Turning a Mole Hill Into a Mountain

Parkersburg News
July 3, 1949

'Who Says It Can't Be Done?' Residents of Mountain Ask

By Mary Jean Corbitt,
Staff Writer for The News

Mole Hill W. Va. is no more!

"This is the first time in all history that a mountain actually has been made out of a molehill," Governor Patteson told the crowd of 3,000 that overflowed the small village.

Patteson, Sen. Harley M. Kilgore and Rep. Cleveland Bailey spoke from a hay wagon pulled up in front of the post office for workmen to change the sign that had read Molehill, W. Va. for 92 years to one proclaiming "Mountain, W. Va."

Begun as a stunt to determine whether a mountain could be made out of a molehill, the life of this community was changed by the Borden radio show "County Fair." Several weeks ago a contestant, Bob Falk, was offered $500, to get Mole Hill switched to that of Mountain.

Contacts were made with the United States Post Office department, which approved the change and the necessary signatures of the residents were obtained on a petition. All maps, road signs, post office records and other official documents were "corrected" with the result being that a "Mountain" was truly made out of a "Mole Hill!"

"Shakespeare said 'What's in a name?'" said Circuit Court Judge Max DeBerry of Harrisville, "but that was a long time ago, Now we know there is a lot in a name."

The Borden's "County Fair" program itself was officially opened with an invocation by the Rev. Manley O. Collins, pastor of the Evangelical United Brethren church.

Win Elliot, well-known master of ceremonies, then introduced the distinguished guests, including the governor who made the official proclamation.

"Through permission granted by the Post Office department, the town will now by [sic] known asMountain," he said, and the sign declaring the new name was tacked up.

It was for the humorous Elliot, though, to make the crowd laugh. The spectators got a kick out of some of the honors the master of ceremonies made.

Elliot said the mules hitched to the hay wagon were "mighty fine looking horses."

"Those horses come from Missouri, son," said Senator Kilgore.

The crowd chuckled as Elliot nailed the new post office name up crooked.

"That's the poorest carpenter I've ever seen," Governor Patteson said.

In a surprise move, "the famous male quartet" featuring Governor Patteson, Senator Kilgore, Representative Bailey and Contestant Falk sang the "new city anthem."

To the tune of "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain," they sang:

"We have a mountain - it's a West Virginia town!
"It was Mole Hill 'til we changed the name around.
"Everyone is out and shoutin'.
"Let's change Mole Hill into Mountain."
"We love Mountain - it's a West Virginia town."

Another unexpected note was provided when the Mole Hill - or Mountain - Farm Woman's Club was rewarded for their part in making the celebration a success. During the program Elliot presented the group with a sterling silver service set. Music by the Pennsboro high school band, a square dance featuring a set of four, a fiddler and two guitarists, and interviews with spectators completed the program.

But for the townspeople and visitors, the activities had just began. To keep them entertained the rest of the afternoon and evening, a complete county fair on a small scale and carousel had been set up.

The day's celebration, begun with a prayer, ended with a moonlight dance and a Fourth of July fireworks display. Exploding rockets on the mountainside spelled out the town's new name.

As a sidelight to the day's events Senator Kilgore mailed a letter to President Truman so he would get one of the first letters postmarked from Mountain, W. Va.

Nor did this entirely wind up the activities, for to the residents and spectators, next Saturday will be a red letter day, since this is the day when the wire recording of the program will be broadcast over the entire CBS network at 1 p. m. It will be carried locally over Station WPAR.


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