By Debra Herndon
Have you ever wondered why Main Street, Shinnston is called Main Street, since it’s definitely NOT the MAIN Street in town. Ever wonder what Bridge Street was called BEFORE there was a Bridge? And what was the difference between an Opera House and a Theater?
These questions and many more were answered by local historian and collector Robert P. (Bobby) Bice III at a program presented October 7th at the Museum, co-sponsored by the Shinnston Historical Association and the Bice-Ferguson Memorial Museum.
Bice carefully selected photographs and artifacts from his personal collection and presented a program on Early Shinnston Businesses. The beginnings of current businesses including Shinnston Wesbanco, Shinnston Plumbing and Harmer Funeral Home were discussed and various business uses of existing buildings in the downtown, examined. The talk was well received with many in the audience offering up their own memories and insight. A reception followed as items were examined and more stories were shared.
Now for the answers:
When businesses were starting up and the town was taking shape, there was not a bridge between West Side and downtown. There were two ferry boats. The ferry boats would conduct people across the West Fork and the landing area was at Main Street. Many businesses sprang up there. The bridge was built in 1876.
Prior to that Bridge Street was called Locust Street for the trees located there. And at an Opera House plays and musical performances would be put on by LIVE people as opposed to our theaters which normally presented films.
More information about the town can be found at the Museum, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10-2 through October 28, when it closes for the season.