No one knows for sure how a state historical marker ended up for sale.
But the good news is that it won’t be on the market for long.
Thanks to some local citizens, the old Shepherd College sign will soon be back where it belongs.
Pastor William Moore first posted pictures of the sign on Facebook after seeing it in a Martinsburg antique shop, examining it and concluding it was the real deal.
“I was just incredulous when I saw this sign along the street, so I stopped and looked at both sides to see if it was authentic. It was. When I got home, I was still very upset so I posted the pictures in the hopes that some action would be forthcoming,” his post reads.
It’s the same sign that stood in front of McCurran Hall at Shepherd College before the school became a university.
“I hoped that the sign had not escaped the college intentionally but sometimes things get stored, and they just are ‘lost’ that end up for sale.”
Sounding an online alarm worked.
Former House of Delegates member Walter Duke of Martinsburg dug out his state government phone directory began making calls to Charleston. He quickly had some answers from an employee who works in the state Division of History and Culture where he oversees these familiar historical markers.
Turns out this one had been erected in Shepherdstown in 1963 during the state centennial. It ‘went missing’ sometime in the 1980s, Duke posted.
State officials recently became aware of the situation after the shop owner posted a picture on the sign on Facebook. They contacted the business and it was slated to be returned to the state.
“It will soon be back in the hands of the state of West Virginia, will be repaired and reinstalled in Shepherdstown at its old spot at some time in the not too distant future. Ta da!,” his post reads.
Good detective work is its own reward.
But Duke had a personal reason for getting involved.
He accidentally bumped this same sign many years ago.
“I was home from Shepherd over the Christmas holidays. It was snowing and the roads were bad but I had to get to Shepherd to use the college library for some assignment,” his post reads.
“Borrowed Dad’s car, crept down the road safely to Shepherdstown, turned off the main street and the car slid right into the curb and gently bumped that sign. Sign post shook a tiny bit and it put a small dent in the front of the car. But it was not me that knocked it off.”
Many people expressed their gratitude to both Duke and Moore for their part in returning the sign to its rightful place.
“Bill it all started because you took the picture and posted it. Great to all involved,” one man posted.
“Awesome job on getting it back where it needs to be,” another post reads.