Brooke museum plans special events

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County Museum and Cultural Center will hold two special events next weekend – one relating the experiences of West Virginia military veterans and the other, the many Brooke County residents who have gone on to professional sports.

At its new location at 704 Charles St., the museum through September will host Heroes Among Us, a traveling exhibit featuring photos and stories of West Virginia military veterans.

The exhibit was inspired by a book of the same name compiled by Bob Henry Baber, a professor at Glenville State College and director of the Veterans Legacy Project, with photos by Glenville alumnus Mark Romano.

Baber will be on hand from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 14 to discuss the book. A video, entitled “A Tradition of Service,” also was made with material from the book and aired on West Virginia Public Television.

There also may be copies of the book and a companion video, entitled “A Tradition of Service,” for sale at that time. The cost is $10 for the book and $15 for the book and video.

Ruby Greathouse, the museum’s curator, said she was impressed by the book’s quality but disappointed that none of the 23 veterans featured are from the Northern Panhandle. At Baber’s encouragement, she and fellow museum board members have made plans to pursue a similar book containing anecdotes and photos of veterans from this region.

Greathouse said faculty at Bethany College have been approached about assisting with the project, and details still are being worked out. But applications will be available at the museum for veterans interested in participating in the project.

“I think this is a worthy activity and it’s fitting for the Brooke County Museum to be involved,” she said.

Greathouse said the sports-themed event will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15 and help to kick off the creation of a sports-themed exhibit at the museum.

Slated to speak are Paul “Bud” Billiard, who led the Brooke High School football team to state championship and OVAC victories in the 1980s; Michael Traubert, a local historian with knowledge of the professional boxing matches staged years ago in Colliers; and Ron Ujcich, who coached the Wellsburg American Legion baseball team that won a state championship and will speak on professional baseball players who hailed from Brooke.

Greathouse said the exhibit focuses on the many Brooke County residents who went on to distinguished careers in professional sports.

The many include Lou Holtz, who went on to coach the Notre Dame Fighting Irish through many successful seasons; Glenn “Jeep” Davis, who earned three gold medals in track and field events at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics; Russ Craft, who played defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles and former Brooke County sheriff; John Teeters, who played with the Detroit Tigers; Joe Pettini, who played for and coached the St. Louis Cardinals; Rich Thomaselli, a running back with the Houston Oilers; and Frank Ujcich, who led the West Liberty Hilltoppers baseball team to its only national championship and played with a New York Mets minor league team.

“I was shocked to find how many people from this county have gone big-time,” Greathouse said.

Greathouse added the museum continues to add other displays, including one incorporating artifacts from three jails that once housed prisoners at or adjacent to the county courthouse.

The museum’s regular hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with visits at other times possible through appointments made by calling (304) 737-4060.

But it will have special hours for many occasions this month, including Sept. 20 and 21, when it will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for attendees of the Wellsburg High School Class of 1963 reunion and others.

The museum also will hold an open house during the Wellsburg Applefest, with author Anna Egan Smucker set to speak at 1 p.m. on Oct. 5. A Weirton native, Smucker is the author of several children’s books, including “Golden Delicious: A Cinderella Story,” about the discovery of the Golden Delicious variety of apple in Clay County, W.Va.

The museum also is preparing to host “Born of Rebellion,” a traveling exhibit detailing the role of the Civil War in West Virginia’s entry as a state. Set to open on Oct. 26, the exhibit is courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Culture and History in observance of the state’s 150th anniversary.

(Scott can be contacted at