It’s All About the Rivers— From the early days as a means of transportation, to the attraction of the area’s rivers to industry, and to the recreation and tourism today, rivers have been foremost in importance to the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The Ohio, the Little Kanawha, and the Muskingum Rivers have been key in the development and livelihood of this area.
Parkersburg, the largest city in the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna Metropolitan Statistical Area, located at the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers, is the third largest city in West Virginia and is the county seat of Wood County with a population of 31,186 in 2013.
Parkersburg is named for Alexander Parker who was granted the land for his Revolutionary War service. Originally named Newport, the town was renamed Parkersburg in 1810,
Access to the area was by riverboat until the town became the ending point of the Staunton Parkersburg Turnpike and the Northwestern Turnpike built to cross the Appalachian Mountains to western Virginia prior to the Civil War. In 1857 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built a branch line to the town.
The Oil and Gas industry began here in the middle of the last century; the development of the Mid-Ohio Valley and that importance is chronicled in a book, Where It All Began, and is visually displayed at the Oil and Gas Museum telling of the intrigues of the time that led to statehood for West Virginia.
Blennerhassett Island, located in the Ohio River below Parkersburg, was purchased by Harman Blennerhassett for a home in 1798.
The island has become a West Virginia State Park which allows tourists to visit the island on a sternwheeler, tour the re-built mansion, and consider a time when Blennerhassett and Burr allegedly plotted treason against the United States.
Parkersburg’s Julia-Ann Square Historic District is the center of those 19th Century homes built by prominent oil and gas barons who made their fortunes here.
From its pinnacle location, visitors to Fort Boreman Hill can view the entire region overlooking Parkersburg; it is now the Fort Boreman Civil War Park—a beautiful spot to imagine times gone by or have a picnic.
The downtown is fortunate to have three downtown outlets greatly supported by volunteers which provide arts to the area: the Smoot Theater,
providing live entertainment of music, dance, lectures, children’s theatre; The Parkersburg Actors Guild,
producing live plays of interest to thespians of the area’ and the Parkersburg Art Center, with its art displays, classes and exhibits.
Parkersburg’s housing ranges from older housing in varying stages of repair and restoration like the historic areas of the Julia-Ann Square and Washington Ave., to the newer areas in Wyndemere, Parkersburg’s most expensive neighborhood that overlooks the Grand Central Mall.
Much of the housing was built in the 60s and 70s when real estate boomed somewhat with the growth of the plastics industry.
The South Hills area of South Parkersburg has been an established neighborhood for families since that time.
One area, Meadowcrest, in North Parkersburg, built in the 50s and 60s provides housing of that era and sells between $225,000-$350,000, with larger-than-usual city lots and more privacy.
For the period of the past ten years, real estate sales have remained stable increasing slightly each year as the economy has diversified. One employer, the Bureau of the Fiscal Services, Department of theTreasury, provides employment for many in Parkersburg and has added to the stability of housing in the region.
The construction of Patriot Center in South Parkersburg with its new retail stores has encouraged growth and development in that area and some new housing as well.
Much of the housing growth has occurred in the County outside the city limits of Parkersburg and in neighboring cities.
North Parkersburg had 182 sales in 2014 with a median sales price of $87,500, an average sales price of $96,513 and an average days on the market of 121.