Look Back: A walk in Wood County

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

Photo Provided The Parkersburg YMCA, dedicated in 1905, had an elevated walking track/observation area overlooking the gymnasium. In addition to the gym, the then state-of-the-art facility, located on 8th Street between Market and Juliana, offered a swimming pool and bowling lanes.

Our champion walkers

Thomas Cox, of this city, and C. Hendricks, of Lauckport, are at Wheeling, participating in the thirty-six hour go-as-you-please walking match. Cox is the champion of West Virginia and seems likely to win the Wheeling prize.

Cox holds the American record for 36 hours, of 219 miles, and it is his intention to break his own record if he can. Had he been pushed yesterday he would have no doubt broken the championship record of 87 miles in twelve hours. He showed remarkable endurance, and won a bet of $100 that he could make 70 miles in twelve hours.

An excerpt from the Parkersburg Daily State Journal

Feb. 22, 1889

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After dinner talk on timely topics

This is such a town for Clubs I wonder somebody doesn’t start a “Walking Club.” Walking was a great fad in other places last year.

This is just the time of year to begin, for the spring weather makes everyone feel like “going some’ers.”

It is said that persons can get more real pleasure out of a walking party than out of any ordinary tea party that was ever planned.

Be sure and have comfortable shoes (this is for the girls, of course — the men always do) and a suitable costume. Take a small basket of crackers or apples to take off the edge of a ravenous appetite that you will be sure to bring home with you.

Where shall you go?

Dear me! There are plenty of places. One of the prettiest is out back of Mr. Shattucks farms, on the Sand road. You will find lovely farms there and all sorts of wild flowers, one especially that is quite scarce hereabouts, the wild honeysuckle or azalea.

If you don’t want to go so far turn off at the pottery [up Emerson Avenue from Murdoch] and go up towards Mr. Dudley’s. You will find those grand old trees under which to sit and a musical running brook near which plenty of violets and marsh flowers grow [this area later became Terrapin Park].

Then there is the walk out past the Fair Grounds [City Park] or over toward Snakeville [Fairview Avenue area] — or if you feel very venturesome you can take the ferry-boat and cross over to Belpre. There are charming walks over there, and some of them lie along the river for long distances giving the exercise an added charm. And then the bridge [Juliana Street], through the ravines and over the hills across the Kanawha; you may end your walk there with a lovely sunset view.

Talking of the hill over there, why doesn’t the city buy it for a park? It ought to be purchased before it is cut up into checker board lots. [Though it took a long time, the “hill” that is mentioned in this 1892 news item, finally, in 2006, was dedicated as Fort Boreman Park.]

The Parkersburg Sentinel

April 27, 1892

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Bob Enoch is the president of the Wood County Historical Society. The group meets at 7p.m. on the last Monday of each month in the Summers Auditorium at the Wood County Public Library on Emerson Avenue. They do not meet in December. For more information, contact P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.

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