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Jozabeth’s Has Long History in Moundsville

December 9, 2012
By Jim Cochran - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Seventh Street from Tomlinson to Lafayette avenues in Moundsville has changed drastically over the years, and in the next 3 1/2 months will undergo yet another change.

It was announced last week at the Marshall County Commission meeting that Jozabeth's Women's Clothing Store would be closing its doors as the commission is purchasing the building and will convert it into space to be occupied by the Marshall County Sheriff's law enforcement division, a new 911 dispatch center and a new Office of Emergency Management Center.

The county commissioners for the past several years have contemplated building an annex on the Sixth Street side of courthouse to house these agencies, but some seven months ago Commissioner Brian Schambach contacted Jozabeth co-owners Mary Zaid Stees and Libby G. Magnone about the possibility of selling their building, and he was informed they they were considering retiring from the family-managed business, and as a result of this conversation months of deliberations and prayer began. The sisters said of the transaction, "We feel this purchase will be mutually be beneficial to both parties."

The proposed annex building would have been 15,000 square feet, but with the purchase of the Jozabeth building the three agencies will have instead 20,000 square feet of space, with those in charge of the agencies agreeing that they will not have any problem utilizing the extra 5,000 square feet of space.

Another issue which additional property addresses is parking. Along with the Jozabeth property, there are already two off-street parking lots, and additional space which is expected to be converted into parking. It is estimated that overall there will be some 60 parking spaces.

The property being purchased is actually seven parcels, the Jozabeth building and the adjacent parking lot is two parcels. The sale also includes four parcels with Eighth Street addresses, but adjacent to the Seventh Street Jozabeth building/parking lot.

Getting back to some of the history of the two-block area of Seventh Street, at one time there were two hotels both with adjoining restaurants, four banking facilities, a movie theatre, two drug stores, two houses which were converted into attorneys' offices, a barber shop, a grocery store, two confectionaries, two utilities (telephone and electric offices), an appliance store, an electric supply business, an insurance office, the Chamber of Commerce office along with a credit union were located in this two block area, and of course, the Marshall County Courthouse which has long occupied space in this area.

As to the Ferris Shoppe/Jozabeth businesses, it started in 1936 when the Ferris family rented space at 615 Seventh St., in the Snyder Hotel, then in 1937 some members of the family purchased the Stidger building at 517 Seventh St., and remained there until 1968 when the Jozabeth building was constructed.

It was originally a 10,000- square-foot building, with 5,000 square feet each on the two floors, one being for sales and the other style shows and storage.

The business continued to expanded during the next couple of years, and the owners decided to double the space, with that taking place in 1972. An addition the same size of the original building was constructed.

The name Jozabeth came from first names of sisters Josephine Ferris, and Elizabeth Ferris Magnone, whose parents came to the United States from Lebanon in the early 1900s.

The family consisted of 12 children and in addition to Josephine and Elizabeth, several of their siblings were in fashion retailing. Their brother Ted was one of those; he not only was a buyer for the business, but also was very active in the community, including the Moundsville Chamber of Commerce. Stees said that her uncle Ted drew up the plans for the Jozabeth building, firing the individual originally selected to do the design. She said her uncle was a friend of Kermit Trenton of Trenton Construction, and he worked with him to construct the building, which she stated is well constructed with steel beams and block.

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The annual Tree Gala auction held Thursday night brought in $10,670. The 25 trees earned $9,735 (rounded out to an average of $390 a tree), while 12 wreaths brought in $835.

WesBanco, which sponsored the Business After Hours event in conjunction with the auction, was the big spender, purchasing four trees.

Of course coming out of the total are expenses such as the purchase of the trees.

It was standing room only at the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex, the site of the auction which was conducted by Jim Behm and members of his staff.

Proceeds of the sale will be split between the Marshall Chamber of Commerce and the "Feeding Body & Soul" Community Kitchen.

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The third annual New Year's Eve Celebration Party will be taking place from 9 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the Training Center building at former West Virginia Penitentiary. The event will include music provided by the band, "Groove Double." There will be snacks and sauerkraut, with fireworks at midnight.

Additional information is available by calling 304-845-6200. Tickets are also available at Alexander's on 7th, Rosalyn Rhodes Insurance Agency and at the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce and online at www.wvpentours.com

The event is being sponsored by the Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC), which leases the facility.

 
 

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