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Monday, August 8, 2011

South Side Land Company

To the right of Citizen's Drug Store in downtown Chester, WV, is a red brick building operating with two businesses in both sides. The first side had been Pettabon Ice Cream Parlor and then the original Citizen's Drug Store founded by Max Tuttle, followed by the State Liquor Store. The other side of the building was for many years used by Rock Springs Park owner, Mr. C.A. Smith, as his South Side Land Office and South Side Water Works Office. The building was purchased from Smith by E.G. Jackson who operated his insurance agency there for many years. It most recently housed the Pizza Roma Express Restaurant.

“South Side” refers to the name of the flat headlands of Chester by residents of East Liverpool, Ohio, to the north, before Chester had its name. One theory suggests Smith named Chester after his Uncle Chester Mahon.

"The South Side Land Company under Mr. C. A. Smith (Pictured below) absorbed the city’s water and sewerage systems. Mr. Smith controlled this company as the South Side Water Works until October 3, 1946, when Mayor DeMar Miller and City Clerk, James Paisley, signed for the City of Chester, when they purchased the company for $253,000. Mr. Thomas L. Young, Superintendent of the South Side Water Works for nearly forty years was retained as superintendent for the City." ~Roy C. Cashdollar's History of Chester: The Gateway to the West.

DeMar Miller before becoming Mayor of Chester was an orchestra leader at the world famous Virginia Gardens in Rock Springs Park circa 1928. (Image below courtesy of Jerry Linger. For more information on the band and Linger’s photograph see blog entitled “Facebook Find: Interior Photo of Virginia Gardens” dated Sunday, August 15, 2010.)
The Marks land, a one hundred seventy acre tract that had been bought by J.E. McDonald in 1890, from the Alfred Marks estate for $17,000, was purchased by Smith in 1900 with about eleven acres slated for use as Rock Springs Park which Smith also took over at this time. The land was then promoted by Smith and his South Side Land Company.
In the spring of 1905, Mr. Smith moved into his beautiful new home on Pyramus Avenue, overlooking Rock Springs Park.

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