Souvenir relic wood gavel made of wood salvaged from the former West Virginia State Capitol in Wheeling, West Virginia, erected in 1876 and razed to make way for a new building in 1956. A brass plate on the mallet head further states that the gavel was handmade by students at McKinley Vocational High School. This gavel came from the estate of former West Virginia Governor Hulett C. Smith (1918-2012, governor 1965-1969).
West Virginia came into being after Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, and the counties loyal to the Union split off, forming the new state of West Virginia in 1863. At first, the capital moved between Wheeling and Charleston. In 1876, the citizens of Wheeling presented the state with a new capitol building. This, however, did not settle the matter, and in 1877, the citizens voted to make Charleston the permanent capital. The governor proclaimed the change would take effect in eight years and a new State Capitol opened there in 1885. At that time, ownership of the Wheeling capitol returned to the city, known thereafter as the Wheeling City-County Building. It was demolished in 1956.
Inscription, engraved metal plate: “This gavel was made from salvage from the Wheeling, Ohio County West Virginia City County Building, (formerly State Capitol Building) by students of McKinley Vocational High School. Building razed to make room for modern building, 1956. Compliments of the City County Officials.”
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light wear, abrasions, minor nicks and indentations.
Cohen, Stan. “Capitols of West Virginia.” The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 2012. http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/947 (2 February 2012).