Most buildings around town get by with just a street address.
But for some Marietta sites, a number on the front door does not do it justice. Emblemized on their exteriors or inside the front doors, these names are commemorative of influential people or businesses in Marietta’s storied past.
St. Clair Building
In downtown Marietta, the St. Clair building sits at 216 Putnam St, unused and empty for years.
However, when the building was built in 1900 it was hailed as a modern marvel. With a speedy elevator and some of the earliest “sanitary plumbing,” the office building was hailed as a symbol of Marietta’s exceptionalism, said local historian Lynne Sturtevant.
The heroic upstart and disappointing decline of the building is quite similar to the political rise and fall of the building’s namesake.
“Most of the names that you see in Marietta right now are historic names. Basically the buildings reflect the history of the city,” said local historian Nancy Hoy.
The St. Clair building was named for Arthur St. Clair, the first governor of the Northwest Territory, she said.
St. Clair came to Marietta in 1788 to establish the Northwest Territory and Marietta become the capital of that territory. In fact, many believed Marietta would become the capital once Ohio was established.
But St. Clair fell out of political good graces when he failed to shut down a major Native American uprising in 1791. President George Washington demanded his resignation from the army and Marietta’s chances of being the state capital were dashed.
Despite the overwhelming defeat, St. Clair’s name still holds a lot of weight in Ohio, even to this day. Besides the St. Clair building, St. Clair Street in Marietta and the city of St. Clairsville were named for him.
Selby General Hospital
Selby General Hospital and Texaco—a small, homegrown osteopathic clinic in Marietta and one of the nation’s largest oil and gas companies might not seem to have much of a connection at first.
But in fact, both businesses have the prominent Selby family to thank for their success.
Francis “Frank” Selby and his family moved to Marietta around 1900. Frank and his son William “Bill” Selby, formed the Selby Oil and Gas Co., which merged with The Texas Company in 1948 to become Texaco.
The Selbys were wildly wealthy; however, they were not ones to sit on their riches. Rather, they liked to donate to a variety of local philanthropic causes, said Sandra Hickey, registrar for Marietta’s Health Department, which sits at 304 Putnam St., Selby’s original location.
“The hospital that was here was called the Marietta Osteopathic Clinic. After a large donation from the family of Bill Selby, they renamed it,” she said.
The family had been involved in fundraising efforts for the hospital since its inception in 1927. Though Frank passed away in 1946 and Bill in 1956, the Selby family followed in their philanthropic footsteps.
In 1958, after another generous donation from the family, hospital administrators decided to rename the Marietta Osteopathic Hospital in honor of the Selby family.
However, it became apparent that the small hospital was outgrowing itself. Another Selby family contribution got the ball rolling to purchase land at 1108 Colegate Drive, and the hospital opened at its current location in 1965.
Marietta College’s Selby Building was also named for Bill and his wife Marie.
Dragon / Darcova
There’s a crumbling, brick building located at 105 State St. with the words “Dragon/ Darcova” emblazoned on its exterior.
Though the building still bears the name of the manufacturing company that vacated the premises in 1995, not everyone knows what the company made.
But Marietta resident Wil Spindler remembers.
“They made oil well supplies. They made cups and valves for pumps,” he said.
In fact, Spindler, 92, helped make them himself. He took his first job at the plant in 1936, at the age of 16, and worked there for eight years until he was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve in World War II.
Spindler, the company’s youngest employee, was a gopher.
“Everyone was my boss,” he joked.
According to the Darcova company, which still operates out of Montana, the Marietta Valve Company become the Dragon Manufacturing Company in 1912 because owners Hugo Turner and William Pease “liked the name.”
In the 1970s, Crane Packing bought both the Dragon Manufacturing Company at the Darling Pump Company, which produced the Darling Composition Valve cup, or DARCOVA cup, and combined both businesses in the building that still stands in Marietta today.