PARKERSBURG – Residents and state and city representatives gathered Saturday on Washington Avenue in Parkersburg to commemorate one of the city’s oldest streets as a historical district.
Four pillars marking the Parkersburg High School-Washington Avenue Historical District were dedicated Saturday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
John Swales, president of the Washington Avenue Historical Community Association, said the neighborhood has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1992 and has been a city historical district since 2008.
“One of our dreams was to build pillars at the head and foot of the street,” Swales said.
The 6-foot-tall brick pillars bear metal plates announcing the historic district and are topped with decorative Indiana Limestone finishes, making the pillars more than 8 feet tall at the tip.
“This isn’t just about history. This is about Parkersburg as a community,” Swales said, noting Washington Avenue is one of the most well-used streets in Parkersburg for community events. “It’s a real public resource.”
Debra Conner, a Washington Avenue resident for 35 years and member of the association’s board of directors, called the area “the undiscovered section of historical Parkersburg.”
Washington Avenue homes were built by the industrial leaders of the time, including Bernard McDonough. Many of these leaders worked in the oil and gas industry.
The mixture of architectural styles found in some Washington Avenue homes is referred to as Jacobethan, a combination of the English styles of Elizabethan and Jacobean. The early 20th century architecture blends with a more modern home style on Washington Avenue, bringing a richness to the district.
“We are the connection between two historic anchors: Parkersburg High School and City Park,” Conner said. “We’re proud of the fact that these homes have a distinct style and it is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Parkersburg.”
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony a reception was held at First Christian Church at 1400 Washington Ave. The event featured a benediction by the Rev. Janice Hill and songs by the Parkersburg High School A Capella Choir.