PARKERSBURG -With little more than a month to go until the November election, the run for president will only get closer which means candidates will be on the campaign trail and chances that Republican candidate Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama will visit the area are pretty good.
A large number of presidents have stayed or stopped in Parkersburg while on the campaign trail.
"They wouldn't have any other reason to come here," quipped Ray Swick, historian at Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park.
William Taft was the first 20th Century president to visit Parkersburg and set the stage for a number of others.
Visits by John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan may be the most treasured.
West Virginia was pivotal to Kennedy's 1960 election and the young senator made a number of stops in the state in the spring of 1960, including a few in Parkersburg. He had previously been to Parkersburg in 1958.
Reagan came to Parkersburg in 1984 and received a rousing welcome from the Republican faithful. A newspaper account of his speech at Parkersburg High School stated the Gipper got a great roar from the crowd when he said, "How 'bout them 'Eers!"
The late newspaper columnist and reporter Al Woofter followed up Reagan's visit with a chronicle of the presidential visits.
A number of future presidents passed through the area, including George Washington, who owned land in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield and William McKinley all made stops in Parkersburg well before becoming president.
The late Ron Nelson, who penned "Visitors to the Valley," also detailed many of the famous folks who came through town. According to Nelson's book, Bill Clinton was the only 20th Century president who failed to come to Parkersburg as a candidate or incumbent. The ex-president came to the area in 2008, working the campaign trail for his wife Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Taft stopped in Parkersburg in 1908 as the Republican candidate for commander-in-chief.
Teddy Roosevelt followed in Taft's footsteps four years later in 1912 in a failed attempt to win the Republican Party nomination. Roosevelt had previously visited Parkersburg in 1900 as governor of New York and vice presidential candidate.
Future presidents Warren Harding, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George Bush, George W. Bush and Obama all made stops here while on the campaign trail.
Truman made campaign stops in Parkersburg in 1948 (twice) and again in 1952 to stump for the Eisenhower ticket.
Franklin Roosevelt made a whistlestop in Parkersburg in 1938, while campaigning for his second term in office. George W. Bush made three trips to the area in less than a year.
Swick also mentions those dignitaries who passed through town via steamboat along the Ohio River. He points out the vast majority of the Ohio River along the state's border is considered West Virginia.
Taking that into consideration officials list James Monroe, John Q. Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses Grant and Benjamin Harrison among those who passed through.
Swick also includes Sam Houston, president of the Republic of Texas.
"He was a president," he said. "A president is a president is a president."