Bob-n-Along: Telling our city and county history in photographs was a labor of love

By Bob Stealey | January 19, 2017
Generally in a column that I write, I would try to avoid aggrandizing my own efforts at anything I had done. However, in keeping with my weekly intent of keeping the themes of my columns centered on our fair city of Clarksburg, I found myself compromising my principles as I decided to write for today's offering a bit of describing my work that went into the completion of the coffee-table paperback, "Images of America: Clarksburg," which I compiled and had copyrighted in 2005.
 
Every photo that appears in the book was taken, at one time or another, right here in the "Jewel of the Hills," Clarksburg, West Virginia, in different years.
 
Hopefully, you won't mind my saying I'm a bit proud of the work that went into the completion of the book. Several of my friends--old and new--have gone out of their way to compliment me, saying, "I liked the book you wrote on Clarksburg," to which I reply,
"Well, it was more of a photo compilation than a written work, but thanks so much, anyway."
 
The book, which was printed by Arcadia Publishing Company of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, was one of four such books that I completed in different years. Also, I did books on Harrison County, in 2000; on Doddridge and Ritchie Counties in 2001, and on Bridgeport in 2007. Arcadia has published countless books for authors not only in West Virginia, but in other states as well, and I might add they've done very well on each of them. There were about 200 photos in each book.
 
Here I should point out that "Images of America: Harrison County" consisted of quite a few photos and
captions that were taken in Clarksburg, which is, of course, the seat of Harrison County. While putting
together my work on Clarksburg, I used the Harrison County book as a guide to be certain that none of
what I used in "Clarksburg," picture-wise, was repeated, if you follow what I'm saying. I attempted to do
likewise in "Bridgeport," but alas, I did come across a repeat or two when reviewing it.
 
In my Clarksburg work, quite a few of the scenes were of the central business district of the city, better
known as "downtown," but perhaps there are many younger (and newer) residents of and visitors to
the city who might not recognize those photos, since some of them--several showed retail stores and
shops--actually appeared surrounded by large numbers of shoppers. The further back in time that the
pics were taken, chances are the greater number of people were shown.
 
In that Clarksburg book there were pictures of churches and schools that were located in the city,
as well as St. Mary's Hospital, the old (and newer--later United Hospital Center) Union Protestant Hospital
and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. In addition, I was able to have lent to me several photos
of old homes in Clarksburg, including some that were in the "Quality Hill" area, heading up the 100 and 200 blocks of East Main Street.
 
A couple of one- and two-page views of parades in downtown Clarksburg also appear in the book, and an
aerial view of Hite Field and a couple of aerial views of downtown, showing the Expressway (now U.S. 50) that was semi-completed in the late 1950s. There were several photos of the aftermath of some tragic fires and floods in the city. There was even a picture of the confiscation of some slot machines, with city police detectives shown making the haul.
 
A few of Clarksburg's hotels appear in a few of the pictures, as well as the bus terminal, the start
of construction of the Clarksburg Parking Garage on Hewes Avenue, the U.S. Post Office, a passenger
train loading and unloading at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad depot along Baltimore Avenue in Glen Elk,
a busy Harrison County Court House Plaza and some exterior and interior shots of a few businesses
downtown. Pictures of a couple of athletic teams can also be found toward the back of the book.
 
The books are still available at various locations in the Clarksburg area, including James & Law Co.,
the Books a Million store at Meadowbrook Mall and the Sam's Club store in East Pointe, to name just
a few places. I can only say if you purchase a book that I hope you have as much enjoyment browsing
through it as I had compiling it. And that goes not only for the Clarksburg book, but for the other three
books, as well.
 
The books sell for $19.99 each or can be ordered by contacting the publisher, who can be reached at
www.arcadiapublishing.com.
- - -
Today's Bible Verses: "If you love me, obey me, and I will ask the Father and he will give you another
Comforter, and he will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, for it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, for he lives with you now and some day shall be in you."--John 14:15-17

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