Several West Virginia State Police troopers will meet with Raleigh County Historical Society Marker Program Officer Merle Cole and others on Thursday at the Raleigh County Code Enforcement Office for an official state highway historical marker dedication service.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the West Virginia State Police.

Cole pointed out that the West Virginia Legislature created the State Police in March 1919.

The office building at 203 South Eisenhower Drive was the third in the state to host a radio antennae when the State Police adopted a shortwave radio communication system across the state, Cole explained. The Historical Society will be dedicating a new marker that commemorates the placement of the antennae.

Cole said that the Beckley radio station created by the antennae was WBSP, and the station "went live" on Oct. 7, 1939. The United States was moving out of The Great Depression, and the antennae was a sign of a more prosperous era.

It also heralded the move of the Beckley detachment and "Company D" troopers into the South Eisenhower building.

At that time, the Beckley detachment of the State Police was housed in the basement of the Raleigh Courthouse.

"In late June 1940, Company D headquarters moved from Harper Road to occupy new state-owned barracks constructed beside the radio station," Cole said. "The Beckley detachment simultaneously relocated there.

"The facilities symbolized West Virginia State Police resurgence, following the Great Depression and its technological advancement and increasing professionalism as a law enforcement agency."

Cole will deliver remarks at the ceremony, which is open to the public and will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday at 203 S. Eisenhower Drive.

Tom Sopher of the Historical Society said Monday that the dedication ceremony will last about 15 minutes.

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