By ANN ALI ∙ firstname.lastname@example.org
It's the kind of structure people would miss if it weren't there serving some sort of purpose.
These days, when a school building outlives its use, its future can get a little dicey. Often, it becomes history, as in demolished. But in Middlebourne, the state's first-ever county high school is history in the literal sense. The Dodd Street structure became the Tyler County Museum in August 1995 after a season of restoration and refurbishing.
The building, which is a nationally registered landmark, dates back to 1908. It served as Tyler County High School until 1993 when consolidation added Sistersville High School to Tyler County High School and a new structure was built.
The Tyler County Heritage and Historical Society saw an opportunity and acquired the building from the Tyler County Board of Education in the fall of 1994 to become a home for artifacts and memorabilia.
Volunteers operate the museum, which is now home to items from local, state and national history. It is divided into 16 rooms, featuring a room for antique tools and farm equipment, a room dedicated to early 1800s church history, a veterans room, a Boy Scouts room and an elaborate Tyler County High School Alumni room, with plenty of yearbooks and class pictures.
Some of the museum's artifacts include a Civil War diary, seats from Sistersville's Opera House, sheepskin documents from the 1700s and an 1800s steamer trunk and rope bed.
Special tours can be arranged, but the museum is open to the public on a limited basis, from 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.