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Martin museum mulled

June 22, 2009
By DAVE GOSSETT, staff writer

STEUBENVILLE - The fans are gone and the organizers are already preparing for next year's Dean Martin festival, but a local businessman has a dream of a Dean Martin museum, and he said he will pursue that dream.

"You can go to Cadiz and find a museum dedicated to Clark Gable and to George A. Custer. Other communities have museums honoring and remembering their hometown heroes or people who were born and raised in a particular town. There's no reason why we can't have a Dean Martin museum here in Steubenville," said Jerry Barilla, owner of Frank and Jerry's Appliance store and president of the Historic Fort Steuben Board of Trustees.

"The annual Dean Martin Festival brings in thousands of visitors every year and we see people stopping at the Historic Fort Steuben throughout the year who ask about a Dean Martin museum," said Barilla.

And in addition to his dream, Barilla also has an idea for the location of the museum.

"Once the city finishes its new city building and demolishes the existing city annex building, that would open up that corner of Market and Third streets. I could easily see a small Dean Martin museum and maybe a small restaurant be located in the former Denmark building on Market Street," said Barilla.

"You have that large blank wall facing Court Alley that would be perfect for a Dean Martin mural," added Barilla.

"We could start small and add memorabilia and other Dean Martin items every year. It would make a perfect spot for a museum honoring our native son," noted Barilla.

Martin's daughter, Deana, said she would like to see a museum in her father's hometown.

"This town has such a presence of community with so many friendly people. And I continue to meet new fans as well as old friends. I really enjoy coming back here every year and I think a museum would be a great idea," she noted.

"A museum would be a good place for fans of my father to bring their keepsakes and memorabilia. And we all could share memories of my father," Deana added.

"This is a good idea, and I am going to continue pushing for a Dean Martin museum. He was born here and we see people come here from across the country and other countries. We need to have a museum so we can bring Dean Martin fans to Steubenville all year round," stated Barilla.

(Gossett can be contacted at

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