Community and Culture Walking Tour of Sunnyside, Morgantown, WV

After Sunnyside was established in the 1890s, it attracted a robust working class community from surrounding states and a number of European countries who worked in local industries. They purchased and rented the frame houses throughout the neighborhood until the decline of local industry in the mid to late twentieth century, when the Sunnyside transformed into a center of student residence and culture. Explore the multicultural history of Sunnyside and its communities of past and present in this walking tour, which incorporates original research done by students in WVU's Local History Research Methods course.

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Mountaineer Field (1924-1987)
For most of the twentieth century, West Virginia University fans cheered on their favorite football team at Mountaineer Field, once located between Woodburn Hall and the present-day Life Sciences Building. Known colloquially as "Old Mountaineer Field," the stadium seated 34,000 spectators and was home to famous football games such as the Backyard Brawl, a longstanding rivalry between the West Virginia University Mountaineers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Mountaineer Field closed in 1979 and was demolished in 1984 after the new Mountaineer Field, now Milan Puskar Stadium, opened in 1980 on the Evansdale campus.
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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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McLane Manor (Seneca Elementary School)
The former Seneca Elementary School, now McLane Manor Apartments, was constructed in 1904 in response to Morgantown’s rapid growth at the turn of the twentieth century. It served as a school for the children of Fourth Ward, which includes Morgantown’s Sunnyside neighborhood, until 1967. The building was later used as a library and resource center for the county school system. In the 1980s, when Sunnyside was primarily a neighborhood for students at West Virginia University, the building was purchased and converted into the McLane Manor Apartments.
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Morgantown Turn Verein (1898-1980s)
The Turn Verein in Morgantown’s Sunnyside neighborhood was constructed in 1898 as an athletic club and community center for German immigrants. These organizations were established in Germany and across the United States, especially after their members were exiled from Germany following the Revolution of 1848. A number of Germans came to Morgantown through the thriving glass industry at the turn of the twentieth century. The Turn Verein organization likely dismantled around 1920, when other organizations used the building as a gymnasium until 1969. The building was demolished in the 1980s to build apartments for student renters at West Virginia University.
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St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church (1898-1924)
From 1898 to 1924, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church stood as the physical and spiritual center of the Catholic community of Seneca, now the Sunnyside neighborhood. Once situated near the intersection of Sixth Street and McLane Avenue, St. Francis rose prominently from the side of the steep hillside. In 1924, the congregation outgrew the church and established new centers of worship. Over the years, the St. Francis congregation has been located on Beechurst Avenue, University Avenue, in Westover, and along Guthrie Lane in Morgantown. Though the original church no longer stands, it was a crucial part of the development of Morgantown’s Catholic community.

This tour was created by Pamela Curtin on 01/10/18 .

This tour has been taken 183 times within the past year.

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