by Bob Stealey
For all intents and purposes, the year 2004 is about halfway over after today. Six months down and six more to go.
To satisfy any wanting to be technical about it, midnight Thursday is the halfway mark, as my desk calendar indicates that today is the 183rd day of the year, with 183 remaining.
Not that you have noticed, but falling short of exclaiming that winter is coming, I would point out that the daylight hours have begun a declining trend. Summer officially arrived June 20. Can I hear anyone saying that he or she can't wait for December to get here, when the daylight begins to increase?
So as to keep my promise to finish, let me provide some more information about early North View. In Friday's Bob'n'Along column, I mentioned that I attributed my material from an article that was written by Paul E. Maxwell quite a number of years ago. Albert Lefevre, a resident of Hamill Avenue in North View, relayed the data to me. So I'll resume from where I stopped on Friday.
Around 1914, a zinc smelting plant began operation along the West Fork River at the old brickyard site. Virtually all of its workforce consisted of immigrants directly from Spain.
"North View very early became a cosmopolitan community and its residents today are predominantly descendants of those early settlers," Maxwell wrote.
In 1912, he said, a streetcar line was extended through the heart of the town to the glass plants. He added that boardwalks lined the streets in all directions, which made it possible for the first time to get about in wet weather without muddy shoes.
Maxwell's article continued: "A central business district arose around the intersection of Goff Avenue and 19th Street, including a post office, oddly enough called Manayka (sic), a drug store, a motion picture theater, several groceries, two doctors and a dentist. The dentist was a Dr. Prather and the two doctors were Dr. Pendleton and Dr. Goff. Other improvements in the immediate neighborhood were a modern schoolhouse and two churches."
By this time, he pointed out, North View, including all the land to the Clarksburg city limits, had been incorporated as a municipality, with its own town hall, jail, and fire and police departments.
"This was North View in the summer of 1917 when I left for the Army during World War I, only to return as a resident for a few sporadic intervals over the next few years. North View had come a long way since 1903, but was still a far cry from the thriving, citified section of Clarksburg that it is today."
I do hope this information about North View that I've included here has been of interest to you.
Before closing today, I'd like to give kudos to all those at the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, who put on a most interesting program Tuesday afternoon on the second floor. The "Snakes Alive!" presentation by North Carolina herpetologist Ron Cromer virtually mesmerized the kids, around 250 strong, and parents who were part of it.
It is this type of program that can draw the interest of the students during the summer, and I understand that more educational programs are planned. Cromer's showing of more than 20 snakes, an iguana, a box turtle and his 31-year-old python Penelope was nothing less than spellbinding.
Thumbs up to all who made it possible, and bravo to the kids and adults who either held or touched the different snakes.