In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. Since the Centennial History is now out of print, the Breeze is reprinting articles from the book as space allows. This week’s selection will be the 243rd installment of the Centennial History.
RALPH, DAISY, PHYLLIS
Submitted by Phyllis Jarvis
Although I am not a Hurricane native from birth, I have lived in the town long enough to claim it as my home. My parents and I came to Hurricane in 1939 from Richwood, Nicholas County. My father, Ralph Williams, worked in the paper mill there and is descended from a long line of lumbermen, some of the earliest settlers of Greenbrier County, who blazed a trail through Trout Valley. My mother, Daisy Goff Williams, worked at a clothespin factory in Richwood and is descended from the Goffs, Carpenters and McCourrs, who have been in the Webster County area since the 1700’s.
With the closing of the paper mill my father took a job with American Viscose Corporation in Nitro, West Virginia. We lived there for about a year. My mother did not like Nitro so in the evening we would drive throughout the surrounding area looking for a town that we liked. The first time we saw Hurricane we all wanted to move here. Everything was so clean and so peaceful and quiet. We moved to a large white house on Main Street (known as the McCann house). It was not really as large inside as it appeared to be. It had a large front porch completely across the front of the house. The house stood where George’s Dry Cleaners now stands. The front yard had large trees and what a great place to watch trains – which seemed to be the best thing in the world to do. Most of my childhood was spent there. I remember World War II as I lived there, watching the troop trains and living through the air raid drills. During that period my mother did volunteer work for the office of price control. My father was active in civil defense, police and volunteer fire departments. Later we moved to the Taylor addition where I lived while attending Hurricane High School, which was torn down several years ago. Some of my favorite memories are of the lake, enclosed by a white fence. It was located where Happy Times apartments are now standing. This was a nice place to walk with your boyfriend in the evening always winding up at the drugstore or Sovine’s Dairy Bar.
I feel I had a very happy childhood in Hurricane, most of which I have written into short stories for the amusement of my children. We had so many hours in the day, time to spend selling Kool-Aid where the A to Z parking lot now stands, having music shows in our back yard, going to the movies on Main Street (I was in the theater two times when it caught fire.) One time I believe they were showing “Trail of the Lonesome Pine.”
Some of the things I remember about Hurricane would be quiet shady streets, hazy hot summer days when the blacktop streets would be hot enough to melt and the always present train whistles reminding us that Hurricane is a town built around the railroad.
A digital copy of the Centennial History can be obtained from the Hurricane City Hall for a small donation. For more information, call the City of Hurricane at (304) 562-5896.