Today’s photograph features a young girl, a wicker chair and a ragged looking fur throw. The girl’s expression seems to say “what exactly is that *thing* on the chair?” The turned wicker of the chair hints at the 1890s and the deckled edges of the card confirm that.
The photographer was R. L. Henderson from Bellaire, Ohio, “opposite post office.” Bellaire is on the Ohio River, across from Wheeling, West Virginia and was founded in 1834. In its early days it was an anchor point for the famous B&O railroad, and served as a strategic holding during the Civil War, as Ohio was pro-Union and Virginia was of course part of the Confederacy. The Federal Camp Jefferson was established there as a bivouac point for soldiers coming in from other parts of the Ohio River Valley and beyond on the B&O. From there they went on to the front lines. Later on, Bellaire became famous for its glass industry, being the manufacturing hub for window, bottle and utility glass companies, as well as Imperial Glass, lending the city the nickname “Glass City.”
Bellaire is a hop skip & a jump away from where my cousins grew up in Shadyside, OH, and where my aunt and uncle lived in St Clairesville until my uncle passed away a few years ago. It’s a coal mining, industrial area with small settlements along the river. The houses are average sized and the lot sizes are large compared to city life. Several athletes have come from the area, including Brickyard Kennedy of the Pittsburg Pirates (who pitched against Cy Young and Honus Wagner), Lance Mehl of the New York Jets (who testified in favor of Jerry Sandusky), and Joey Galloway (currently an ESPN analyst).