PARKERSBURG - The city of Parkersburg - and Wood County in general - have a lot of history to be proud of and a number of local organizations and attractions are working together to put for the inaugural "Reflections of the Past: A History and Heritage Festival."
The festival begins Thursday and runs through next Sunday in Parkersburg and Wood County, with special activities and programs schedule as part of "Reflections," along with local museums and attractions which will be open to visitors as a way to let people know about the area's history.
Deborah Shaffer, one of the event's coordinators, said Reflections is modeled after similar things the organizers have seen in other communities over the years as a way to bring small and large organizations and programs together for everyone's benefit and to let the community know what is available.
Photo by Wayne Towner
The W.W. Monroe House at 1703 Park Ave., across from City Park’s main entrance, will be dedicated Thursday to the National Register of Historic Places as part the “Reflections of the Past: A History and Heritage Festival” from Thursday through Sunday in Parkersburg and Wood County.
There has been a lot of interest from everyone involve and a lot of positive cooperation on the joint project, Shaffer said. She believes the local area is a natural place to hold such an event.
"Parkersburg and Wood County have so many firsts associated with the creation of the state of West Virginia," Shaffer said.
The participating attractions around Wood County include ArtCraft Studio, Blennerhassett Museum, Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Cook House, Henderson Hall, New Era One Room School Museum, the Oil and Gas Museum and others.
One of the special activities for this year's event will be the Dr. W.W. Monroe House National Registry dedication at 3 p.m. Thursday at 1703 Park Ave., Parkersburg. The historic white house across from the entrance to City Park is currently owned by Randy and Charlotte Modesitt.
The home was accepted this summer onto both the state and national historic registries, said Charlotte Modesitt. The Wood County Historical and Preservation Society was very helpful with the registration process, she said.
"It was started in 1896 and was deeded Oct. 4, 1898, to Dr. W.W. Monroe Jr.," she said. "He was a dentist. I looked up some of his old advertisements in the newspapers and he advertised himself as 'West Virginia's Painless Dentist.' We found out he was the first dentist in the area to have laughing gas so he really was a more painless dentist so I'm sure he really was very successful," Modesitt said.
Some of the other unique activities planned as part of "Reflections" will include: a Cincinnati Red Stockings 1860 Baseball Exhibition game on the Parkersburg High School Lawn; a Parade of Antique Cars at the South Parkersburg Wendy's; Carlin's Battery D Drills at Fort Boreman Historical Park; backstage tours at the Smoot Theatre; the West August Genealogy Workshop; a guided tour of historic downtown churches; the Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours; the Mansion by Candlelight on Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park; the Mid-Ohio Valley Model Railroad Open House; and the Riverview Living History Cemetery Tour, among others.
"We encourage the public to come out and support this event," said Mark Lewis, president of the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We hope this will become a beloved and long-lasting event, just like many of our other major fairs and festivals. The committee has worked diligently over the past year to develop something truly unique to Wood County."
For a complete schedule of events, call 800.752.4982.