Skip to main content

HISTORY INSIDE PICTURES

Look in The Electric Mirror to Find the Ark of the Covenant
HISTORY INSIDE PICTURES
ABOUT 666
ABOUT REAL STAR WARS
666 EXPLAINS NUMBER 153
A SPIRIT REINCARNATED
AIRPLANE & UFO PICTURES
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
ANCIENT ELECTRO-CHEMISTRY
ANCIENT INVENTIONS
ARC LAMPS IN SEARCHLIGHTS
CONSOLIDATION COAL CO.
COVENANT ARK OR ARC
FAIRMONT WV COAL
GODS BIBLE CHRIST ETC
HUMOROUS OBAMA NEWS
KALEIDOSCOPE PROJECTOR
LIGHTHOUSE HISTORY
LIGHT LOOMING REPORTS
LUCKY CURE FOR OBESITY
MAGIC LANTERN PICTURES
MONONGAH MINE HISTORY
MOUNT RUSHMORE THEN NOW
NIKOLA TESLA INTERVIEW
OBAMA HAWAII BIRTH PROOF
OBAMA IS NOT "PRESIDENT"
OLD ELECTRIC TECHNOLOGY
OLD KARLOVA U. ARC LIGHT
OLD SANDY HOOK NEWS
PARKERSBURG WEST VIRGINIA
Blennerhassett Island
Parkersburg Floodwall Pic
Parkersburg History
Parkersburg Pictures
The Old Carnegie Library
Parkersburg Postcards
RAILROAD PHOTOS & HISTORY
SMOKING CIGARETTES
TEA PARTY PICTURES
TELESCOPES & ANCIENTS
THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
THE BENGHAZI REPORT
THE TWILIGHT ZONE
TRAM OR TROLLEY HISTORY
UNICORN IMAGES & HISTORY
U.S. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
WHO IS GOD?
WHO IS JESUS?
Contact Us
About Us
Member Login
Site Map

 

Parkersburg West Virginia Souvenir Postcards

 

By Larry Brian Radka
(A Parkersburg WV Resident

 

 

 

 

Parkersburg WV (West Virginia) souvenir postcards are often posted on Ebay for auction or sale as single mementos that go for a hefty price, but seldom in a folder containing 24 keepsakes that go for a meager $8 plus $2 for shipping and handling.  However, winning the recent auction for these beautifully colored postcards—whose pictures date from about 1900 to 1924—was my good fortune on February 1st, 2009.  Therefore, I want to share with you a look at these magnificent relics, along with some brief but interesting information about each scene.  Occasionally, I will place an underlined link to some related Web page for you to enjoy also.
 

 

 

 
Above we see a bird's eye view of Parkersburg, spread out between the junction of the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers.  This “Souvenir Folder of Parkersburg, W. Va.,” as may be noted in the photograph of its stamped side at the top of this page, was mailed at 7 PM on the 4th of July 1924.  Apparently, postal workers in Huntington did not enjoy a holiday on Independence Day then.  However, some of the views date back over two decades before this time, as I have noted on the enclosed postcard pictures below:
 

 

 

 

One of Parkersburg's important bridges, beginning on 5th Street, was built in 1914 and is illustrated above.  Designed by a German Engineer, after the Rhine River Bridge at Coblenz, this cable suspension bridge brandished a wooden floor with steel trolley track rails bound for Athens, Ohio.  However, Parkersburg trolleys never ran that way, but crossed the Ohio to Marietta and on to Beverly from Williamstown, West Virginia instead

 

 

 

 

The tracks with the B & O locomotive steaming in front of the Parkersburg train station above ran to Ohio over a much older bridge—the one illustrated below.  This is the oldest (still standing) bridge crossing the Ohio River at Parkersburg.  This railroad bridge was created by an Act of Congress in 1862 and completed in January of 1871, after two years of construction.  “It measured 4600 feet from its start at 6th and Avery, and for a time was the world’s longest bridge,” according to James Dawson and Gary Null’s Parkersburg, An Early Portrait.  “A B & O bridge, it had nonetheless been partially financed by a wealthy Baltimore family, and they demanded a 25-cent tax on all passengers who crossed it.  In 1904, the B & O finally bought them out.”

 

 

 

The tracks with the B & O locomotive steaming in front of the Parkersburg train station above ran to Ohio over a much older bridge—the one illustrated belowThis is the oldest (still standing) bridge crossing the Ohio River at Parkersburg.  This railroad bridge was created by an Act of Congress in 1862 and completed in January of 1871, after two years of construction.  “It measured 4600 feet from its start at 6th and Avery, and for a time was the world’s longest bridge,” according to James Dawson and Gary Null’s Parkersburg, An Early Portrait.  “A B & O bridge, it had nonetheless been partially financed by a wealthy Baltimore family, and they demanded a 25-cent tax on all passengers who crossed it.  In 1904, the B & O finally bought them out.”

 

 

 

 

About a mile down the Ohio River from the Parbel beach stands Blennerhassett Island, the site of some intriguing United States history.  Above we see the island blockhouse that housed a treasonous conspiracy purported to have been concocted by Harman Blennerhassett and Aaron Burr.  The house burned down in 1910

 

 

 

 

However, the beautiful stone structure inside and out standing proudly aboveonce a part of the Wood County West Virginia library systemat the same time has survived to date.  The linked page above tells us that The Cornerstone of the Carnegie Public Library at 725 Green Street in Parkersburg, West Virginia was laid on October 20, 1904 amid a big ceremony conducted by the Grand Lodge of Masons.  Various dignitaries spoke, the High School Choir sang, prayers were uttered, and the Boys’ Drum Corps played the Star Spangled Banner.”   The inscription on the other side, facing Green Street, lists the members of the Parkersburg Board of Education, as well as the architect, E. T. Sanderson, and the contractor, C. W. Prewett.  A $34,000 grant was obtained from Andrew Carnegie to build this Classical Revival style building.  It has several reading rooms with ornate fireplaces, tile floor in the entryway, hand-carved wooden staircases in the front of the building, and a wrought-iron spiral staircase with a brass handrail in the rear of the building.  The rear of the building also has glass floors and a stained-glass window.  This building was used as the Parkersburg library until January of 1976.  In December of 1985, it was re-opened, still full of books, but then as Trans Allegheny Books, now the largest used book store in West Virginia.  The bookstore proudly displays a portrait of Andrew Carnegie, which was received by the library in honor of their 50th anniversary, then was lost and later recovered at a yard sale!

 

 

 

 

Another stately building surviving from the same the same time is illustrated on the 1924 postcard picture above.  The 220-room lodge on the southeast corner of 7th & Market Streets was built in 1901 and survived until 1977 when the wrecking ball brought this beautiful edifice down.

 

 

 

 

Another resting place in Parkersburg that fell to the wrecking ball stands above.  This old building with a gym, swimming pool, ballroom, playrooms, bowling alley, library, and reading room, was built on the north side of 8th between Market and Juliana Streets in 1905, but was razed in the 1960's.

 

 

 

 

Above we see another Market Street landmark that drew in a more permanent clientele at the dawn of the twentieth century.
 
 
 
 
However, the Elks Club, built in 1903, provided more entertainment.
 

 

 

 

 

But none exceeded that found at Terrapin Park, brandishing the Parkersburg landscape in the same bygone era.  However, after a girl from a prominent Parkersburg family was found drowned in the pool in 1916, Terrapin Park’s attraction began to decline; and the fatal blow came in 1917 when a mysterious fire completely destroyed its casino.

 

In “the End of an Era, TERRAPIN PARK,” a story by Ann Bailey and Kellie Grimm, in a 1976 issue of Parkersburg High School’s Mountain Trace, they describe the attraction  and its demise as follows:

 

A source of entertainment in early Parkersburg, W. Va. for almost two decades was Terrapin Park.  It was considered the best amusement park in the state.  In its day, the park toasted not only the much talked-about Casino but a large artificial lake, a picnic area, a playground, and several carnival rides.

 

 

 

 

Although the actual construction date is still controversy, most people agree that it was right before 1900.  The park was destroyed by fire around the end of the first World War (1917).  With its burning went many happy memories.  Some of these memories have been recaptured with the help of Mr. Willard Jackson and Mrs. Helen White.

 

Today, when Terrapin Park is mentioned, most of us think of an old, overgrown, wooded area that provides a shortcut home from school.  But as we learned, it is more than that.  It is a part of our City’s history that should not be forgotten.

 

The park proved profitable not only to its owners but to area businesses as well.  Among these were the streetcar lines.  There were two main lines, the outer loop and inner loop (“Pottery Junction”), now the Murdoch Avenue and Emerson Avenue Junction.  Both took their passengers directly to the gate at Terrapin for a nickel.  The park was located between Dudley Avenue and the Bull Creek Road (now Emerson Avenue).

 

 

 

 

Each person paid admission upon entering the park.  An additional fee was charged for the rides and shows.  Mr. Jackson describes the entrance to the park in this way, “One would enter the park at its southeast corner through an attractive, large wooden gate.  As one enters, there is a merry-go-round that is enclosed for all-weather use on the left and a large roller-coaster on the right.  Wooden booths lined the midway back to the Casino with all kinds of carnival gimmicks.  Towards the lake between the roller-coaster and the Casino was a large one story frame pavilion that contained an indoor roller skating rink.”

 

Located in the southern, central portion of the park was the famed Casino.  The massive three-story building was built by Charles Shattuck shortly before 1900.  Beautiful verandas surrounded the structure with two towers in its southeast and southwest corners.   Some of the Casinos attractions included a dance hall, theatre, pool room, and an auditorium.

 

The auditorium featured such guests as Maude Adams and W. C. Fields.  It seated 1500 persons but could be enlarged to accommodate as many as 2000 people.  This was accomplished by rolling up the large doors, which served as walls, thus making use of the verandas.  Park benches were brought inside to provide extra seating.

 

The stage was known to have the finest and most expensive array of scenery in the city.  Downtown movie houses often borrowed some of the equipment from the auditorium.

 

Another major feature of the park was the “Dazy Dazier Dip Roller Coaster.”  Unlike the roller coasters of today, this one was made of wood.  Built by Henry L. Brenig, the roller coaster was one of the more popular and exciting rides.  It cost only a dime for adults to ride, and a nickel for children.  Mr. Brenig was also responsible for the construction of the merry-go-round, skating rink, and dance hall.

 

At the northern end of the park was the lake.  In the summer, skiffs could be rented for boating and in the winter months it was used for ice skating.   After the fire, the lake was drained because it was considered dangerous.  Now all that is left is a small stream.

 

 

 

 

The swimming pool at the Parkersburg Country Club, built in 1902 at 4910 First Avenue in Vienna, just north of Parkersburg, took up the slack for the loss of watery recreation at Terrapin Park.

 

 
 

 

 

Parkersburg's trolley tracks, illustrated in front of the Court House on Market Street above, ran past this recreation area on their way to Williamstown.

 

 

 

 

 

They also carried passengers to Parkersburg's old Camden Theater, probably named after Senator Camden, one of the West Virginia entrepreneurs who was behind the development of the notorious Monongah coal mines, two of which caused the worst industrial accident in United States history when they blew up in 1907.  The opera house, built in the 1890s, provided nightly entertainment for the vulgar Parkersburg masses after beginning to show films around 1910, but the attraction burned down in 1929.

 

 

 

 

Above we see a busy daylight scene in Parkersburg in that early twentieth-century era, when its industrious citizenry was generating the revenue to build better schools.  A good example is the Parkersburg High School, built in 1922, and freshly broadcast on the 1924 postcard picture below.

 

 

 

 

 

Another Parkersburg accomplishment in public education worth advertising on a postcard was the William McKinley school, built in 1904 and still proudly standing in 2009.

 

 

 

 

That's when Parkersburg built beautiful buildings, like this school,  Parkersburg High, the City Building, Wood County Courthouse, U. S. Post office, and the beautiful homes, some still standing along Market Street, instead of the mundane square boxes strung out throughout the city today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When busy Parkersburg eyes tired of the beautiful buildings downtown, they moved to the spacious City Park, of which this beautiful fountain, still standing, marks the entrance in this old view on the postcard picture below

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the warm months of Parkersburg's northern climate, large lily blossoms swept in to add to the natural beauty of this large pond spread out inside this handy getaway.

 

 

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this brief pictorial history from an old Ohio resident's 1924 souvenir folder of Parkersburg WV postcards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POSTSCRIPT /February 20, 2009:  While touching up this Web page today, I had the misfortune of not noticing that something important had fallen to the floor.  I later discovered—not to my surprise but recurring disgust instead—that my Editor had torn up something.  After finally piecing the bite-sized fragments together, I realized the canine connoisseur had scrapped my beautiful souvenir packet of Parkersburg, West Virginia postcards purchased on Ebay.

 

 

 

 

POSTSCRIPT /February 20, 2009:  While touching up this Web page today, I had the misfortune of not noticing that something important had fallen to the floor.  I later discovered—not to my surprise but recurring disgust instead—that my Editor had torn up something.  After finally piecing the bite-sized fragments together, I realized the canine connoisseur had scrapped my beautiful souvenir packet of Parkersburg, West Virginia postcards purchased on Ebay.

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

This page was last modified on Wednesday, January 20, 2016