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Historian Saves Wheeling Chandelier

June 20, 2010

Congratulatory expressions of gratitude are extended to Wheeling historian Margaret Brennan, who has succeeded in saving one of the Wheeling-made Hobbs, Brockunier chandeliers for permanent display in its city of origin.

Brennan led the drive to keep the smaller of the two Hobbs, Brockunier chandeliers that had hung in the former Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling. Using her own funds and contributions that she solicited from other donors, she placed the high bid (in excess of $8,000) for the lighting fixture at an auction last weekend.

After the auction, Brennan announced that the chandelier will be installed in West Virginia Independence Hall in downtown Wheeling in memory of the late Beverly Fluty, a Wheeling preservationist who was instrumental in the restoration of both West Virginia Independence Hall and the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. Details of the chandelier's history can be found in Maureen Zambito's Antique of the Week column on Page D5 of today's Life section.

During the auction, the larger Hobbs, Brockunier chandelier from Mount de Chantal's Music Hall was sold for $4,000 to the prestigious Corning (N.Y.) Glass Museum. While I am saddened that this large piece of Wheeling history is leaving the city, I am heartened to know that it will be going to a respected place where it will be displayed - presumably with notation of its origins in Wheeling, W.Va. - for people from around the world to see and admire. It seems preferable to have the massive Hobbs, Brockunier chandelier displayed publicly in a famous museum, rather than hidden away in some grandiose private mansion.

But, back to Brennan, one of the folks saluting her efforts is Wheeling resident Bernadine Harris, who observed that Brennan's campaign to acquire the chandelier "shows that one person can single-handedly make a commitment and see the job through."

Harris commented, "One person can make a difference in a community." She added, "Every time we look up at this chandelier, we can think of her (Brennan) and thank her."

Congratulations, Margaret, on a job well done!

New Martinsville attorney H. John Rogers was invited to present a paper at the 33rd annual convention of the International Psychohistorical Association at Fordham University in New York City earlier this month. His was one of 40 presentations.

Rogers' paper was titled "Joseph A. Yablonski: Union Insider, Rebel Candidate, Murder Victim: His Legacy." Rogers said he worked on Yablonski's 1969 campaign.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at:

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