Cherry Tree Toys co-founder, Marjorie Murphy, dies

Special to The Enterprise
Marjorie Murphy

BELMONT – Marjorie Murphy, 94, co-founder of Cherry Tree Toys formerly of Belmont, died Feb. 9, 2021, at Liza’s Place in Wheeling, West Virginia.

She and her son, Michael remodeled the four-story former C.E. Acton Cigar Factory building at 408 S. Jefferson Street in the village in 1982, according to records at the county auditor’s office.

The company sold a variety of wood toy kits and designs and the business' retail shop on the lower level of the factory that was a popular stop during the 1980s and 1990s when the village sported several retail businesses catering to tourists.

Cherry Tree Toys also produced an annual print catalog. An advertisement in American Woodworker in the early 90s teased the catalog which sold for $1, “make wooden toys, whirligigs, banks, door harps, dollhouses, clocks, music boxes, weather instruments, crafts, furniture with plans, kits, and supplies.” Copies of the trade catalog are now in the collections of the National Museum of American History.

The Enterprise reported the sale of the business by the family in December 1992 to Washington, D.C.-based LaSalle Capital Group and James Kuse. The newspaper quoted a spokesman who said, “the new owners plan to keep everything essentially the same, but the product line will be expanded and the company invigorated.”

Sold, again, in the early 2000s to Wildwood Designs of Beloit, Wisconsin, the two operations were merged in that state in 2005. Six years later, in 2011, Belmont Mills moved its retail operation into the former factory building.

Murphy’s survivors include her husband, Lee Marshall, of St. Clairsville; three sons; four stepsons, and their families. A graveside service will take place later at Richland Cemetery near St. Clairsville.