Look Back: Wood County a leader in roads

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

Photo provided by Vernon Criss Road work at Seventh and Staunton Streets. The undated photo shows a road crew, possibly maintaining the brick surfaced street.

Good roads

We are told that the North Western and Staunton Turnpikes are now in good order, ready to receive travel of any and every description. This fact accounts for the good time now made by Robinson’s Fast Mail Coaches over the first named road, connecting with the Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road at Cheat River. Those who wish to reach the eastern cities soon, will take this route.

The Parkersburg Gazette

March 27, 1852


Bad roads

If any man has ever seen the roads in the country or around the city worse than they have been for the last month we should like to hear from him. With a little sluicing, a line of miniature iron-clad steamers might be run upon any of the noble “turnpikes” upon which our country people are charged toll at the rate of three cents a mile. To be sure, it has been so far an open and rainy winter and good roads are out of the question; but if there is any humanity, or Christianity, or even Democracy left in the various road surveyors they should forthwith dump a dozen loads of stone in each bad mire on their roads. If they do not, we fear all of us who travel the public roads will soon find watery graves. Something must be done or we will “take up arms against a sea of bubbles, and by opposing end them.”

The Weekly State Journal

Jan. 15, 1874


Road work

Jacob Woodyard and W.R. Neale, road contractors, the former of Tygart district and the latter of Parkersburg, are the possessors of two fine patent road machines and scrapers. The latter is operating on the Sand Road [now Murdoch Avenue] and the avenues of Riverside, and the former is repairing the roads in the district across the river.

Excerpt from The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

May 15, 1889


Wood County is pioneer in good road building; 32 miles of paving

To Wood County belongs the honor of being the first county in the State to initiate and give substantial form to the movement for paved county roads. Eight years ago there was not a mile of continuous paved road in the state aside from the National Road through Wheeling. Today Wood County has 32 miles of paved highway. A convincing testimony to the wisdom and foresight of Wood County’s citizens is found in the fact that since the people of this county voted the first good Roads Bond Issue in 1911, thirty-four of the 55 counties in the state have since then voted for road building purposes over $20,000,000 in bonds.

In addition to taking the initiative and pointing the way to the successful financing of road construction, Wood County has demonstrated that she can build her own roads with her own home talent, using for the most part local materials, thus keeping among her people by far, the greater part of all funds paid out for such improvements.

Excerpt from The Parkersburg News

Jan. 5, 1919


Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical Society. Would you like to help preserve our past for future generations? The society offers informative monthly meetings and an interesting, 20-page quarterly newsletter. Dues are just $15./year. Send to: WCHPS, P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.