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Colored sections represent the counties in that region.



WILLIAMSTOWN

will be our first stop in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Bet you can't guess what we will see.......well, if you guessed a glass factory, you would be right.




FENTON ART GLASS FACTORY AND MUSEUM
was started by two brothers in 1907 with a combined capital investment of $284.00. Two more siblings soon joined them, establishing the dynasty that is now in its 4th generation.

There is a museum located upstairs that displays irreplaceable pieces from early Fenton years, as well as from other famous now defunct, glass companies.







Let's move on now to

PARKERSBURG

probably the most visited city in the Mid-Ohio Valley, and where we will spend most of our time.

First stop will be the Blennerhasset Island Historic State Park. This will take up the majority of our time here in Parkersburg. This is the fifth largest island in the Ohio River.

Margaret and Harmon Blennerhassett,

Wood County's most famous residents, chose this island to be their home.

The mansion was reconstructed between 1984 and 1991 as the original one (only 11 years old) burned to the ground in 1811. You see, Harmon was afraid of earthquakes. So instead of brick, he built his mansion with native hardwoods and painted it white so it could be seen by the riverboat passengers. This was apparently a bad choice because a candle in the basement started a fire which spread and destroyed the mansion.

Read about the tragic lives of the Blennerhassetts, (but don't forget to come back.)

It's going to take us about three hours to explore the island and the mansion. After that, we'll head back to the mainland and the Blennerhassett Hotel.

This beautiful hotel was built in 1889 to accommodate the travelers brought here by the booming oil industry.(More about that later.) The original 50 rooms have been expanded to 104 rooms and reopened in 1986.

Last but not least we will visit the Blennerhassett Museum.

The museum documents 11,000 years of indian occupancy of the island showing pottery, arrowheads, ornaments, etc. There is even the bones of a Mastodon on display plus much more.




Remember earlier I said I'd tell you more about the oil? Well, what I don't (didn't) know about oil in West Virginia would fill a museum....The Oil and Gas Museum, that is.


You'll learn the history of Parkersburg here as well as who created the oil industry in the U.S. Can you believe....it started right here in little ol' West Virginia? The museum also owns some land on which sits a 1905 steam engine and some other large pieces of drilling equipment.

I'm not going into detail here because there is a really terrific site that has pictures and a lot more information. I will give you the site, along with some others, at the end of this tour.

I would like to thank David McKain for giving me permission to use the two pictures above that refer to the Oil Museum. The first one is the cover of a book he has written on the subject. The picture of the museum is just one of many you will see when you visit his site.






Our next stop will be the theatre. In 1989 the SMOOT THEATRE was transformed from a crumbling, shabby, deteriorating movie house into an architectural wonder.

Built in 1926, the theater was home to many vaudville acts as well as more conventional acts like Guy Lombardo's band and beauty pageants. But alas, the days of vaudville ended and the Smoot was remodeled to accomodate the "talking movies".

It was in danger of being turned into a parking lot, but due to the efforts of one lady, namely Felice Jorgeson, the theatre was not only saved but redone again in it's original elegance, including replacing the original 1928 pipe organ.