Visitors to the Belpre Area find themselves drawn to the river. Providing a distinct border to the city and an impact on its residents’ lifestyle, commerce and climate, the mighty Ohio River provides boating, kayaking and just lazing to all who follow the magnet that is flowing water.
The second settlement of the Northwest Territory, Belpre was then known as “Belle Prairie”. Belpre has a rich history that includes early Indian encampments, the Underground Railroad, and the state’s first library. You can find an extensive history exhibit at the Belpre Farmer’s Castle Museum and Education Center, 509 Ridge St. Belpre.
A bit further west, the land was deemed too dangerous to settle because of natives who were willing to fight for their land. But some brave pioneers forged ahead and built their homes in Little Hocking, Barlow and Vincent.
These charming towns are connected by a series of country roads that will take you through rolling hills and over scenic streams. In fact, six of the county’s nine historic covered bridges still in use are in western Washington County.
Directly across the mighty Ohio is Parkersburg and Wood County, WV, a city and county rich in history, river activity, Victorian architecture, arts and culture.
And, upriver 13 miles by car is Marietta, Ohio, an historic, charming riverboat town nestled in the rolling hills of the Mid-Ohio Valley. The county seat for Washington County is situated at the confluence of the mighty Ohio and Muskingum Rivers. Marietta served as the starting point for Westward expansion by early pioneers and is marked by the intricate pattern of brick streets, cascading flower-adorned lampposts, and the Victorian skyline of its vibrant downtown.
Located on a small island in the Ohio River and visible from Belpre’s riverfront, Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park features a Palladian mansion on the island and museum of regional history located in Parkersburg. This unique state park is visited by 40,000 people each year. This historical park is accessed by a sternwheeler riverboat from Point Park on 2nd Street in Parkersburg. Once on the island, visitors may enjoy tours of the grounds and mansion and horse-drawn carriage rides. Tours are offered when the park is open, from May through the last weekend of October.
For more information, visit Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau at www.mariettaoh.org and Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors’ Bureau at www.greaterparkersburg.com