Nails are made to hold things together and the LaBelle Nail Factory in Wheeling held together the Ohio Valley community for decades providing jobs and income for many.
The factory has now been closed for 5 years and the pieces of history were auctioned off on Saturday.
The LaBelle Nail Company has roots in West Virginia deeper than the state itself, first opening it’s doors in Wheeling in 1852.
Those doors closed in 2010 but the company’s impact on the Valley still holds strong today even having the hockey team named after the industry.
For many though, Saturday was the first chance to look inside the massive factory.
“I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen what these machines look like, I really wanted to see what these machines looked like, I know I’m not going to buy one of them,” John Barzak said. “I’m interested in the small stuff, but it’s a very interesting place, it’s been here forever.”
Someone who has been inside the LaBelle Factory before was Joe Polus, a former supervisor for 10 years, who wanted one last look before the building is closed for good.
“This place has so much historic value, it’s unbelievable,” Polus said. “I don’t know if anyone realizes that. The thing of it is, you’re looking at 1852 technology and when I was here, it was some of the best people I’ve ever worked with.”
There were plenty of reasons people stopped in to grab souvenirs.
“LaBelle, I mean it’s a whole piece of history,” Barzak said.
The demolition sale for the LaBelle Nail Factory is scheduled for November 5th, the building must be dismantled and removed by the beginning of 2016.
The Woda Group plans to build at least 40 townhouse style rental units on the west end of the LaBelle Nail Plant property.