Parkersburg turns 200 years old

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Happy 200th Birthday Parkersburg!

Wednesday marks the 200th anniversary of the day Parkersburg became incorporated as a city.

“Parkersburg’s had a checkered past,” said Parkersburg Historian Jim Miracle.

Miracle remembers times good and bad for Parkersburg, noting the bustling economy of the 1950s, as many of the area petrochemical plants were built in the area. But, times weren't always good.

“At one time it was called the Baghdad of the Ohio. That’s just how rough it was,” said Miracle.

Even with rough spots in history, Miracle says there's a lot to be proud of in Parkersburg, from the innovation of it's early inhabitants to its rich history.

At one time, the city was in the running to become the capitol of West Virginia.

“They put the capitol stuff on a barge and floated it from Wheeling down to Charleston. So there was one time you could go out on the banks of the Ohio and the Little Kanawha and wave at the capitol as it went by,” said Miracle.

Miracle also noted the impact the Civil War had on Parkersburg.

“In the Civil War we had Union and Confederate troops marching up one side of Market Street and one on the other side of Market Street. So, it’s seen it’s times,” said Miracle.

Miracle says in some ways, the Civil War never ended here.

“North and South. You’ve got PHS and South, they fight that battle every year. Like I say, the Civil War never died here because we have the annual football game,” said Miracle.