The Imre and Janet Szilagyi Center

for the Performing and Visual Arts

After five years of planning, negotiating, scheming, hoping, and praying we finally wore down Imre and Janet to the point that they just gave us the building to get us out of their hair.

They gave us permission to use the old gymnasium/auditorium to stage many of the events over the year to celebrate the150th birthday of Rowlesburg.

Needless to say, Imre and Janet were thrilled to recognize the cultural advantages the old school can offer to the Town of Rowlesburg. Cristina Nassif's beauty and magnificent voice stole Imre's heart away.

In November, 2008, they called a meeting to announce that they will donate the old school to RRC, Inc. The only requirement is that we name the building after them.

Rowlesburg High School

The school, built in 1910 served grades one through twelve and graduated 74 classes over those seventy six years. The building contains 25,000 sq. ft. of space and includes a gymnasium/ auditorium complete with a stage for the performing arts.

Historic Designation

In October of 2005, a historic district designation was awarded to the town of Rowlesburg by the state of West Virginia and the National Register of Historic Places awarded the designation in November, 2005. The Rowlesburg school is located in the district and conforms to the criteria established for historic designation, therefore, any renovations or repairs to the building will be done in keeping with its historic design and will maintain its historic integrity.

The Gothic Collegiate Revival architecture with its pointed arches that grace the front entry and some windows has been , in most cases, preserved; original maple hardwood floors are in excellent condition; hand-crafted ornate mouldings around doors and windows have been maintained; and the gym/auditorium with handsome wood dentil moulding surrounding the raised stage remains as a grand hall for even the most sophisticated functions. Thus, a visit to the Welcome Center will provide the visitor with an enhanced appreciation for the cultural and historic value of the building.

 How good was your schooling in Rowlesburg?
The teachers were excellent and took special interest in the future success of their students.
In addition to "readin', writin', and 'rithmatic", we were given a well rounded education which included music, art, literature, drama, home economics, civics, PE, and most major sports. In the '50's:
  • We learned classical, broadway, folk, and contemporary music from Miss Schrock, Mrs. Ayersman, and Mr. Michael.
  • Mrs. Jamison and Miss Wolfe introduced us to Shakespeare (Macbeth), Henry W. Longfellow (Evangeline), Edgar Allen Poe (Annabel Lee, The Raven), Washington Irving (Headless Horseman), Sir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe), Joyce Kilmer (Trees), Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken), Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass), Robert Burns (Auld Lang Syne, My Heart's In The Highlands), John Keats (Ode on a Grecian Urn), Nathaniel Hawthorn (House of Seven Gables), Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights), Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn), James Fennimore Cooper (Last of the Mohicans),etc. And, of course, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I have to stop this - the list goes on and on!!!
  • Algebra and Geometry (Arrgghh) were taught by Mr. Goodwin, who was a friend to his students.
  • Mr. Galusky dutifully and effectively taught Biology and Chemistry; Mrs. Galusky was a class act who taught us cooking and sewing, as well as table settings, etiquette, and hygiene.
  • History and geography were the realm of Miss Carrico.
  • And, of course, there was the legendary Coach Ayersman who made men out of little boys.
  • Mr. Lipscomb made us tow the line or he reported us to our parents who sided with him and the teachers.
  • Then Mr. George Dewitt taught us everything else.


  • On May 1st, the Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Rowlesburg.
  • River City Festival on Memorial Day Weekend is always a smashing success with a parade, a play, barbershop quartet, magician, poetry, original Rowlesburg piano composition, and capped off by the outstanding voice of soprano Cristina Nassif singing arias from favorite operas.
  • Next, on June 19-20, Living History Weekend sponsored by Jef and Maggie of the Greatest Generation. A World War II Reenactment and dancing to the Big Band era music of Maestros of Swing are the main features. This weekend has been very popular for 4 years.
  • Labor Day Weekend Festival on July 2, 3, 4, & 5 featuring the famous Ox Roast.
  • The Annual Chestnut Festival, honoring the great American Chestnut Tree will be held on October 10.
The acquisition of the school has tremendous benefit to the entire community of Rowlesburg. Throughout its history, the school served as the center of community life bringing together parents, grandparents, friends and students to attend and participate in athletic events, band concerts, theater performances, proms and dances, dinners and alumni functions.
As a bonus, opening the school to the people brings together all segments of the community into one community center and the old school once again, is the hub of activity for young and old.