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City of Parkersburg
—  City  —
Downtown Parkersburg as viewed from Fort Boreman Historical Park in 2006

Nickname(s): The Burg, P-Burg, The Savings Bond Capital of America
Motto: Where West Virginia Began
Location in Wood County in the State of West Virginia
Coordinates: 39°15′58″N 81°32′32″W / 39.26611°N 81.54222°W / 39.26611; -81.54222Coordinates: 39°15′58″N 81°32′32″W / 39.26611°N 81.54222°W / 39.26611; -81.54222
Country  United States
State  West Virginia
County Wood
Incorporated 1810
 - Mayor Robert Newell
 - Total 12.2 sq mi (31.6 km2)
 - Land 11.8 sq mi (30.6 km2)
 - Water 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)  3.19%
Elevation 614 ft (187 m)
Population (2008)
 - Total 31,611
 - Density 2,800.5/sq mi (1,081.2/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 26101, 26102, 26103, 26104, 26105, 26106
Area code(s) 304
FIPS code 54-62140[1]
GNIS feature ID 1544587[2]

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[3] and the largest city in the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The Bureau of the Public Debt, an agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, is headquartered in Parkersburg.



Parkersburg was originally named Newport when it 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 service. The 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 1860.

The town was the terminus of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike and the Northwestern Turnpike. In 1857 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 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 war.

Blennerhassett Island is a historical site located in Parkersburg.


Parkersburg is located at 39°15'58" North, 81°32'32" West (39.266175, -81.542139).[4]

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 95.80 °F (35.44 °C), while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 22.30 °F (−5.39 °C).

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 21 °F (−6 °C), and fairly limited during winter with an average difference of 18 °F (−8 °C).

The annual average precipitation at Parkersburg is 40.69 inches (1,034 mm). Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is July with an average rainfall of 4.58 inches (116 mm). [5]


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1850 1,218
1860 2,493 104.7%
1870 5,546 122.5%
1880 6,582 18.7%
1890 8,408 27.7%
1900 11,703 39.2%
1910 17,842 52.5%
1920 20,050 12.4%
1930 29,623 47.7%
1940 30,103 1.6%
1950 29,684 −1.4%
1960 44,797 50.9%
1970 44,208 −1.3%
1980 39,967 −9.6%
1990 33,862 −15.3%
2000 33,099 −2.3%
2008 31,611 −4.5%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 33,099 people, 14,467 households, and 8,767 families residing in the city. The population density was 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 (525.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.36% White, 1.75% African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.81% of the population.

An aerial view of downtown Parkersburg in 2005.

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 Airport.


North Parkersburg

The Chancellor House in the Julia-Ann Square Historic District.

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 and Parkersburg Sentinel were the city's two major daily newspapers until 2009 when they combined to form one daily edition, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. The same company also publishes the Marietta A.M. and Graffiti, West 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 Bear.

WTAP, the local NBC affiliate, is the main local television station.[6]


Higher education

High schools

Parkersburg is the home of the Parkersburg High School Big Reds, the Parkersburg South High School Patriots, and the Parkersburg Catholic High School Crusaders.

Middle schools

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 School, 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 Valley Redcoats, a minor league baseball team, until 1998. The city is in negotiations to bring professional baseball back to Parkersburg.[7]

In 2008, the city and its three high schools placed second in ESPN's TitleTown USA competition.[8] In an essay on, 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 after 1950.

Film and television

  • The 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.[9]
  • Parkersburg was the set for the 1962 television series It's a Man's World.[9]
  • 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 Building
The Parkersburg floodwall

References in popular culture

Sister cities

See also


External links

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