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Look Back: A City Building in the works

The Parkersburg City Building located at the corner of Market and Fifth streets, was Parkersburg’s first “official” city building. Prior to completion of the building in 1897, the city rented office space. (Photo Provided)

A [Parkersburg] CITY BUILDING

Mayor Gibbens is the originator of an idea for the construction of a building for the use of the city which would save the rent now paid. His plan is something like this: Let the city issue bonds to the limit allowed by law, which would put into its treasury about $45,000. Of this sum take about $16,000 for the construction of a three-story building where the fire department headquarters now are, the first floor to be used for a fire department, city-lock up and police headquarters, the second for Council rooms and the third for the use of the fire boys and for the janitor and his family. Let the designs of the architect be so drawn that in due time, when the city is able, an addition fronting on Market Street can be built, the first floor to be used for store rooms, the second for a city hall (which is badly needed) and the third for any purpose that may be necessary.

“The city now pays big rent for the Council Chambers, police headquarters and the hall on Market Street in which the fire boys hold their monthly meetings. All of this rent could be saved and the city would be a financial gainer by owning a building of its own.

“Other members of the council favor the Mayor’s plan, and the people may be asked to vote upon it in due time.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg Daily State Journal

Jan. 11, 1890

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Will begin work

We are informed that in all probability a special council meeting will be called for some day early next week for the purpose of adopting the plans for a city building and letting the contract for paving.

The majority of members of council, we are told, are in favor of beginning work on the new building as soon as possible. The removal of the old market house building and excavation for the new building, it is urged, should be done at once, in order to get things as far advanced as possible by the time the bonds are sold, and probably the work will be ordered done immediately after June 1, when the building will be vacated.

The Parkersburg Daily Sentinel

May 26, 1894

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Cornerstone laying

The cornerstone of the new city building was laid today in the presence of thousands of people, many of whom were visitors from distant points.

The Parkersburg Semi-Weekly Sentinel

Sept. 6, 1895

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Almost done at last

The new City Hall is beginning to “see its finish” at last. Beyond a few unimportant details, contractor Miller’s work is practically done. The multitudinous rows of incandescent electric light globes remain to be put in position and the fixtures have not yet been placed in the lavatories.

The very handsome copper lamps have been put up in the main entrance and set off the other decorations admirably, and are quite artistic in design.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

July 7, 1897

To be continued …

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Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society. If you have comments or questions about Look Back items, please contact him at: roberteenoch@gmail.com, or by mail at WCHPS, PO Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.

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