Preserving history for future generations

It’s important for a community to maintain its sense of history, and that’s why it’s encouraging to know that area residents are coming together to ensure Steubenville’s past is preserved for future generations.

The city’s connection to the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, for instance, is being captured in the mural being painted by Claude Ruston “Rusty” Baker. When completed, the mural will depict the efforts of Jerome and John “Ellis” Edwards, Steubenville High School graduates who earned numerous medals while flying with the famed Red Tail Squadron.

Work continues on the mural, which is located on the wall of the former Elks Lodge on Washington Street that faces Fourth Street. It will be the latest in a series of murals that dates back to 1986, each of which helps tell the story of the city.

Earlier this month a couple of childhood friends, Gerald Ravasio and Larry Gerber, stepped up to lead an effort to restore the Market Street Watering Trough. Built in 1910, hundreds of motorists would pass the trough each day while traveling along Market Street while on their way into or out of downtown.

That all changed in 1974, when the Washington Street extension was completed, and Market Street Hill was abandoned. While the trough stood in place, it was cut off from public access.

Ravasio, who now lives in Baton Rouge, La., and Gerber are leading the effort of a group of local volunteers who have helped to clean the area around the trough,which had become overgrown, and worked to help preserve it for future generations.

And last week, area tourism leaders were encouraged to take advantage of their status as a Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail community. Meriwether Lewis started his trip west in Pittsburgh, and spent several days in Steubenville before traveling to meet up with William Clark to begin their mission of discovery that ran through the Louisiana Territory and stretched to the Pacific Ocean.

Our region has a rich and varied history, and it’s critical that it be saved for and passed onto future generations. Projects such as these — and many others that are happening across the Tri-State Area – ensure those who come in the future will have a good understanding of what has happened in the past.