Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building
The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building was established in 1949 to honor the armed forces of the Army and Navy. During World War II, Fayette County lost more than 200 soldiers who were either killed in action, declared dead while missing in action, or died while a prisoner of war. With 5,830 killed in action, West Virginia had the fifth-highest percentage of servicemen during World War II. In the few years after World War II, the citizens of Fayette County came together and erected an outstanding facility, which honors those soldiers who paid the ultimate price.
Backstory and Context
In August 1945, the Fayette County Commission was presented with a petition of more than 20 percent of the voting population asking for the construction of a memorial building to honor the men and women of the armed forces. When the building was established, it was determined the building would be two stories with an auditorium and stage area for various performances and sporting events. The basement would be used for armory drills, farm fairs, physical education and for the National Guard. Further, they decided, the memorial would be constructed at or near Fayetteville, the county seat. The structure was designed by Ludwig Theodore Bengtson, known for the Young-Noyes House and St. George Orthodox Church in Charleston and the Raleigh County Courthouse in Beckley.
A “Wall of Honor” plaque is displayed at the north end wall of the Soldiers and Sailors lobby. Erected in the 1990s, it provides citizens a place to honor loved ones who served in the armed services by inscribing their name, rank and years of service. The Fayetteville branch of the Fayette County Public Libraries is also located in the building. The basement originally included an open dining hall, meeting rooms, extra locker rooms and a kitchen. It was later converted into a dispatch room for Fayette County Emergency Operations Center, but has been vacant since the center moved in 2013. Fayette County plans to use this vacant area as records management and preservation storage space. Since 1952, and still to this day, the memorial's gymnasium has been used by the Fayette County Board of Education for indoor athletics.
Reporter, Sarah Plummer Register-Herald. "Fayette Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building added to national historic register." Beckley Register-Herald. N.p., 22 June 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <http://www.register-herald.com/news/fayette-soldiers-and-sailors-memorial-building-added-to-national....