Murals tell Barnesville's history
Started in 2016 and funded jointly by the Village of Barnesville and the Belmont County Tourism Council's GAP Grant program, these black and white, painted murals tell the history of this western Belmont County village. Painted on the side of brick buildings throughout the town by local artist Twila Fisher, there are six murals to date, depictingBarnesville's industrial and cultural history.
The first mural was done of the historic Barnesville Depot, train and tunnel, located off Mulberry St. This picture was painted from a photo taken in 1917. The B & O passenger deport was the front door of the community with distant travelers passing through. Located on the Pittsburgh to Columbus main line, there were no less than a dozen freight and passenger trains passing through Barnesville seven days a week at that time.
Rail service ended in 1961 with freight service ending in 1976.
The second mural is of the United Dairy Company of Barnesville, formerly located at the corner of Watt Ave. and Mulberry St. It was established in 1903 by Charles Holloway.
They produced and distributed bottled pasteurized milk and ice.
The company eventually expanded to seven other cities in Ohio and West Virginia.
Citing declining sales of evaporated milk, the dairy, employing 33, closed in 1981.
The factory building was removed in 1998 followed by the demolition of its signature smokestack on Nov. 27, 2001.
The Belmont County Children’s Home, the subject of the third mural, was located east of Barnesville at Tacoma.
The Belmont County Children’s Home was opened in 1880 and closed in 1981.
During the first year of operation, 126 children received care. The complex included a farm, with a two-room school added during World War I.
The $40,000 facility was designed by J.A. Yost, a Bellaire native and a Columbus architect. The county razed the abandoned building in March 1990. Yost also designed the Belmont County Courthouse and Belmont County Heritage Museum on Main Street in St. Clairsville.
Murals one and two are located on the back of the village building/water department, facing the parking lot at 126 E. Church St. and the third mural is located on the west side of the Domino’s Pizza building, 146 W. Man St.
The fourth mural, painted on the side of the Boswell building on South Chestnut Street, shows the 1905 Barnesville High School. The first building erected exclusively for Barnesville High School students, it served the community from 1905-1970. Ground was broken for BHS on June 10, 1905 on the corner of West Church and Broadway streets, and the new $43,340 structure was dedicated September 5, 1906.
After the high school students transferred to the new Shamrock Drive facility in September 1970, the building was partially used for the elementary and junior high schools.
Demolished in July of 1984, it was replaced by the elementary school addition.
Nate Boswell and partner Jack Colpolits founded Boswell Monuments in 1875 on South Chestnut Street in Barnesville, OH. Nate Boswell’s son William joined the business in 1919 when he returned from World War I, and his other son James joined the company in 1925.
In 1957 W. Kirk Boughner purchased a one third interest in the company and he became majority owner in 1960 when James Boswell retired. William Boswell continued with the company until his retirement in 1965.
The fifth mural, located on the side of DG Dance Workshop & Gymnastics, 137 E. Main St., depicts Main Street, looking west, in the 1940s. It shows the Hotel Shannon, Moose Lodge, and Kirk's store. The Barnesville Loyal Order of Moose was chartered in 1913 with 91 original members. Experiencing rapid growth, they purchased the former Columbian Hotel at 122 E. Main St. in 1917 and maintained that location as their home.
J.J. Kirk opened his men's and women's clothing store in 1896 at 128 E. Main. Two years later, he moved across the street into the Emerson-Osler Building at 137 E. Main. Later, when furniture was added and the adjacent building purchased (133 E. Main), the men's line was eliminated and the ladies' lines moved next door. The business was sold to Steubenville-based May & Leopold Furniture in 1974. Two years later, the firm merged Kirk's into their "showcase" store on Route 40 east of St. Clairsville. A vintage advertisement was repainted on the side of the building by Fisher.
The most recent addition to the Barnesville downtown mural project was done in the summer of 2019 and depicts the history of coal mining in the community. The piece traces local mining from underground shaft mining to the large strip mining machine represented by the GEM (Giant Earth Mover) of Egypt and today's underground long wall mining techniques. It is located on the side of 108 W. Main St. on space previously occupied by the former Roe's Store building.