Installation of the First Highway Historical Marker

Charleston Gazette
April 27, 1937

First Historical Marker, on Old Capitol Site, Presented to State

The first of 440 markers of historic and scenic spots in the state was erected at a brief ceremony yesterday afternoon at Lee and Capitol Street, the site of the old capitol.

F. Witcher McCullough, state WPA administrator, turned over the marker to the state in the presence of Gov. Holt and other officials.

In his presentation address, McCullough said:

"Gov. Holt, I take great pleasure in presenting to the state of West Virginia the fruits of the labor of these project workers, whose diligence, care and devotion to duty has resulted in the preservance of a vast amount of historically important information that otherwise might have been forever lost to our people. This has been made possible through the splendid cooperation of the state of West Virginia."

To Erect Others

"In behalf of the federal government, through the Works Progress administration, I now entrust in your care this completed marker, symbolical of the others which subsequently and speedily will be erected."

The markers will in turn be placed in the care of Road Commissioner Burr H. Simpson. Under his supervision the other markers will be located.

The Charles high school band played at the event, which attracted several hundred persons.

Maj. H. W. Shawhan, director of the state conservation commission and chairman of the state historical and scenic marker commission, presided.

Mayor D. Boone Dawson, Simpson and Roy Bird Cook, state historical authority, also spoke.

As the markers are completed by the WPA workers, they will be turned over to the state road commission. Information on the markers was obtained by "white collar" workers taken from relief roles in various parts of the state.

Cook Speaks

Cook said:

"For more than two years a careful search has been made for historical material about West Virginia. This search has led from the court house Belfry at Point Pleasant to the basement of the court house at Romney, and from federal departments at Washington to the wonderful collections of Draper manuscripts at Madison, Wis.

"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.

"The commission believes the statements thereon are facts and offer this group of markers as the beginning of a system that will eventually commemorate all points of historic and scenic interest in West Virginia, unfolding the story of our state so that her citizens and those of the world may may know that wonderful heritage that has come down to our people. And with the passing years will come even a greater appreciation of the work that has been accomplished and the great collection of historical material made available for the use of our citizens."

Monuments and Memorials