Preston County History Days
October 15 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Celebrate the last Preston County History Day of the year on October 15 along with the extensive preservation efforts carried out by many volunteers over the years. None of them would be here without the volunteers who made it all work.
Visit Arthurdale Heritage, open 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; the Aurora Area Historical Society Museum, 1-4 p.m.; the McGrew House in Kingwood, 1-3 p.m.; the Szilagyi Center museums in Rowlesburg from 1-4 p.m.; the History House Museum in Terra Alta, 1-4 p.m.; and the Tunnelton Train Depot from 1-3 p.m.
Yes, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is a part of the story at Arthurdale, the nation’s first New Deal subsistence homestead community constructed by the federal government to help families during the Great Depression. Her 33 trips made there gave her the opportunity to evaluate the project’s progress.
Stop in at Aurora’s museum along Rt. 50 to learn about its mountaintop resort days from the 1880s when hotels, casinos and pool halls brought affluent big city residents to the county for the summer, along with displays of a well-stocked vintage general store with products we don’t see anymore. Enjoy all the quilt squares on the building’s outside too.
The multi-story brick home of one of the founding fathers of West Virginia, James McGrew, will show you the lifestyles of the day. His business endeavors also helped Kingwood and the county grow. Additional displays show other aspects of Kingwood at earlier times.
At the Szilagyi Center, housed in the old school in Rowlesburg, you can learn about the challenges our servicemen faced in World War II, also about our county’s high school sports heroes over the years, and aspects of construction of railroad bridges. Also, check out the Cannon Hill sign in the nearby riverfront park explaining the April 1863 skirmish when the Confederate army showed up to destroy the railroad bridge.
The History House has archives of family and other county historical records, along with rooms of exhibits about earlier ways of life, to explore. Check out the preserved animal collection but not right after eating.
The 110-year-old Tunnelton Train Depot museum illustrates railroad life and commerce that were a part of daily living during much of the 20th Century. A new model train display, great for kids, has been set up in the depot built by the B&O Railroad for handling the U.S. mail, passengers, coal shipments, and freight. There are two historic tunnels nearby.
Also, there are three outdoor Civil War Trail sites near Aurora and Rowlesburg explaining the failed Confederate raid meant to blow up the railroad bridge and its effect on those areas of the county. Check out the Virginia Iron Furnace located along Rt. 26 near Albright to appreciate how iron was smelted at this 1854 water-powered blast furnace.