to volunteer to participate in the bell ringing for the kettles are asked to phone the Salvation Army in Moundsville at 304-845-0510.

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