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Old Market House (Shepherdstown Library)

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Shepherdstown Library
1800, 1845. Center of King St. south of the intersection with German St. opposite McMurran Hall
  • Old Market House (Shepherdstown Library)
  • Old Market House (Shepherdstown Library)
  • Old Market House (Shepherdstown Library)

“By odds the most remarkable thing in Shepherdstown is a wooden eye a foot long,” wrote George W. Bagby in 1881: “It rests on a Bible; also of wood and is inserted in the wall of a little bit of a market-house, over which is an OddFellows Hall. The ‘all-seeing eye’ was never more boldly treated. You must go see it.” It is tempting to add nothing to Bagby's tongue-incheek description of the market house. There is, however, more than meets the eye in West Virginia's oldest remaining market building. When built, it was nothing more than an open pavilion, 57 feet long and 20 feet high, with brick piers supporting a gable-ended roof. In 1845 a frame second story was added for the Odd Fellows Hall. The first-floor market was later closed in, and the front was given a stepped parapet. After myriad uses, in 1922 the building was converted into a public library, the purpose it has served ever since. The several stages of construction of the market, including the original pier arrangement, are easily discernible on the side walls. The eye on a Bible, surrounded by rays, the symbol of the Fraternal Order of Odd Fellows, occupies a lunette on the facade.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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