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Celebrating major milestones

We often get so busy in our day-to-day lives that we don’t stop to consider all of the history that surrounds us.

Residents of the Tri-State Area have the opportunity to do just that this summer, as the region’s two largest communities celebrate important milestones.

Weirton was formed as a city on July 1, 1947, after residents of the unincorporated Weirton, Marland Heights, Weirton Heights and Hollidays Cove (which traces its history to 1776 when John Holliday built a fort there) had voted on April 1 of that year to merge into one city.

Steubenville, meanwhile, is marking its 225th anniversary while, just across the Ohio River, Weirton is recognizing its 75th anniversary. Both cities have played important roles in the history of their states, the region and the nation.

Bezaleel Wells and James Ross carved Steubenville out of land that surrounded the original Fort Steuben. Wells had been a surveyor in the Northwest Territory and had been granted 1,100 acres, what now is the downtown area of the city. He and Ross, who had served as a mediator during the Whiskey Rebellion, taught at McMillan’s Academy (the school that became Washington and Jefferson College) and represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate, conducted the first sale of the property on Aug. 25, 1797.

The communities trace their beginnings to before their states were formed. Ohio became the 17th state in 1803, while the area where Weirton is today sat in Virginia until 1863, when West Virginia become the 35th state.

Both have been vital to the growth of the country — from serving as the starting point for those who would open the Northwest Territory, to providing the steel that helped win two World Wars and was critical to the nation’s expansion that began in the late 1940s. The products that have been produced in our area and the people who have called it home have transformed the nation, from the highest levels of government; to industries, including coal mining, wool, glass and steel; to the arts, sports and sciences.

There’s a great deal to learn about and to celebrate. Weirton will recognize its 75th anniversary as part of the city’s Fourth of July celebration on July 2. Organizers have planned a day of games, contests, fun and more, and it all will end with the city’s annual fireworks display.

A retrospective of Steubenville’s 225 years is on display at the Visitors Center at Historic Fort Steuben. The presentation offers a look at the city’s history and many of the local residents who have made an impact on the national and international stages. It runs through July 25.

There are many reasons to learn more about the region and to celebrate its rich history. We hope you’ll take advantage of these opportunities.

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