Many parks throughout the state have history, but according to West Virginia historian and history interpreter, Katie Donelly, Prickett’s Fort in Marion County is the only state park that brings its history to life.
“Not many state parks you know can boast living history going on every day,” said Donelly.
Blacksmith at Prickett’s Fort, Israel Rollison, said this park’s history is based in the late 1700s, and workers at this park live out that history on a daily basis.
“Out here it’s Frontier history. We’re based in 1774. That’s when Shawnee are still kind of going around and burning down cabins and such and the settlers built the forts as a place of refuge during those times,” said Rollison.
Throughout the park there are several historians that act out and interpret different jobs and ways of life on the Frontier.
“I do a lot of spinning, I do a little bit of weaving, I deal with the herb gardens, so we just portray daily life out here on the Frontier,” said Donelly.
Guests come to see this history in action by watching and interacting with these historians hands-on as they show what life was like nearly 300 years ago.
“We do mostly hands-on because it’s a lot easier for people to learn hands-on rather than reading from a book. Yeah you can learn from watching somebody do it, but it sticks whenever you do it yourself,” said Donelly.
“I make anything from axe heads to 18 century toasters, which they actually cared about back then, s hook and j hooks, kind of the cheesy blacksmithing things as well,” Rollison explained.
These historians say their favorite part about the park is being able to educate and continue to keep West Virginia history alive.
“If we don’t keep this history alive it will be lost. It’s already not common knowledge that West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania were our Frontier at one time, so we just got to keep that alive as long as we possibly can,” said Rollison.
The last ticket at Prickett’s Fort is sold by 4 p.m. seven days a week from now until Labor Day.