Preserving Our Heritage
In the Fall of 1973, several Steubenville, Ohio residents who had a common interest in the history of Jefferson County, began meeting with the intent of forming an organization for the purpose of, preserving, protecting and promoting the historical records and artifacts of Jefferson County and of it's communities.
The charter membership numbered over 200, and the first meetings were held in the Jefferson County Courthouse. The incorporating officers were: Mrs. Katherine Sinclair Minor, President; William E. Brandt, Vice President; Mrs. Earl Snyder, Treasurer and J. Sheldon Scott, secretary. It was this group who directed the first election of officers which saw Attorney John England elected President and elected Vice President was J. Malcolm Irwin; Mrs. Robert Helsley, Secretary; Mrs. Earl G. Snyder, Treasurer and Mrs. Stephen G. Krawson, Assistant Treasurer. There were one hundred members present for the first election and the first annual meeting.
In 1976 the new historical organization purchased the Sharpe Mansion at the corners of Fifth and Franklin Avenues. The mansion had been built in 1919 by Colonel John J. Carter who purchased the property as a gift for his daughter, Emma and her fiancee, Alexander Beatty Sharpe, who was president of The Ohio Foundry.
The formal museum opening and ribbon cutting took place on May 15, 1977 with several local and state dignitaries present. A flag was presented by American Legion Argonne Post 33 which was raised by Earl G. Snyder as a bugle and gun salute was performed by the color guard.
The Emma Carter and Alexander Beatty Sharpe Mansion
The brick house is an outstanding example of English Tudor design, having 19 rooms on three floors. The building cost $35,000 to construct and was designed by Edward B. Franzheim, a prominent architect of Wheeling and the contractor was Mr. Jefferson S. Bushfield of Toronto, Ohio.
After the death of Mr. Alexander Sharpe, Mrs. Sharpe married the Reverend Harold Cleaver Zeis. One of Mrs. Zeis' annual social highlights was that each year, she would entertain the graduating class from the College of Steubenville, at an afternoon tea, in the rose garden. After Mrs. Zeis' death in 1962, the house was purchased by Mr. David Fortunato who used it for his business and his home for fourteen years before he sold it to the Jefferson County Historical Association.
The first floor rooms are designed with oak paneled walls and large fireplaces. Stained glass windows above the carved staircase enhance the large entry hall. The various rooms contain period furniture and artifacts which have been donated by county residents.