Some skeptics doubted the wisdom of preserving the old Belmont County Sheriff's residence in St. Clairsville when the idea was proposed a few years ago. The building, constructed in about 1890, had deteriorated since its use ended in 1996.
But on Thursday, an open house was held at the renovated building, adjacent to the county courthouse. Clearly, the right decision was made in restoring and repairing it for use by the Belmont County Tourism Council and as a museum.
A state grant of $679,000 paid most of the cost - but there was a local commitment, too. The tourism council provided $150,000, with another $70,000 coming from the county Department of Development.
Much has been written about adaptive reuse of old buildings. In some cases, that is not feasible.
But in Belmont County, the old sheriff's residence is an example of how a magnificent, historic building can be made an asset to the community.