Before it was Anmoore, it was Steelton, then it was Grasselli
by Bob Stealey, Editor

It has been some time since I have mentioned the Harrison County town of Anmoore in Bob'n'Along. My gratitude goes to Martha Callihan Rhoades of Benedum Community, near Anmoore, for providing a few pertinent facts.

First, she pointed out that Anmoore was named for Ann Moore's Run, developed on land once owned by Silas Ash.

"In 1903," she wrote, "Edward R. Davis and Lynn S. Hornor purchased a tract of 218 acres from Mr. Ash. (They) had it surveyed into building lots and established a village named Grasselli, after having been known as Steelton for a short time.

"The name of Grasselli was derived from the Grasselli Chemical Company, which was located from 1903 to 1927 in the town, which soon grew. Men were brought from Hungary, Spain, Poland and Italy to work, and later, barracks were built to house the families of the workers."

Mrs. Rhoades pointed out that there were several grocery stores, dry goods stores, two bakeries, a blacksmith shop, two pool halls, a hotel, a cigar factory, a marble factory and two barber shops. Also, there were four churches. She mentioned Mount Zion, Methodist; St. Francis Catholic, and Cunningham.

"The school, plus other buildings -- a church, Hungarian Hall and The Casino -- were used to school the children," Mrs. Rhoades stated. "Grasselli Grade School's first principal was Michael Teter. Hot lunch was seven cents. Streetcars ran from Bridgeport to Clarksburg.

"Grasselli was incorporated as Anmoore on Nov. 13, 1950, and then had a population of 1,107. Victor Gonzalez served as the first mayor. In 1951, streetlights were installed, and a volunteer fire department was organized.

"In 1954, a water distribution system was installed that used the Clarksburg water system as its source of supply. In the 1960s, a city building was constructed, and during the early 1970s, streets were blacktopped. A sewage system serving over 400 homes was obtained through federal funding."

Mrs. Rhoades concluded, "The town's post office was established as Anmoore on April 28, 1917, with William H. Sharp as postmaster and Gay Wilson as postmistress."

I researched the well-known Dorothy Davis work, "History of Harrison County, West Virginia," and discovered just a few more facts about Anmoore. For example, Silas Ash reserved land enough to deed each of his sons a farm with a farmhouse, the book stated. William's was across from the Grasselli plant and Harvey's was on the Anmoore-Bridgeport road.

According to the section on Anmoore in the Davis book, "Mrs. Hattie Deem, a granddaughter of Mr. Ash, recalled in 1965 that at the turn of the century, the only homes other than those of the ashes were the George Corpening home, the Kester home and the Shane home, which the chemical company later bought and razed.

"'As a child,' said Mrs. Deem, when interviewed by the author in June 1965, 'I picked wild flowers in the valley where the National Carbon Plant (now UCAR Carbon Co.) stands and gathered chestnuts in the yard of the Shane house nearby.'

"The carbon industry attracted so many home builders that when Grasselli incorporated as Anmoore (for Ann Moore's Run) -- the name already used by the post office -- November 13, 1950, the population totaled 1,107. The town is governed by a five-man council elected at large every two years."

Mrs. Davis quoted then-Mayor Gonzalez regarding the new municipal building. He had said, "The first story of the two-story, concrete-block city building, enough to house the city offices and the two trucks of the fire department, is now finished. ... We started the building in 1961. It takes a little time because all the labor and the cost of materials are donated."

The author wrote that the National Carbon Company gave $9,000 toward the construction of the city building and lent the services of its engineering department.

She had also quoted Gonzalez as saying the town had the only lighted baseball park at that time in Harrison County, with all the labor to build the park donated.

Much has changed in Anmoore over the past 35-40 years, but Ijust wanted to salute the town by mentioning a few facts about its history.


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