Parkersburg, located at the
confluence of the Ohio and Little
Kanawha Rivers, is the third largest city in the State of West Virginia. It is the county
seat of Wood County and the largest city in the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna Metropolitan
Bureau of the Public Debt,
an agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, is headquartered in Parkersburg.
Parkersburg was originally named Newport
was laid out in the late 1700s. A section of the land in the town
was laid out over land granted to Alexander Parker for his Revolutionary War
title conflicts between Parker and the city planners of Newport
were settled in 1809 in favor of Alexander Parker's heirs. The town
was renamed Parkersburg
in 1810. It was chartered by
the Virginia General
Assembly in 1820.
It was rechartered as a city in
The town was the terminus of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike
and the Northwestern Turnpike
In 1857 the Baltimore and
built a branch line to the town. The town was
important as a transportation and medical center during the
American Civil War
. It then
became a transportation hub in the gas and oil boom following that
Island is a historical site located in
Parkersburg is located at 39¬į15'58" North, 81¬į32'32" West
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of
12.2 square miles (31.6 km2
), of which,
11.8 square miles (30.6 km2
) of it is land and
0.4 square miles (1.0 km2
) of it is water. The
total area is 3.19% water.
The city is situated at the confluence of the Ohio River
and the Little Kanawha River
. The Little
Kanawha River divides the north and south sides of the city.
Parkersburg's climate is warm during summer when temperatures tend
to be in the 80's and very cold during winter when temperatures
tend to be in the 30's.
The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum
temperature of , while the coldest month of the year is January
with an average minimum temperature of .
Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate
during summer with a difference that can reach , and fairly limited
during winter with an average difference of .
The annual average precipitation at Parkersburg is . Rainfall in is
fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of
the year is July with an average rainfall of .
As of the census
of 2000, there were 33,099
people, 14,467 households, and 8,767 families residing in the city.
The population density
2,800.5 people per square mile (1,081.2/km2
). There were
16,100 housing units at an average density of 1,362.2/sq mi
). The racial makeup of the city was 96.36%
, 1.75% African American
, 0.05% Pacific Islander
, 0.21% from
, and 1.00% from two
or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 0.81%
of the population.
An aerial view of downtown Parkersburg
There were 14,467 households out of which 25.0% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples
living together, 13.5% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families.
34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% have
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age
of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to
64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,120, and the
median income for a family was $29,731. Males had a median income
of $28,320 versus $18,203 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$15,820. About 23.3% of families and 21.2% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 35.2%
of those under the age of 18 and 12.5% of those 65 and older.
Parkersburg is served by Mid-Ohio Valley
Regional Airport, with 3 flights a day Monday through Friday from
Washington Dulles International
Beechwood, Downtown, Fairview Heights, Granada Hills, Julia-Ann Square
Meadowcrest, Oakwood Estates, Quincy Hill, Riverside, Woodland
Park, North End, Worthington, East End
South Parkersburg (Southside)
Larkmead, Marrtown, Pettyville, Tavennerville, Washington
The Parkersburg News
were the city's two major daily newspapers until 2009 when they
combined to form one daily edition, The Parkersburg News and
. The same company also publishes the Marietta A.M.
Virginia's alternative news magazine.
There are many radio stations broadcasting from Parkersburg,
including 106.1 Z106 (WRZZ),102.1 The River (WRVB), U.S. 107 WNUS,
MIX 100 (WDMX), V96.9 (WVVV), WXIL, Froggy 99.1, and 103.1 The
WTAP, the local
NBC affiliate, is the main local television
Parkersburg is the home of the Parkersburg High School
the Parkersburg South High
Patriots, and the Parkersburg Catholic High School
Middle schools include Van Devender, Edison, and Hamilton.
Jackson Middle School is located in Vienna and although having a
Parkersburg mailing address, Blennerhassett Junior High
, now also adopting the "middle school" designation, is
actually located in nearby Blennerhassett Heights.
- Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History
- Henry Cooper Log Cabin Museum
- Oil and Gas Museum
- Sumnerite African-American History Museum
- Veterans Museum of Mid-Ohio Valley
Parkersburg was home to the Ohio
, a minor league baseball team, until 1998. The
city is in negotiations to bring professional baseball back to
In 2008, the city and its three high schools placed second in
competition. In an essay on ESPN.com, it was pointed out
that through the 2007-2008 school year, the city has 192 high
school state championships between Parkersburg, Parkersburg South
and Parkersburg Catholic. 183 of those championships have come
Film and television
Steven Soderbergh film
Bubble, released in 2006, was
filmed in Parkersburg and neighboring Belpre, Ohio, using an all-local cast.
- Other films shot in the city are Salvage and The Barbecue.
- Parkersburg was the set for the 1962 television series
It's a Man's
- The city was featured in a 1989 episode of Rescue 911.
- Parkersburg was mentioned in the novel and the classic film
Night of the Hunter. In
Davis Grubb's 1953 novel Parkersburg was
the town where the murderous preacher Harry
Powell was caught for car theft and sent to prison; it was the
worldly town that Rachel Cooper (Lillian
Gish in the film) avoided because she'd been short-changed
there; and finally it was the home of the state troopers who came
to arrest Powell for murder. In the book and in the 1955 film
version Powell (Robert Mitchum)
called Parkersburg "One of them Sodoms on the Ohio River," a
reference to its reputation as a rough and tumble river town in the
nineteenth and early twentieth century. Night of the
Hunter, which took place in the early 1930s, is generally
considered the greatest West Virginia novel.
Notable natives and residents
The Parkersburg Municipal
- Allen Appel is a novelist best known
for his series about time traveler Alex Balfour.
- Eddie Bailes was a locally popular country singer whose "Love
Isn't Love" was a small 1976 chart hit.
- William M. Batten was a CEO of J.C. Penny and was chairman of
the New York Stock Exchange from 1976 to 1981.
Blennerhassett, an ally of Aaron Burr
and owner of Blennerhasset Island, was arrested for treason by President Thomas Jefferson.
- Arthur I. Boreman was the first governor of West
- Ed Catmull, President, Walt Disney
Animation Studios & Pixar Animation Studios
- Jim Dawson has written a dozen books
on American culture, particularly early rock 'n' roll, rhythm and
blues, and dirty slang. He also wrote the best-selling 1999 book
Who Cut the Cheese?.
- Diana DeRose was the lead vocalist of The Rose Garden, whose 1967 recording "Next
Plane to London" was a national Top 10 hit.
- Paul Dooley is a longtime Hollywood
character actor with major roles in Breaking Away and Popeye, among others.
- James Dukas was a New York-based stage actor who played
character roles between 1959 and 2000 in such films as The Amityville Horror,
Brubaker and Ironweed.
- Paul Goldsmith is a 1999 inductee
in the Motorcycle Hall of
- Linda Goodman wrote several
best-selling books on astrology, including Sun Signs.
- Tommy Hanlon Jr was a well-known
TV announcer in Australia; he emigrated there in the 1960s.
- Dick "Doc" Hoblitzell (1888-1962) was an outfielder for the
Cincinnati Redlegs (1908-1914)
and Boston Red Sox (1915-1916). He
played in the 1916 World Series.
- Cyrus Cotton "Cy" Hungerford was a
political cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly
half a century, until he retired in the 1970s; he got his start at
the Parkersburg Sentinel.
- Jacob B. Jackson was the governor of West Virginia
from 1881 to 1885.
- Mabel Mackey was a colorful mid-twentieth-century madam, known
for her red hair and buckskin jackets, who was infamous up and down
the Ohio Valley until her death in the early 1960s. Her ghost is
said to haunt the Wood County Courthouse.
- Alfred "Greasy" Neale (1891-1973) was an early
twentieth-century football star inducted into the National Football
Hall of Fame in 1969. He was also an outfielder for the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1919 when the team
played the Chicago White Sox in
the infamous "Black Sox" World Series.
- Gary Null is a nationally-syndicated
nutritionist who has written more than a dozen books and appeared
regularly on PBS.
- Devon Odessa is an American actress
and film producer.
- Morgan Spurlock is a documentary
filmmaker who directed and starred in the 2004 Academy Award-nominated hit Super Size Me.
- Patsy Ramsey was a Miss West Virginia and the mother of
murder victim JonBen√©t
- Scenes from a Movie band
- Freddie Scott was an R&B
vocalist who recorded the 1963 Top 10 hit "Hey
- Susan Sheppard has written several books about the occult and
witchcraft and regularly leads "haunted tours" of Parkersburg's old
- William E. Stevenson was governor of West Virginia
from 1869 to 1871.
- Nick Swisher is an outfielder and
first-baseman for the New York
Yankees who played in the 2009 World Series against the
Philadelphia Phillies. He
played formerly for the Oakland A's and
the Chicago Cubs.
- Steve Swisher, father of Nick
Swisher, is a former major league baseball catcher who played for
the Chicago Cubs.
- Peter G. Van Winkle, one of West Virginia's first
U.S. senators, cast the deciding vote that prevented the
impeachment of President Andrew
Johnson; John F. Kennedy wrote a
chapter about Van Winkle in his book Profiles in Courage.
- Richard Watts, Jr. was a film
critic for the New York Herald
- H. T.
Webster was the early
twentieth-century cartoonist who created Caspar Milquetoast
- Albert B. White was governor of West Virginia from
1901 to 1905.
- Gill Robb Wilson was a local
aviator for whom Parkersburg's airfield is named.
Wilson was a local television pioneer and a long-time news reporter
- Zao is a band
formed in Parkersburg, now based out of Greensburg,
- Deron Williams starting point
guard for the Utah Jazz of the NBA
- Steve Henry bassist for the notable band Happy Riding
References in popular culture
- Parkersburg Weather | Parkersburg WV