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Roaming West Virginia: Parkersburg

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. – The city of Parkersburg wasn’t the original name for the city when it formed. Originally it was named Newport in the late 18th century following the American Revolutionary War.

The city is rich in historical significance. Parkersburg served as a transportation and medical center for union forces during the Civil War, and developed further into the transportation hub during the oil and gas boom.

One stop you’ll find more about is Parkersburg’s Oil and Gas Museum. More than 20,000 square feet of exhibits tell the tales of the people and events that created the boomtowns of Burning Springs, Volcano, Petroleum and many others. Not to mention the story of West Virginia’s statehood.

“A lot of the artifacts, equipment that was used going back into the 1800s of oil equipment that was used,” said Larry Wiseman. “What they were looking for was a cheaper way of making kerosene. Kerosene at that time was made from coal. I don’t know if you heard the term ‘coal oil’ well that’s simply kerosene that you get from coal,”

“We just try to promote the history and what they’re doing today, and little do people realize the oilmen was the driving force behind the formation of the state of West Virginia,” Wiseman said.

Parkersburg also offers more stops. There’s the Smoot Theatre, a distinguished center for the peforming arts. The Smoot Theatre opened her doors for Vaudeville, and captivated history spanning three quarters of a century. Blennerhassett Hotel, if you need stay overnight strives to maintain a seamless fusion of past, present, and future.

Fort Boreman Park overlooks the city of Parkersburg. Fort Boreman was a defensive structure named in honor of the state’s first governor, and it was never attacked. The park features picnic shelters and tables, a nature trail and great views of the Ohio River, the city of Parkersburg, and Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park.

Julia-Ann Square Historic District is a community of approximately 126 homes surrounded by the city of Parkersburg. It includes some of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in the state. The majority of the district’s structures date from 1850 to 1910.

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