Monday, Nov. 7, my soul was sad as we witnessed our National Register landmark building, Mount de Chantal, being demolished. While not unexpected, the way in which the demolition was handled by Wheeling Hospital seems perplexing.
Most upsetting was that the hospital and by association, Wheeling Jesuit University, did not permit coverage of the initial demolition by an accredited newspaper photographer, Scott McCloskey, thus impeding the flow of news to the public and weakening the historical record.
In our small town for good or ill, it is hard to keep anything under wraps but the reasoning behind making this akin to a state secret escapes me.
The information letter that went out to the neighborhood gradually became known. As they say, word got around.
Not to respect the general community interest and care at losing this 1865 historic building is troubling. It was accepted that the Mount would probably come down but the fact that it was not done in a more forthright manner makes little sense. Would we not know soon enough when the sights and sounds of demolition became obvious. What is the purpose of trying to keep an unkeepable secret, to stonewall the media?
To lose the Mount is bad enough, but to be treated as if we have no right to be interested or concerned is an affront to the sensibilities of the community.
Poorly done, Wheeling Hospital, very poorly done.