Magazine article American Heritage

Guide to Historic Sites in West Virginia

Magazine article American Heritage

Guide to Historic Sites in West Virginia

Article excerpt






Native American Past

Fort Edwards at Capon Bridge

British colonial settlers during the early 18th century often found haven from Indian raids at this fort, built by Joseph Edwards in the Cacapon River Valley. During the French and Indian War, it became a pivotal British post on the western frontier. Today the 23-acre-site features a colonial kitchen, archaeological site display, and visitors center with exhibits on the war's history. (304) 856-2336 or

Grave Creek Archaeological Complex

Around 250 B.C. the Adena people built this 62-foot-high, multiple-level burial mound, which visitors can walk atop. On the two-acre grounds is the Delf Norona Museum, which contains exhibits about the pre-Columbian people that lived in northern West Virginia between 250 B.C. and 150 B.C. (304) 843-4128 or

Organ Cave

For centuries Native Americans harvested flint from the walls and ceilings of this cave to make arrowheads and cutting tools. During the Civil War, 1,100 Confederate soldiers mined the cave for nitre, a key constituent of gunpowder. A 90-minute tour leads through 2.2 miles of the passageways and past the 90-foot calcite formation resembling a pipe organ. (304) 645-7600 or

Prickett's Fort State Park

Reconstructed from the original 1774 fort that protected Virginia settlers from Indian attacks, this 10,000-square-foot stockade contains a meeting house, gun shop, 14 small cabins, and a center common. From April to October, living history interpreters demonstrate blacksmithing, looming, and the use of 18th-century firearms. (304) 363-3030 or

Growing Frontier

Adaland Mansion

Built by Irish immigrant Augustus Modisett in 1868, this two-story Greek-revival house is the oldest structure in Philippi. Guided tours include the restored house and basement, landscaped gardens, and the 1850 barn that hosts regular demonstrations of 19th-century crafts such as spinning, carding, weaving, and candle-making. (304) 457-1587 or

Barbour County Historical Museum

This former railroad station contains Civil War rifles and swords, photographs, and local artifacts, including the mummified remains of two mental patients from 1888. Just up the street lies the 285-foot-long Philippi Covered Bridge, the only remaining two-lane covered bridge to serve a U.S. highway. (304) 457-4846 or

Historic Charles Town

Established in 1786 by George Washington's younger brother, Charles, this town was the setting for the trial and execution of abolitionist John Brown. Visitors to the Jefferson County Courthouse on East Washington Street can see the room where Brown was tried. One block to the northeast, the Jefferson County Museum includes artifacts, such as John Brown's cot on which he awaited the verdict of his trial and the wagon he rode to his execution. Other highlights include restored historic 18th- and 19th-century buildings such as the Webb House on North Street, one of the earliest stone structures built and owned by free African Americans.

Historic Shepherdstown & Museum

This three-floor, 2,000-square-foot museum, housed within the 1786 Entler Hotel, features the hotel's original dining rooms, sitting chambers, and bedrooms. Self-guided tours lead through display areas that examine the early history of the city and include artifacts such as a 1905 mail wagon, Sheetz rifles, and a Conrad Schindler copper kettle. (304) 876-0910 or


Museum of the Berkeley Springs

Located inside the 1815 Roman Bath House, this museum focuses on the history of the area's warm mineral springs and local inventor James Rumsey, who built one of the first operating steamboats. …

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