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Legacy spans Centennial to Sesquicentennial

Chris Dorst
Maddie Ferrell, 18, of Charleston, models a gown her grandmother, Doris Ferrell, wore for West Virginia Centennial events 50 years ago. The hoop crinoline for the dress didn't survive the years.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Doris Ferrell waited half a century for one of her dreams to come true.She always wanted to see her granddaughter, Maddie Ferrell, in the same gown she wore when she was co-chairwoman of the West Virginia Centennial Commission for Boone County.Ferrell, nicknamed Chic, wore the Civil War era-style dress to the Centennial Ball held in Charleston in June 1963, when West Virginia celebrated its 100th birthday.Now living in Little River, S.C., Ferrell remembers that the West Virginia Centennial Commission commissioned Hazel Waggly to design and make a gown for the centennial queen.Waggly sewed custom-made dresses "and made the most beautiful hats. That was when you wore hats to everything," Ferrell recalled.
Waggly was supposed to make one dress, but she made dresses for customers Ferrell and her good friend Wilma Lyon, who still lives in Madison.According to a 1963 article in The Charleston Gazette, Waggly also created a green gown of velvet and chiffon for a mannequin dubbed Juanita Bowen Delbrugge, "formerly of Charleston, now of Washington, D.C." Juanita was on display in the reception room of the U.S. Capitol for a period.Ferrell and Lyon were active in the Junior Woman's Club 50 years ago, and they remember wearing their gowns to the club's convention at The Greenbrier. "The Gazette took a photograph of Chic and me in our gowns," Lyon recalled.She remembers wearing the dress to the women's organization's national convention and to teas at Sunrise and the Governor's Mansion. Neither woman remembered what they paid for their gowns.Lyon also still has her pink satin gown. "I just knew that someday someone was going to want to wear it," she said.Reach Rosalie Earle at or 304-348-5115.
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