There are times when I revisit an old friend and discover something new.

Take the case of the former Jefferson School on McColloch Street in Wheeling, West Virginia. I had not discovered much about the historic structure other than coming upon its demolition in 2013.

Jefferson School

A few nights ago, I cracked open the newspaper archives of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer and queried up schools along McColloch Street, coming across articles from 1896 describing the need for an annex to the Clay School. The eight-room annex was dedicated on December 24, 1897 and served students well into the 20th century when it became privately owned.

When the Jefferson School was demolished, no one wrote an eulogy to its 100 years of service, citing only its deplorable condition as the only testament towards its character. It declined only because of a lack of code enforcement by the city and a lack of investment by its owners. With that, a symbol of good construction and impressive architecture was reduced to an unused grass lot with not even a historic marker to remark about its past.