Industry and Business Walking Tour of Sunnyside, Morgantown, WV

Sunnyside was established in the 1890s to promote growth in Morgantown. A strip of land along the Monongahela River was designated specifically for industrial development. Morgantown became a leading center of the glass industry in the early twentieth century thanks to factories in Sunnyside. Yet Sunnyside was also home to diverse industries, including brick making and ice manufacturing, along with a number of small businesses. Explore Sunnyside's history of industry and business in this walking tour, which incorporates original research done by students in WVU's Local History Research Methods course.

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Sunnyside Superette (1930s-2015)
The Sunnyside Superette was an independent grocery and convenience store located in Morgantown’s Sunnyside neighborhood. The business began in the 1930s as the Sunnyside Fruit Market, which moved down the street to 2047 University Avenue in the 1940s and opened as the Superette Market Grocery. The business name changed to the Sunnyside Superette in the 1950s. The Sunnyside Superette was popular among local families who lived in Sunnyside in the mid-twentieth century and remained popular among Sunnyside’s student residents in the late twentieth century. In 2015, the Sunnyside Superette closed, its owner and patrons citing the new Sheetz located at University Place.
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Mutt's Sunnyside Place (1979-2013 location)
Mutt’s Sunnyside Place, a pub in Morgantown, West Virginia, was once located on University Avenue in the Sunnyside neighborhood between 1979 to 2013. In this time, Sunnyside was a neighborhood with houses rented primarily to undergraduate students at West Virginia University. Mutt’s was among the pubs and eateries that catered to WVU students and the thriving party scene in Sunnyside. The business was originally opened in 1935 and moved to University Avenue after a fire destroyed their original location. The house it occupied was built at the turn of the twentieth century and was owned and rented by a number of working class families, individuals, and students over the decades. In 2012, Mutt’s and 38 surrounding properties were acquired by West Virginia University and a local developer to build the University Place apartment complex.
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Morgantown Ice Company (1901-2000s)
The Morgantown Ice Company created manufactured ice at this location from 1901 to 1946. It provided manufactured ice to local businesses. From 1946 to 1957, the business was owned by North Pole Ice Company. The operation was then purchased by Chico’s Dairy company until acquired by Beech View Place to build a mixed-use apartment complex for students at West Virginia University. The State on Campus apartment now occupies all of block 15 in Morgantown’s Sunnyside neighborhood. The Morgantown Ice Company’s history reflects the wide range of businesses located in Sunnyside in the twentieth century.
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Monongahela Textile Company
The Monongahela Textile Company was only in operation for six years, yet it is connected to larger histories of textile production, labor, and urbanization following the Civil War. From 1896 to 1903, the Monongahela Textile Company operated in Sunnyside near the Monongahela River and B&O Railroad, important modes of transportation for shipping the mill's products. In 1898, the company lost 125,000 pounds of wool after a warehouse in Pittsburgh caught on fire. After such a financial loss, the company struggled until it closed in 1903. The large brick mill and surrounding property was purchased by the Union Stopper Glass Company, later the Beaumont Glass Company, which operated there until the late twentieth century. The brick mill was demolished in 1998, after contaminants from the glass making process were found.
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Beaumont Glass Factory (Union Stopper Glass Factory)
In 1905, the old Monongahela Textile Company buildings and surrounding property were purchased by the Union Stopper Company, where glass bottle stoppers were manufactured. By 1918, the company’s name had changed to Beaumont Glass, which was known for producing glass lampshades and light globes. Along with Seneca Glass, Beaumont Glass was one of the last operating glass factories in Morgantown, a city which once had more than a dozen successful glass companies. After leaving the ownership of the Beaumont family, the company was mismanaged and forced to close its doors in 1991. Because of contaminants from the glassmaking process, the original building was demolished in 1998 and its lot sits empty. The only buildings that remain of the Beaumont Glass Factory are additions that now house a Surplus City.
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Chico Bakery
Chico Bakery, a family-owned business famous for its West Virginia pepperoni rolls, has been located at this site since 1971. It was a subdivision of the Chico Dairy Company, which began in the early twentieth century. Though the Sunnyside neighborhood of Morgantown grew primarily because of its industry and manufacturing, small businesses like Chico provided residents with essential local goods. It remains one of the few small businesses left from this early history.
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Morgantown Glass Factory (1900-1989)
The Morgantown Glass Company manufactured table glassware in Morgantown’s Seneca neighborhood, now Sunnyside, for over seventy years. The company operated under numerous names including the Economy Glass Company, Old Morgantown, Morgantown Glass Works, Inc., and Morgantown Glassware Guild, which reflected changes in the company’s business model and responses to larger trends in the industry. Morgantown Glass is most famous for producing the official White House crystal of John F. Kennedy, hand-chosen by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961. The company was acquired by Fostoria Glass in 1965 and disbanded in 1971. The factory was demolished in 1989 to build the Morgantown Energy Associates power plant along the Monongahela River.
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Seneca Center
In 1897, Seneca Glass Company began production of glass in the newly-developed Sunnyside neighborhood of Morgantown, West Virginia. While more than a dozen glass factories existed in Morgantown by the early twentieth century, Seneca Glass is one of the few factory structures that remains from this industrial heyday. The factory ran continuously for nearly a century. After its closure in 1983, the interior of the building was redesigned and turned into the Seneca Center, containing various artisan shopping establishments, antiques and fine dining.
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W. R. Jones Glass Factory (1902-1940s)
W.R. Jones Glass Company was a manufacturer of window glass located in Morgantown, West Virginia. Founded in 1902 by Walter A. Jones, the factory was located in Seneca, now Sunnyside, along the Monongahela River. W.R. Jones Glass was outstanding in the early twentieth century for its use of modern factory technologies. It later consolidated with other local factories and created the United States Window Glass Company. The company disbanded in 1927 and the buildings were torn down throughout the 1940s. No buildings of the original factory stand today.
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Morgantown Brick Company (1899-1970s)
Morgantown Brick Company was established on this site in Seneca, now Sunnyside, in 1899. With its other facility in Westover, Morgantown Brick Company produced tens of thousands of bricks each day in the early twentieth century. While Morgantown was known for its numerous glass factories, the brickworks was part of the city’s diverse industrial history. The company disbanded in 1931, and the site later became a junkyard collecting and selling scrap metal. In 1971, the site was then sold to the WVU Board of Regents to construct the new Personal Rapid Transfer (PRT) system.

This tour was created by Pamela Curtin on 01/08/18 .

This tour has been taken 154 times within the past year.

ResponsiveVoice used under Non-Commercial License