Parkersburg, located at the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers, is the third
in the State of West Virginia. Parkersburg has been the seat of Wood County
(first Virginia, later West Virginia) since the early 1800s.
Parkersburg was originally named Newport when it was laid out in the late 18th century. A section of the land in the town was laid out over land granted to Alexander Parker for his Revolutionary War service. The title conflicts between Parker and the city planners of Newport were settled in 1809 in favor of Alexander Parker's heirs. The town was renamed Parkersburg in 1810. It was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1820 and re-chartered as a city in 1860.
The town was the terminus of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike and the Northwestern Turnpike. In 1857 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built a branch line to the town. The town was important as a transportation and medical center during the American Civil War. It then became a transportation hub in the gas and oil boom following that war, and is arguably the home of the first documented commercial use of oil in the US.
The Bureau of the Public Debt, an agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, is headquartered in Parkersburg.
Parkersburg is full of interesting things to see.
The current Wood County Courthouse, designed as a smaller version of the Romanesque Revival Allegheny County courthouse in Pittsburgh, was built in 1899.
Blennerhasset Island, an island on the Ohio River below the mouth of the Little Kanawha River, was an Indian settlement, first known as Backus Island for Elijah Backus who purchased it in 1792. Now it is named for Harman Blennerhassett, a figure in the Aaron Burr treason conspiracy, who purchased the east end of the island in 1798. The island is the site of Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, the location of Blennerhassett House, where Burr and Blennerhassett are alleged to have plotted treason against the United States, the so-called Burr Conspiracy. I found this interesting because ex vice-president Aaron Burr was captured in McIntosh, Alabama, in 1807. McIntosh is just a few miles north of where I currently live. He was temporarily jailed in Fort Stoddart and transported to Richmond where he was put on trial and acquitted of treason.
Museums in the area include the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History, the Henry Cooper Log Cabin Museum, the Sumnerite African-American History Museum, the Artcraft Studio, the Veterans Museum of Mid-Ohio Valley and the Oil and Gas Museum.
I enjoyed my stay in Parkersburg. I plan to return, as soon as possible, to explore more attractions. Don't forget to view the video of Parkersburg at the bottom of page.