Earl Oglebay’s Contribution to Agriculture
Digital Storytelling, Part 3
by Sarah Erstfeld and Jessica Spano
[ See video at end of article ]
Our trip to Wheeling, West Virginia was invaluable to us. We not only got to learn about Earl Oglebay, but about our site and Wheeling as well.
Determining the focus of our topic was relatively simple. All of us students were required to do some preliminary research before traveling to Oglebay. While we were researching, we noticed that Oglebay had a huge impact on West Virginia with his farming. We thought that would be interesting to research further. We were surprised when we learned that it isn’t the most covered topic. We found so much interesting information about it. Probably one of the most interesting facts was that he was appointed to be the Federal Food Administrator. We thought that was incredibly fascinating. We also really thought it was cool when his farm had nearly perfect milk. We learned so much from this trip.
The biggest thing we learned was the power of research. We knew nothing about Wheeling before this project. We immersed ourselves in its history and learned a lot. For example, on our first night in Wheeling, we had the pleasure of listening to a Dr. David Javersak, a local retired history professor, speak to us about Wheeling history. We were surprised to learn how big of a deal Wheeling used to be. He told us that it was as important as Pittsburgh. We also learned a lot about our site. It was surprising to us when we learned that the house had passed through so many hands before landing in Oglebay’s. We knew that he wasn’t the original owner, but it shocked us as to how many people owned it before him. It also interested us when we found out that he added onto the house as much as he did. The piece of information we would like viewers to know about Oglebay’s story is that he wasn’t originally in the farming business. He first worked with banks and then later with steel. It wasn’t until after “retirement” that he decided to work with farming. We thought that was extremely dedicated of him.
Earl Oglebay was an amazing person. We feel honored that we had the opportunity to learn about him and about Wheeling. We’ll always remember the value of research as we continue our education. We had a great time working on this project and hope another chance like this arises in our future studies at California University of Pennsylvania.