GLEN DALE, W.Va. (WTRF) — Today in Glen Dale, a decades-long tale of generosity, workmanship and spontaneous creativity was told.
It’s all true—and it was all built on small steel playthings.
Marx Toys wasn’t just a factory that happened to set up shop in Marshall County: it shaped the entire identity of 20th century Glen Dale.
But as remarkable as its history is—it’s just one of dozens of local stories that have been recounted under a shady tree at the Cockayne Farmstead.
For several years, they’ve hosted Hungry for History, a twice-a-month series where speakers and authors discuss our centuries of history over lunch.
Today’s presentation featured Gary Rider, the co-author of a book preserving the memories of workers prior to the plant’s closure in the 1980s.
From giving away products to kids in need to testing toys at the Glen Dale park, it was as homespun as a world-famous business could be.
Marx Toys was a big family. If you had a problem, they took care of you, if you had issues at home with your kids or whatever, they took care of you. And they just all got along, they were all happy to be there, making toys.Gary Rider, Author, “Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale”
People really seem to like that the most. They like to hear about the history of their own local area and there is so much history here that we haven’t run out of topics yet, so I try and keep it with people who study the area around here.Kara Gordon, Site Manager, Cockayne Farmstead
Rider says at one time it was harder to find someone who didn’t work for the plant than someone who did.
And the employees weren’t just working for a paycheck—they had fun crafting the toys that later brought fun to the kids who played with them.
If you’re hungry for history, you can join them for an old-fashioned toy lecture at the Smart Centre on July 21st.
And next month, they’ll reveal the secrets of a pre-Civil War map of Moundsville.