The Main Library of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County has a new old addition.
It's one of the few portraits of Dohrman J. Sinclair, the "father of Steubenville" who was born July 26, 1860, and died Aug. 6, 1915, at the age of 55 after having been hit by a train while examining blueprints in the LaBelle Iron Works yards, later Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.
The approximately 5-foot picture of Sinclair - a capitalist, philanthropist and man of foresight - recently was donated to the library by H. Lee Kinney, who in the process of having the painting evaluated discovered it was done by none other than Charles Filson, a Steubenville native who painted some of the existing works already in the main library.
H. Lee Kinney, left, and Alan Hall with Dohrman J.
Sinclair picture above them
-- Janice R. Kiaski
Those include Bezaleel Wells, founder of Steubenville; James Ross, a prominent lawyer and also a co-founder of Steubenville; and George Rogers Clark, an American frontiersman and military leader in the American Revolution who became a surveyor and frontiersman in the Ohio Valley in 1772. And there's also the portrait "1,200 Former Citizens of Steubenville."
Filson was a painter until his interest in photography developed, no pun intended. He was the son of the well known artist Davison Filson, and together the two shared a photography business.
So Sinclair's picture is hanging on a wall now in the main library's north room - after a long round-about trip back home sort of.
Kinney donated the picture to the library where it had once hung during the early 1950s, most likely on loan from the Sinclair family - the late Katherine Sinclair Minor.
She was the youngest of his five children who was only 7 when her father was killed just one day shy of the formal opening of the 10-story Sinclair Building he had constructed in downtown Steubenville at Fourth and Market streets.
Dohrman's portrait appropriately had its place in the Sinclair building - the building that in its history housed the Union Bank that Sinclair swept as his first job and later ran as banking became his initial career.
It also hung in that building that would later house UniBank, of which Kinney was the chairman and chief executive officer, and more recently when it became Huntingon Bank.
When the bank underwent remodeling in 2011, however, the portrait came home to Kinney as part of an historical-item agreement when UniBank was sold.
Its return to the library now seemed fitting, according to Kinney. After all, Sinclair was an amazing civic leader; the portrait demands a big wall that the library affords; and the picture of a Steubenville great was done by a Steubenville great. Win-win-win.
That makes Kinney and Alan Hall, director of the library, happy.
One interesting side note is that Hall did some minor cleaning of the painting before it made its way to the wall, referring to none other than resource material the library has that recommended using onions and lemons for the process.
Several treatments over the course of a month seemed to do the trick.
So, if you're visiting the north room of the main library - look up for a look at the "father of Steubenville."
He's there for good.