- Marshall University
- 1 John Marshall Drive - Huntington
- West Virginia 25755 - United States
Clarksburg, the birthplace of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, was the adopted home of thousands of immigrant laborers after the Civil War and, thanks to the discovery of gas and oil, a major manufacturing center for glass, tin and zinc. Two monuments mark the town's heritage. A likeness of Stonewall sits astride a bronze horse on the courthouse plaza and nearby, a heroic sculpture represents the Belgian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Romanian and Spanish immigrants who flocked to the region beginning in the 1880s.
Waldomore, a 19th century mansion filled with period antiques, was the original location of the Clarksburg/Harrison Public Library. It houses special collections including a genealogical library, works by and about West Virginians and the Gray Barker U.F.O. Collection. At nearby Fort New Salem, on the site of the original settlement and fort, early industry workshops, traditional music, food and storytelling are all part of the programs that describe the life of the Scotch-Irish and German families who settled the area.
The fort is open from the The Folk Fair in April through Front Porch Concerts in July, Dulcimer Weekend in August and Harvest Festival in October until after Spirit of Christmas in the Mountains, which is held two weekends in December. Fort New Salem is a living history center which is part of Salem-Teikyo University.
A Crossroads - Bridgeport, at the junction of US 50 and I-79, has been a trading post since 1764. Today, it's a favorite stop for food, fuel and a comfortable place to sleep. More than 40 restaurants vie for your attention, as do a 100-store mall and three shopping centers. A little further down US 50 east, antiquity is still the ticket, where shops such as Shahady's offer three stories of antiques, glass and collectibles. Craft shoppers will find the state's largest artisans' cooperative at Heritage Craft Village at the Stonewood exit of I-79.
Simpson Creek Covered Bridge and Fletcher Covered Bridge offer colorful glimpses of travel in the past and are easily accessible from today's four-lane highways. Watters Smith Memorial State Park is on the site of an 18th century farm and homestead. The original log home and other log buildings stand near the old park superintendent's home, which now houses a museum collection from all the families who have lived there. In one of the barns, a museum of farm equipment, implements and buggy transportation shows the difficult life of farming. This picturesque park also offers picnicking, hiking and an outdoor swimming pool.
Railroad Ties - When the B&O; Railroad came through Grafton in 1856, the little town suddenly found itself an important and growing rail center at the junction of lines extending to Wheeling and Parkersburg. The town became a prize coveted by Yankee and Rebel armies. The National Cemetery at Grafton is the burial place of Private Bailey Brown, first Union soldier killed by Confederate forces, along with 1,251 soldiers from both sides. The cemetery is part of the Civil War Discovery Trail.
Native Anna Jarvis brought distinction to Grafton when she organized the first Mother's Day celebration on May 10, 1908, at Andrews Methodist Church. Four miles south of Grafton on US 119 in Webster, Anna Jarvis' home is now open to the public. The 1854-55 house also served as headquarters for Union General McClellan. Tygart Lake State Park in Grafton draws family boaters, water skiers and swimmers, with 20 guest rooms overlooking the lake, cabins, campsites, hiking trails and recreational activities planned by a staff naturalist.
Country Charm - Preston County celebrates the rural appeal of Mountaineer Country through its mountainous beauty and country charm. One way to take it all in is on the West Virginia Northern Railroad, a restored freight railroad running between Kingwood and Tunnelton. The company operates three coaches of 1920s vintage, two cabooses that date to the '60s and '70s and two open excursion cars from the '40s and '50s, pulled by two diesel engines or a steam locomotive. The train runs weekends, spring through September, and daily during the Buckwheat Festival and December. Special events around Halloween, Christmas and Easter are offered.
Preston County boasts unique settlement history, as well. Arthurdale rates a spot on the National Register of Historic places for its role in Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal homesteader's program. Founded in 1933 as a community that would be self-sustaining through part-time industry, crafts and agriculture, Arthurdale was an experiment in modern social engineering.
Perfect Parking - Mountaineer Country has a variety of wonderful state parks and outdoor recreation opportunities in addition to Prickett's Fort and Watters Smith, mentioned previously. Audra State Park, bordered by Middle Fork River near US 250 in Barbour County, offers camping, swimming, and climbing on the river's mammoth rocks in more than 300 acres of wooded countryside. On US 50 near Aurora, Cathedral State Park's virgin hemlocks constitute one of the most accessible stands of old growth forest in North America. Hiking trails wind through 132 acres of ancient trees 10 feet and more in diameter.
Valley Falls State Park, near Fairmont, and Tygart Lake State Park, near Grafton, offer lake and river-related water sports. Valley Falls is especially nice for mountain biking. At Coopers Rock State Forest near Bruceton Mills, just off I-68 east of Morgantown, there's hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting, fishing and incredible scenery.
Thrilling Trips - Whitewater enthusiasts make annual pilgrimages to Mountaineer Country's tumbling Cheat and Tygart rivers. During "Cheat Season" in the spring, rafters and kayakers blast through Class IV and V rapids through the Cheat River Canyon. All summer and fall, the Cheat Narrows offer Class II and III family rides. Different sections of the Tygart can thrill or relax, depending on your tastes. Professional outfitters based in Albright and Rowlesburg offer day trips and combination packages. Mountain bicyclists traveling east on the North Bend Rail Trail will traverse lightly populated, wooded Doddridge County on their way to the Wolf Summit terminus of the trail.
Fishing Hole - Pleasant Creek Wildlife Management Area in Barbour County encompasses 2,000 acres of habitat for fish and game. The area offers rustic camping at 40 campsites and a 420-foot boat ramp as well as swimming, scuba diving and a rifle range. Teter Creek Wildlife Management Area, near Belington, provides another prime "fishing hole" for the avid angler.
Old Ambiance, New Fun - The rugged terrain the pioneers battled now challenges rock climbers, mountain bikers, kayakers and rafters, dazzling the eye in every direction from land, lake or air. Today, you can glide easily through the countryside on I-79 and I-68, but you may want to linger a while longer to sample your choice of yesterday, today, or tomorrow in Mountaineer Country.
Bridges to History - Nineteenth century bridge builders had their work cut out for them in Mountaineer Country, where rivers and streams interrupted roads at every turn. The state's first bridge builders prolonged the life of their structures by covering them. Mountaineer Country still retains the state's best collection of covered bridges. One of the most famous is Barbour County's Philippi Bridge on US 119/250, the only structure of its kind still part of a federal highway. In 1861, Union and Confederate soldiers fought the first land battle of the Civil War over this, West Virginia's oldest and longest covered bridge.
Built in 1852, the bridge is the centerpiece of the annual Blue and Gray Reunion, a full scale Civil War re-enactment that takes place each June. The bridge and Historic District are part of the Civil War Discovery Trail. It was built for a single railroad track, was curved and had platforms on each side for the viewing pleasure of passengers. This viaduct is pictured on the reverse side of the seal of the State of West Virginia.
A short distance south of Philippi on County Road 36, the Buckhannon River Bridge at Carrollton still serves its nearby communities. Dedicated bridge fans may want to seek out Dents Run Bridge near Morgantown, the Buffalo Creek Bridge near Barrackville and the Simpson Creek Bridge north of Bridgeport, all within easy access of I-79. In Harrison County, Fletcher Covered Bridge near Wolf Summit, and in Doddridge County, the Bridge at Center Point, are on county roads intersecting with US 50 West.