Installation of the First Highway Historical Marker

Charleston Daily Mail
April 27, 1937

First Historical Marker on Site of Capitol That Burned

Governor Holt Accepts It from McCullough; 439 Others to Be Erected Soon

West Virginia highway workers will erect 439 historical highway markers on 44 state and national routes within the next six months following the dedication of the first marker Monday afternoon in downtown Charleston.

The first marker was accepted by Governor Holt from WPA Administrator F. Witcher McCullough. It is erected in the triangular plot at Lee and Capitol streets, and faces Capitol.

Ceremonies at Plot

In ceremonies held there, on the site of the old capitol building that burned to the ground in 1921, the marker was officially delivered to the state. The Charleston high school band played and speeches were delivered by H. W. Shawhan, state conservation commission head; Mayor Dawson, and Burr H. Simpson, road commissioner.

It was Mr. Simpson who accepted the first marker from the hands of Governor Holt.

Several hundred persons were at the scene, despite lowering rain clouds.

The 440 markers were financed by WPA funds and a commission, headed by Mr. Shawhan, was selected by former Governor Kump to plan the marking program. Debatable West Virginia historical matters were threshed out by the committee, numbering among its members such authorities on West Virginia history as Roy Bird Cook.

Symbolical of Others

In presenting this first marker to Governor Holt, Mr. McCullough said, "I now entrust into your care this first completed marker, symbolical of the others which subsequently and speedily will be erected."

Governor Holt in turn presented the aluminum plate, attached to an iron post to the state road commission, under whose direction the remaining markers will be erected.

In a speech delivered toward the close of the brief ceremonies, Mr. Cook said:

"For more than two years a careful search has been made for historical material about West Virginia.

Under Roy B. Johnston

"This commission and project with a splendid organization operating under Director Ross B. Johnston also has sought the assistance of many historical organizations. Debatable questions have been checked. True, it may be, that many traditions and local stories have been spoiled, but the final results are offered in this and the 439 markers of like design."

In conjunction with the marking program, the road commission will issue an illustrated booklet this summer describing the markers and their locations.

Monuments and Memorials