By Jim Hunt
Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, a local community celebrated its 75th anniversary of becoming a city and it was a memorable occasion. The City of Stonewood came into existence on Dec. 17, 1947, when the town of Stonewall Park and the town of Norwood joined forces during the post-World War II timeframe.
Harrison County was one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and glass factories made up a large part of the economic development. The Pittsburgh Plate Glass factory was a large complex and was located along Elk Creek in the newly formed Stonewood. The tight-knit community has remained one of the nicest places to live in Harrison County, with a variety of housing options and a low crime rate.
Putting together a celebration of any kind requires a lot of effort and the Stonewood 75th anniversary was no exception. A committee began planning activities over a year ago. Most of the activities were centered around the Stonewood Volunteer Fire Department and the large, paved area was filled with vendors, food trucks, a stage and inflatable bouncy houses. The CENTRA trolly was giving tours of the community and it was one of the more popular activities with dozens of attendees riding around the neighborhoods and hearing from the tour guide, one of which was Mayor Jim Terango. Parking was readily available along the grassy areas next to Elk Creek and along many of the streets near the fire department.
As with any outdoor event, the weather was a factor and the cloudy skies opened occasionally but didn’t dampen the spirits of the attendees. My wife and I visited the celebration on Saturday and joined hundreds of visitors enjoying the event. We had a delicious sandwich of Italian Sausage and some fresh-squeezed lemonade, which was one of the best I have ever had. We sat near the stage and enjoyed the Layne Dancers as they entertained the crowd. There was even a visit by Batman and Wonder Woman, who arrived in the huge Batmobile that parked near the stage.
As we walked through the crowd, we saw many people we recognized, including Harrison County Circuit Clerk and former Sheriff, Albert Marano and his wife, as well as Harrison County Delegate Ben Queen. I also saw Crystal Johnson, Stonewood’s office manager, who was busy throughout the event helping get everyone in the right place and working with the many volunteers. It was incredible how well organized the events were and how everyone worked together to make the event special.
As someone who has attended hundreds of events in cities and towns across the country, the Stonewood celebration seemed to check all the boxes for putting on an Amazing event. A consistent comment that I heard, as I walked among the crowd, was the desire to continue the event on a yearly basis. While I know it is a lot of work and requires a lot of coordination, I would agree that this would be a wonderful celebration to add to the many festivals and events throughout Harrison County.
If you weren’t able to attend this year’s event, you missed an Amazing time in one of West Virginia’s Amazing Cities.