In the late 1980's , following the devastating
flood of 1985, the Town of Alderson received a grant from the State
of WV that was for nearly $800,000.00! Then Governor Arch Moore
presented the award to the Town at a meeting, which for a reason I
have now forgotten, took place at the Federal Prison. It may have
been because the Prison had been so much help to the town after the
flood, the inmates did many dirty jobs of cleaning-up and throwing
I was shortly afterward elected to the Alderson Town Council and
after the state awarded the Grant we tried very hard to determine to
what use we could use the money to obtain the maximum impact. It
was our decision that the money should be used to acquire the
flood-damaged and or run-down and vacant buildings along the banks
of the river. Many of these buildings had been unoccupied and in
disrepair for years and were in danger, if they were not already, of
becoming health and safety hazards. This might be the last
opportunity to see them removed and the river bank cleared.
The Town was fortunate that the Federal Government under the much
criticized and maligned Federal Emergency Management Program (FEMA),
saw FEMA offer to buy many of the structures. After the purchase by
FEMA, title and deed to the properties was given to the Town of
Alderson. They did, in the deeds, stipulate the Town could not sell
the property and had to use it for the "common' good! This has
turned out to pose some problems for the community, in that
maintenance, such as mowing is required!
We envisioned even then the site of the present Alumni Park as
becoming one day a small park with benches and table beside the
river. Toward that aim we were using the site for the disposal of
rubble, stones and such debris.
Miss Alice Todd Alderson about that time asked the Town to remove an
unsightly object from the creek that flows from Dark Hollow,
investigation revealed the object to be what was called a "steel
beam". A local wrecking truck was contacted and removed the "beam"
to the afore-mentioned spot at the end of the bridge.
I was walking on the bridge and noted the "beam" had one end larger
than the rest, much like the "Plinth Block" at the base of many door
casings. Scraping the dirt away revealed writing cast in the metal.
Curiosity led me to get paper and pencil and trace over the writing
to see if I could determine what it was.
You may imagine my surprise when I discovered,
The "Beam" was taken to the Towns Maintenance
Area, where it is reported to remain still, awaiting some adaptive
and appropriate reuse.
What we lack is information about the Iron Works! The specific
location and any other information, even if anecdotal would be
helpful. About all we now know is that it existed in 1888 and was
thought to be above the railroad Crossing.