Save for major government buildings, it's a characteristic lacking in the era of big box stores and planned obsolescence. I suppose, like the tricky, fickle fortunes of modern business, these structures have to be able to transform quickly or be razed easily for a new, equally disposable establishment.
The state is littered with remnants of its industrial and commercial heritage. There are beautiful, exotic buildings in Huntington, Parkersburg and Wheeling that serve as time capsules and monuments to an age of economic muscle and the bestowal of noblesse oblige to the communities they served.
Some have been wonderfully maintained and kept current as places to conduct the business of commerce or government. Others have suffered neglect from the ravages of time, faded and worn like a water-stained portrait of a regal debutante.
So it does my heart good to see efforts like Parkersburg's Point Park Marketplace renovating a property that had previous lives as a hotel and soda water factory into a farmers market not unlike Charleston's own Capitol Market - which itself is a reworked space that formerly housed a railroad freight station.
I'm encouraged to see plans to brighten the old Staats Hospital with window murals as work continues toward its rehabilitation.
Perhaps, as area urban renewal organizers hope, this makeover could further extend the overall effort to reinvigorate a West Side lined with blighted reminders of a proud, blue-collar history.
With changes altering the state's industrial and economic landscape, perhaps it's good to have a touchstone or landmark to inspire feelings of confidence and stability - something to remind its citizenry of where it came from, where it's headed and what it's working toward.
As the city and state advance and transition for whatever new prospects await, I'm glad to see that we're finding ways to honor that past as we work toward the future.
Maramba is managing editor of the Daily Mail. His email address is phi...@dailymail.com.