BUCKHANNON – On Saturday morning, the legacies of two of Buckhannon’s greatest citizens were cemented in one special plaza as city officials and residents gathered for a special dedication of the Poundstone-Ellis Legacies’ Plaza.
The event took place at the Elizabeth J. “Binky” Poundstone Memorial Riverwalk trail.
Hank Ellis served as West Virginia Wesleyan College’s head basketball coach, head baseball coach, head cross-country coach, head football coach and eventually the college’s athletic director.
The college’s baseball field was named to honor Ellis decades before he passed away.
Although first appointed to fill in the remainder of her late husband’s seat on Buckhannon City Council in 1963, Poundstone went on to have quite a distinguished political career herself. After being elected city recorder in 1964, she served 13 consecutive two-year terms and retired in 1990.
Buckhannon mayor David McCauley became close friends with both, he said during remarks delivered at the dedication Saturday.
“Our college baseball field was named after Hank Ellis way back in 1986, nearly 30 years before his passing,” McCauley said. “Our River Trail was dubbed the Poundstone Memorial River Walk Trail 18 years ago immediately after Binky’s death.
“Yet despite the big signs bearing their names here for all these years, nowhere had we explained their greatness, what they dearly meant to our community,” the mayor continued. “Today, we fix that. Those big signs will now have greater meaning right here in one of the most traversed spots in our city.”
McCauley said Poundstone became one of his greatest mentors.
“She was off-the-charts wise and charismatic,” he recalled. “Coach Ellis was the guy I sat with at Lions Club dinner meetings on Thursday evenings. You can learn a lot about a guy when you break bread with him.
“When Hank came to find out I was from Wheeling, a place where he once lived and coached, his eyes lit up, and I came to hear all of his stories about the sports legends of the Ohio Valley, especially Lou ‘the Toe’ Groza,” McCauley added.
McCauley said the rationale for the dedication was three-fold.
“First and foremost, it’s vital that we recognize those important players who came before us –our history matters,” he said. “Second, both of these icons were important to our town and gown communities.
“They each recognized the importance of the bridge, the nexus, between our town and college,” McCauley added. “Not everyone understands or appreciates that. Third, as prominent as this corner has long been, it wasn’t one of our prettier spots. Now, it’s special, it’s green, it feels good – and soon, it will be illuminated, too.”
Members of the Poundstone and Ellis families who attended were also invited to reflect on the lives and lessons imparted by their iconic predecessors.