Sad news about watering trough

Time, apparently, might be running out on efforts to preserve one of Steubenville’s most recognizable landmarks.

The sad news came last week, when it was discovered that an 8-foot section of the Market Street watering trough had fallen from the top of the structure that has stood since 1910.

Just this past summer, things had started to look up for the monument. That’s when Steubenville’s Larry Gerber and former city residents Gerald Ravasio and Bill Reed helped to organize a group of volunteers who conducted a week-long cleanup at the site. They shoveled away dirt and debris, painted the trough and made plans to restore some of the smaller parts that had fallen off during the years.

Their efforts had paid some immediate dividends. The trough, for example, once again became visible to motorists driving up and down Washington Street hill.

That work also led to the formation of the Friends Involved in Restoring Steubenville’s Treasures.

The 501c(3) nonprofit has been designed to let those who now live outside of the area have a hand in preserving their childhood haunts. Money raised by the organization will be able to help volunteers go about the work of bringing life back to some landmarks and areas that have fallen on some rough times.

While the group remains interested in preserving the trough, Ravasio has said that repairs will have to be made by professional masons. Time and weather, however, have taken their toll, and the freeze-thaw cycles our area experiences along with shifting land around the trough could lead to more damage if the issues are not addressed.

The trough remains a familiar sight in the city. For more than 60 years, hundreds of vehicles passed by the structure while traveling into or out of the downtown along Market Street. Even after that section of road was abandoned in 1974 when the Washington Street extension was completed and the access to the trough was gated off, it stood as a reminder of what life was like in the early part of the 20th century.

Hopefully, the trough can be saved, but, unfortunately, the cost of repairs or further deterioration could lead to another, less desirable, end.

Whatever the outcome, Ravasio, Gerber, Reed and the volunteers who spent a portion of their summer working at the structure are to be commended for their efforts and encouraged to continue their work to save the city’s past.