Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Live to Die Twice A lesson about Fire unlearned

If your ever on US- 40 going thru Washington County towards the Pa. line with West Virginia slow down turn on WKZV 1110AM and enjoy the real country station which plays the likes of Johnny Cash ,Merle haggard and George Jones and its like you have gone back in time in your 54 Ford F100 pickup Cruising the back roads .Yes you can hear the banjo's playing around there.
After passing thru rural Claysville and all its unique shops the old original national road peals off to the left and takes you into the rural town of West Alexander Pa. You have to go looking for it being off the path and now a days at 12 noon you could fire a cannon down the main street and not hit a thing it was not always this way it was a moving small town before it was cut off when US 40 was widened and straightened in the 1950's and all the business left . Then when Interstate 70 cut thru the town was done for sure in the1960's to become one of those little gems of an old rural town you find all over Pa.
The town was pretty much dead or that's what they thought when I -70 came thru, but that was not to be the case . The town would live again and become a very special place to come to on the weekends after a business owner located there craft shop there in the 70's and all the other little old shops started filling up with all kinds of specialty stores from leather goods to chocolate at one time almost 50 neat little specialty stores known as "West Alexander shoppes " operated in the town. But the one thing no one took into account was they where mostly row buildings and thou they fixed up the shops no one thought about the potential for fire and with building codes being so lax back then it was anything goes.
Well it all came to an end one cold winter evening in the 80's half the town and its shops where gone. A couple of the shops hung on but by the 90's it was all done for a town once more dead.
How ever this was not the first time it happened in this town in 1831 there was also a catastrophic fire which took out almost the whole town But like the famous quote goes" Those who fail to learn the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat them"and it happens all the time here in Pa. we never learn our lesson and stand there and shake our heads how could this have happened. By the way on I -70 west a bill board on an old barn still advertises the shoppes and invites you to stop.
We never learn our lesson with fires in Pa.

UPDATE : Sadly WKZV no longer is in business the station has gone dark turned in its license to FCC and torn down its towers new homes now sit there  . How ever they have started doing slowly work to restore the old bank

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