Museums and Other Historically-Minded Organizations
Artcraft Studio, created by photographer Vincent Borrelli in 1925 and carried on by his son Paul, offers copies of over 8,000 local photographic images at very reasonable cost. The studio is located in the lower level of the old Dils Department Store, 521 Market Street, Parkersburg, W.Va. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Phone 304-485-5771.
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park / Blennerhassett Mansion
The Ohio River's most famous island, Blennerhassett Island, was made a West Virginia state park in 1978. Although it is rich in prehistoric history, its greatest fame came centuries later when it became the home of Irish aristocrat Harman Blennerhassett, his wife Margaret Agnew Blennerhassett, and their children. In 1806, the island became the headquarters of Aaron Burr's "conspiracy". The Blennerhassetts' Palladian house, which stood from 1800 until 1811, was a mansion in the Mid-Ohio Valley's log cabin-clad frontier days. The grand home was reconstructed 1985-1991 and serves as the island's focal point. Visitors reach the island from about May 1 through November 1 via. a trip on the park's sternwheeler, the Island Belle. Visit www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com or call 304-420-4800.
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park / Putnam-Houser House
When Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett lived on Blennerhassett Island, their closest area friends were Aaron Waldo and Charlotte Putnam who lived across the river at Belpre, Ohio, in a home known as "Maple Shade". In 1986, the 1802 house, deteriorated but untouched by modernization, was barged from Belpre, Ohio, to Blennerhassett Island to save it from destruction. It has since been completely restored by the Blennerhassett Historical Foundation and is open to the public on most weekends.
Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History
Located in the 1902 Star Grocer warehouse building at the corner of Second and Juliana streets in downtown Parkersburg, the Blennerhassett Museum offers a variety of exhibits, including the rare prehistoric Indian collection accumulated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Professor Henry Stahl of Parkersburg. For more information visit www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com or call 304-420-4800.
Carlin’s Battery D (Living History / Re-enactor Group)
Wood County, West Virginia's 10# Parrott cannon was a project initiated by Bob Enoch and the Fort Boreman Park Commission. The idea was supported by the County Commission and the citizens through a fund drive. The original intent was for the cannon to be on display at the Fort site, but due to the threat of vandalism there were questions about leaving it there. By the time the park was more secure, Wood County Commissioner Robert Tebay had a group of local re-enactors firing the cannon on special occasions, which they found to be very popular among the citizens and county officials. In January of 2008, Jim Miracle approached the Commission about forming an official group to care for, display, and fire the cannon at local events, living histories, and reenactments, as ambassadors for Fort Boreman Park and Wood County. On Feb 14th 2008, by order of the Wood County Commission, the living history/re-enactment group Carlin’s Battery D was officially formed. Among the charter members were civil war enthusiasts and interested individuals. All members of the Battery are required to attend the National Civil War Artillery Association training for civil war re-enactors. In its first two years the Battery has participated in parades, living history presentations for the YMCA Day Camp Program, West Virginia Birthday Celebration at Fort Boreman, and re-enactments at Mountwood Park, Cedar Creek, VA, Calhoun County, etc. We have constructed a headquarters at Fort Boreman to hold events there. For further information on the Battery visit www.carlinsbatteryd.org.
Daughters of American Pioneers, Centennial Chapter
Henry Cooper Log Cabin Museum
Operated by the Centennial Chapter, Daughters of American Pioneers, the Henry Cooper Log Cabin Museum offers two floors of exhibits showcasing pioneer relics. The museum is housed in a circa 1804 log house originally owned by Henry Cooper that is now situated in the City Park. (The house was relocated to the park by the city in 1910.) It is open on Sunday afternoons from June 1st through Labor Day from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Contact Charlotte Modesitt, Centennial Chapter Regent, at 304-428-3145.
Oil and Gas Museum
Located at 119 Third Street in the former W. H. Smith hardware building, the Oil and Gas Museum offers visitors about 20,000 square feet of West Virginia history. Two floors of displays feature artifacts and photographs of West Virginia Oil and Gas industry, Civil War in West Virginia, Mid-Ohio Valley manufacturing, and historic Parkersburg views. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from10am to 5pm, and 12pm to 5pm on Sunday. Contact (304) 485-5446 for information.
17th Virginia Cavalry, Company F (Living History / Re-enactor Group)
Known as the Nighthawk Rangers, the 17th Virginia Regiment, Company F, is a Parkersburg, W.Va.-based unit of American Civil War Confederate cavalry re-enactors. The group was created 20 years ago and is based upon the original Company F that formed in 1862. Their website is http://17thvirginiacavalry.tripod.com. Contact person is Fred Cornell, 304-628-3813.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, General Benjamin D. Fearing, Camp #2
After the American Civil War and the Grand Parade in Washington, D.C., the veterans returned home. The veterans discovered they missed the men they had lived with, suffered hardship with, and struggled side by side with during their three years of service. Many had been injured and most lost friends and family to death and disease during this tumultuous time in American history. As a result, each little town or big city began to form various veteran groups. One such group was formed by Benjamin F. Stephenson. It was one of the better organized groups and quickly became the most popular. They became big enough to even be noticed by federal and state officials. The group was strong enough to cause politicians to pay attention to them, they were very active in civil rights even before the turn of the century. Every town and village in the north and western states had a Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) meeting place, quickly becoming one of the largest fraternal organizations in the country. In 1881 the veterans invited their sons to join them, and in 1925 they turned the group over to the sons and changed the name to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). The GARs’ sole surviving member, Albert Woolson, deeded all its holdings to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War 13 February 1954. He charged them to carry on the GAR's work and safeguard its records and history. The SUVCW is divided in to districts similar to the way the military was divided during the war. Since neither Wood County nor its surrounding counties have a camp, and since many West Virginia ancestors served in Ohio units during the war, the "sons" and "daughters" of those veterans are welcome to join the Benjamin Fearing Camp in Marietta. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sumnerite African-American History Museum
and Multipurpose Center
Established in the gymnasium building of the old Sumner High School, Parkersburg, W.Va., Sumnerite Museum is dedicated to the remembrance of the school and to early Parkersburg-area African-American families. The school was established in 1862 as the first free school for African-American children south of the Mason Dixon line, and operated until the end of segregation in 1955. There are exhibits on the first floor and a large multi-purpose conference room on the second floor. Tours can be arranged upon request. Located at 1016 Avery Street. Contact Toni Oliver at 304-295-9639.
United Daughters of the Confederacy
Plans are currently underway to reinstate the local Chapter of United Daughters of the Confederacy. Membership is open to ladies who are at least 16 years old and are lineal or collateral descendants of men or women who served honorably in the army, navy or civil service of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Also eligible are those women who are lineal descendants of members or former members of the UDC provided the applicant is acceptable to the organization. Anyone seeking additional information or desirous of joining may call Edna J. Barnes at 304-485-7114 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or email her at dejb@suddenlink,net. Email is MOST preferable and you MUST put UDC in the subject line.
Veterans Museum of Mid-Ohio Valley
The Veterans Museum of Mid-Ohio Valley is a not-for-profit association formed by a group of veterans from the Mid-Ohio Valley. The museum, located at 1829 7th Street, Parkersburg, West Virginia, offers 1,700 square feet of displays of uniforms, implements, and other memorabilia once owned by U.S. servicemen and women from the days of the Civil War through present day. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Suggested donation of $5.00 per adult and $3.00 per student. Phone 304-420-0332. Email email@example.com. Website veteransmuseumofmidohiovalley.com.
Washington Avenue Historical Community Association
Washington Avenue Historical Community Association formed in 2008 to promote public awareness of the Parkersburg High School/Washington Avenue Historic District and to aid in preserving the character and integrity of the area. The district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Contact the president Kim Blackburn at (304) 420-2488.
West Augusta Historical and Genealogical Society
West Augusta Historical and Genealogical Society originated in the old Colonel Thomas Tavenner's house in Parkersburg, W.Va., in 1946, as a lineage-based group whose members could trace their ancestry back to Colonial America. The lineage requirement has since been lifted. The group has been instrumental in recording Wood County cemetery tombstones, producing and selling genealogical and history-related books, and even played a large role in saving the Wood County Courthouse from demolition. An ongoing primary goal is support of the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy Room. Luncheon meetings are scheduled throughout the year. For more information contact the society c/o Wes Cochran, 2515 10th Avenue, Parkersburg, W.Va., 26101. Phone 304-422-1774.
Wood County Historical and Preservation Society
The Wood County Historical and Preservation Society was formed in 1979 by a few determined citizens to save the Wood County Courthouse from demolition during Urban Renewal. It has evolved into an active and successful group with over 200 members. It meets monthly featuring a program or speaker and has undertaken many worthwhile historical projects. Family membership is $15 a year and comes with the Society's quarterly newsletter. Visit www.wchps.com or contact Bob Enoch at 304-485-8655.
Wood County Rural Cemetery Association
The Wood County Rural Cemetery Association, a committee of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, was formed in 2008 to aid in locating, preserving, and maintaining rural Wood County cemeteries, many of which are in danger of being lost. The committee feels that all graves of our pioneer ancestors deserve our honor, respect, and care; it was for this purpose that this committee was created. Volunteers to help with this project are welcome. Please contact the WCHPS at P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102, or call Bob Enoch at 304-485-8655.