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Parkersburg

Parkersburg’s History
ParkersburgCity.com

Originally named Newport in the late 18th century following the American Revolutionary War, Parkersburg’s fascinating history is filled with intrigue. Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers, the City is rich in historical significance. The town area was laid out on land granted to Alexander Parker for his Revolutionary War service, and the area was renamed for him as Parkersburg in 1810. It was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1820, and rechartered as a city in 1860.

The City served as a transportation and medical center for Union forces during the American Civil War and developed further into a transportation hub during the gas and oil boom. Today, one of the main attractions Parkersburg is known for is Blennerhassett Island – a national historical site located just off the city’s shoreline in the heart of the Ohio River.

Home to Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett, the island was where plans were developed by Aaron Burr and Harman Blennerhassett to undertake a military expedition to the Southwest that many, including President Thomas Jefferson, considered treasonous. During the Civil War, Union General George McClellan’s first invasion into the Confederacy was through Parkersburg. The city was also pivotal in the birth of the nation’s oil and gas industry and the creation of the State of West Virginia.

As one of West Virginia’s most historic cities, Parkersburg and the surrounding area features a colorful and intriguing heritage that has been magnificently preserved and presented by multiple museums and historic sites. For more information on Parkersburg’s history and culture, click here. To learn more about Blennerhassett Island and Blennerhassett Mansion, click here.

Parkersburg History Thumbnail
Wikipedia

Settlers at first named the city Newport when they arrived in the late 18th century following the American Revolutionary War. The town area was laid out on land granted to Alexander Parker for his Revolutionary War service, and the area was renamed for him as Parkersburg in 1810. It was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1820 and rechartered as a city in 1860.

The town was the western terminus of both the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike and the Northwestern Turnpike. In 1857 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built a branch line from Wheeling south to Parkersburg. Travelers wanting to connect with the Ohio Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad, one of the east-west lines along the Ohio River, had to take a steamboat 14 miles north to Marietta, Ohio.

Jacob Linville designed the railroad bridge planned by the B&O. It was constructed in 1868–1870 between Parkersburg and Belpre, Ohio, as part of the B&O's main line from Baltimore to St. Louis, Missouri. This drew traffic and trade from Marietta. Today the structure is known as the Parkersburg Bridge.

During the American Civil War, Union General George McClellan’s first invasion into the Confederacy was through Parkersburg. The city served as a transportation and medical center for Union forces during the war and developed further into a transportation hub during the gas and oil boom.

In the late 19th century Parkersburg emerged as a major oil refining center serving nearby oilfields at Vhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano,_West_Virginiaolcano and Burning Springs. The Camden Consolidated Oil Company, founded in 1866 by future U.S. Senator Johnson Newlon Camden, dominated the refining business and was sold to Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company in 1875. Camden became a Standard director and vice president and, along with John W. Davis, dominated West Virginia politics until the early 20th century.

In the post-World War II period, Parkersburg became one of the leading industrial centers of the Ohio Valley, producing chemicals, glass, O. Ames tools, textiles (especially American Viscose Company rayon), plastics and polymers, iron, and steel.

Downtown Eateries

The next time you are downtown Parkersburg and get hungry, remember there are a lot of dining options in the downtown area. Corner Café, Gyro King Parkersburg, J’s BBQ and Grill, Maka Mia Pizza, MY WAY Lounge and Restaurant, Parkersburg Brewing Co., The Blennerhassett Restaurant & Lounge, The Cocktail Bar, Unity Cafe, Wine Down on Market, Cham’s Lebanese Cuisine, Crystal Cafe, and Jimmy John’s Sandwiches.

 

 

 

Page last updated on Thursday, 14 March 2024 12:34 PM

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