After leaving Washington, PA, the city of Rebecca Harding Davis’s birth and the subject of my last two posts, I drove 30 miles west to Wheeling, West Virginia. This is the city in which Davis grew up and into adulthood. It is also the setting for one of her most powerful stories, Life in the Iron Mills.
Once known as the Nail Capital of the World, Wheeling was an important industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I was on a tight schedule that day, but wanted to make a quick stop and at least walk down the street where Davis had lived and see a bit of the city. Her home no longer stands, but I did find the street and a historic photo of it which I shared in a post earlier this year.
Of course I also had to check out the local public library. The Ohio County Library is the focus of today’s library photo essay.
The library’s front. It is much a much larger library than it looks from this angle.
My intention was to drive by the library, but then I saw that funky front door and had to stop and get a closer look.
This is by far the grooviest library front door I’ve ever seen. Once I got this close, I couldn’t resist going inside.
This is in the foyer to the right of the front door, where a matching groovy door leads to the lower level. As you can see, the library was built in 1972.
When you walk through the front door, the library entrance is to your left. Straight ahead is the fiction section.
I made a beeline to check out their Cather on the shelf.
Looking from the fiction section back toward the front door. The children’s section is to the right.
The children’s section is open and full of color.
I know this sign was for the children, but it made me feel warm and fuzzy. This visit was in June, when libraries and other public buildings across the country were starting to open up again after the first spring of the pandemic. My library had curbside pick up, but I had missed browsing and just hanging out inside.
I didn’t take a picture of the circulation/reference area because there were a bunch of people around and I didn’t want to be invasive. This photo shows the Archives and Special Collections in the back. In the forefront is a display case. They have a large and fantastic display area of local artifacts which is to the left of this photo. I didn’t take a photo of the entire display area, but here’s a link to their website that shows 250 local objects.
When in Wheeling, one must take a photo of nails if presented with the opportunity. This is a sampler pack of La Belle nails (sorry for the glare, it wasn’t possible to get a cleaner shot).
There were so many interesting artifacts, including these sections of street car rails.
I was struck by the seating sign in the upper right hand corner.
One last photo of the interior. To the right is nonfiction and to the left is reference.
Back outside, taking one last look at the front door. I like their sign, and that tree is perfection.
My initial impression of the exterior was that it was a plain brick building. A second look reveals this isn’t true. There’s actually some lovely brick work that breaks up the long walls into something like frames.
I’m so glad I stopped in to check out this library. I could have spent so much more time looking at their local history display and collections, but I was already late for a date with a friend in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Ohio County Public Library
52 16th Street