FAYETTEVILLE — ---
Over the years, the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building has been home to a multitude of events, including concerts by the likes of James Brown, appearances by the Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters, county fairs, boxing and wrestling matches, and other events, not to mention countless basketball games, including WVU and Marshall contests.
A program honoring the 50th anniversary of LaFayette Post 149 of the American Legion in 1996 profiled the first public event under post sponsorship in the Memorial Building as a Jan. 1, 1952 concert featuring four units of the WSM Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Among the performers were Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, the Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle, and the Duke of Paducah and Lew Childre.
Wender recalls seeing John F. Kennedy deliver a presentation at the facility. “Of course, I was a young kid, but it made an impression on me,” he said.
The Fayette County Memorial Wall of Honor is also currently housed in the building, as are the Fayette County Office of Emergency Services and the Fayetteville Public Library.
In 1969, LaFayette Post 149 erected the “Flame of Freedom” on the lawn dedicated to all veterans. According to “History of Fayette County 1993,” the inscription reads, “This torch has been erected by American Legion Post 149 Fayetteville, WV, as a tribute to veterans of all wars who by their patriotism and loyalty served God and country. Dedicated May 30, 1969.”
New Fayetteville High head boys basketball coach Todd Mann is excited about his Pirates playing in the “awesome” environment.
While the number of available baskets is a drawback at practice time, Mann said the Memorial Building provides “an old-school setting” and boasts a great history. “I invite all Fayette County people to come and watch us play,” he said. “We’re lucky and fortunate to have this building.
“We’d like to get our old-school fans back out.”
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