By Mannix Porterfield
Jim Wallace might develop a serious case of writer’s cramp Bridge Day weekend in Beckley.
While thousands flock to Fayette County for the annual fall festival, Wallace will be positioned at Tamarack, signing copies of his new book, “A History of the West Virginia Capitol: The House of State.”
“Tamarack scheduled my book-signing that day, because it will be a busy day with people from all around the state coming to the area for Bridge Day festivities at the New River Gorge Bridge, and my book is of interest to people from all parts of West Virginia,” Wallace said.
“I have had several book-signing events in Charleston, Morgantown and Wheeling, and it will be good to give people in Beckley the opportunity to get signed copies. Many people already are buying them for holiday gifts.”
Until Wallace conducted his plow into West Virginia’s history and produced his book, nothing substantial had been penned about the Capitol since the 1980s.
Wallace timed his effort to coincide with the upcoming 80th anniversary of the Capitol’s dedication.
To those unfamiliar with that background, Wallace depicts how a running feud between Wheeling and Charleston over which city would ultimately claim the capitol and that this tug-of-war was, in fact, an extension of Civil War animosities that lingered well beyond the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
Wallace goes into vivid detail about a disastrous fire that wiped out a previous capitol in downtown Charleston.
At times, maintenance suffered over the years, and in recent history, steps were taken to shore up the gold dome out of fear that strong winds might topple it — a real prospect given the unprecedented derecho that roared through West Virginia back on June 29.
Wallace leaned on his lengthy career to write the book.
For more than two decades, he covered state government, both as a statehouse reporter for the Charleston Daily Mail and as an award-winning news director of West Virginia Public Radio. He also has been news director at WWVA/WOVK in Wheeling and worked in radio news at several Ohio stations.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a master’s degree from West Virginia University, Wallace will be signing his book between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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