While the month is almost over, there is still time to celebrate here at the OCPL by taking a moment to catch up on the activities of the Archives and Local History Department. OCPL Archivist, Laura Carroll, shares some interesting collections and the work that we have been doing to document the effects of the COVID-19 virus on the residents and businesses of Ohio County.
While the Library was closed to the public from March through late September due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the library staff was still hard at work maintaining our collections and services. In early June, many staff returned to the building as the Library began to offer curbside services, allowing patrons to check out books, magazines, DVDs, and make copies or receive notary services as needed. And we are happy to announce that, as of September 21, we are now open to the public for in-person visits by appointment!
Earlier in the year, we received a hefty collection (nearly 8 boxes) of early 19th-century Wheeling banking records from the Hazlett family. These corporate minutes, ledgers, and stock certificates represent the German Bank of Wheeling, the Dollar Savings and Trust, among others, and provide a fascinating glimpse into the growth of an industrial city's wealth and capital.
[Select items from the Hazlett Family Banking Records, OCPL Archives]
A particularly noteworthy item in this collection is a large ledger containing the original articles of incorporation and minutes of the Riverside Potteries Company, which later turned into Wheeling Sanitary Manufacturing Company.
Another collection came to the archives via the daughter of noted local historian and West Liberty professor Robert W. Schramm. Adriane Schramm donated a small collection of her late father's photographs, family papers, and historical artifacts. Robert W. Schramm was the grandson of Andrew A. Schramm, founder and president of Uneeda Brewing Company and later owner of Wheeling Coffee and Spice Company. The collection features family photographs, Uneeda beer bottles, Paramount coffee cans, and other historical material related to Schramm's varied historical interests. The collection also includes photographs and other items from Gladys (Palmer) Schramm's family, some of whom were iron and tin workers in Wheeling.
[Uneeda Brewing Company, Robert C. Schramm Family Papers, OCPL Archives.
(This building was later used by Wheeling Tile and was demolished in 1976.)]
[William Palmer and others, Robert C. Schramm Family Papers, OCPL Archives]
The archives also catalogued a small but fascinating group of photographs taken by H. Clyde Bowden during the 1936 flood. Bowden owned and operated the Wheeling Karmel Korn Shoppe at 1323 1/2 Market St. Several photos document the height of the water on Market Street and many others reveal the damage the waters wreaked on residential neighborhoods throughout the city.
[Wheeling Karmelkorn Shoppe on Market Street, Wheeling, WV during 1936 Flood,
H. Clyde Bowden Photographs, OCPL Archives]
Genealogists and local history buffs will be interested in another item — the original record book of the Peninsular (also known as the Peninsula) Cemetery. Originally 22 acres, the cemetery spanned from the Fulton neighborhood to the Manchester area but was split in two when Interstate 70 was built in the 1960s. In addition to listing the cemetery plots, the record book includes an alphabetical index of names linking those interred to the page where their plot can be found. Dates range from 1851-1950s. Throughout the book, useful information such as deeds, transfers, and other relevant paperwork is tipped in.
[Peninsular Cemetery Lot Record Book, OCPL Archives]
As you can see, the OCPL is continuing to maintain our historically significant materials and make them available despite the current, unprecedented challenges. We have also continued digitizing photographs and other documents from our collections. These scans are added to our Flickr site which currently boasts over 3000 images. The Wheeling History section of our website also continues to grow — most of our history pages contain a brief history, maps, links to images, and additional resources. Check out our most recent additions:
On a final note, the OCPL Archives is also hoping to document how the epidemic has affected businesses and individuals throughout Ohio County by collecting signs, posters, and any other type of material that tells your story. The stories we tell in the years to come and the history that will be taught to future generations depends on what we collect and save today. Click here to learn more and find out how to donate material.
Any questions or comments? Please leave a comment below or email us at [email protected].