My first acquaintance with the stonework in Calhoun County was 36 years ago when I drove a feed truck around the area on deliveries. The house beside the main store in Big Bend was of excellent stonework, unusual in our local area. The store owner at that time told me that the store owner during the depression provided room and board for a gang of Italian WPA stonemasons in exchange for them building him a stone house. The story made sense, so I never questioned it. Below is the house today.
Click photos to enlarge.
I really didn't pay so much attention to the other stonework in the countyb at the time, though I knew it was there. Recently, though, I've been hauling limestone and blacktop through the area, and it's piqued my interest in the quality and quantity of such work in the county. For instance, there's the grade school in Grantsville.
Notice the stone walls in the four photos, also. There's quite a bit of such work in the town. Notice the stone garage in the next photo; there are four in town, I think; I suspect there may have been more at one time.
Here's a photo of the back of their courthouse and jail, though prisoners are no longer kept in the jail. I didn't get a shot of the front, but found one online.
Here's the one of the front from online. I brightened it considerably to make things plainer to see.
Here's another example of the area stonework found online, it's of the old high school, no longer in use. Both it and the grade school are now boarded up.
A few miles away, near Millstone, also in Calhoun County, a DOH garage shows the same quality stonework as many other buildings in the county. (Taken through a wet windsheild in the rain.)
All this time, I'd been thinking that this was all possibly done by a group of Italian immigrants working for the WPA, and that could be partially true, but the main story, I discoverd almost by accident in an old article at The Hur Herald. Please take a look:
I hope they find a way to save this part of their heritage. If these buildings were in Parkersburg, They'd likely have been torn down years ago. © 2015