WEST UNION, W.Va. – The Silas P. Smith Opera House built in 1900 was torn down Wednesday morning as a result to save money to rather than preserving the history. Community members came to witness the demolition with tears in their eyes, remembering the 119 year old structure.
Community member, and neighbor to the Opera House building, Jim Musgrave, said they commission didn’t show enough effort of saving the historical factors still there in the building.
“There were a lot of options the county could have explored, but they just kind of refused to do it,” said Musgrave. “Some options were incorporating the current structure into the new annex building that they want to build, just in a way to help preserve this building.”
Doddridge County Historical Society conducted an official survey that said 84.72% wanted to save the Opera House, 9.07% wanted to demolish it, and 6.22% had no opinion on the matter.
In 2001, the building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places. The community is worried it won’t stop here, and there will be no historical factor pulling in tourist.
When 12 News reached out in early November to the commission, they said they hope to have a positive impact from the annex building, and bring in more business. 12 News have reached out to them twice in the past week and have heard nothing back.