Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park

Quick Facts

Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park

West Virginia

(304) 420-4800

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Blennerhassett Island State Park is open May 1 through October of each year. While visiting the park, you should allow at least three hours for a complete tour. This includes the boat trip to and from the island. Blennerhassett Museum should be the first stop of your tour. The museum visit begins with viewing the video that briefly explains the lives of Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett. You will then be free to tour the three floors of intriguing archaeological and historical exhibits. After the museum, you can then walk a couple of blocks down Second Street to Point Park. This is the departure site for the 20-minute sternwheeler ride to the Island. While on the island, visitors can enjoy picnicking, horse-drawn wagon rides, shopping at the Friends of Blennerhassett Gift Shop, the refreshment stand, bike rentals, nature walks, and, of course, touring the beautiful Blennerhassett Mansion.

Map of Blennerhassett Island (WV)

Latitude, Longitude: 39.272663, -81.635284

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Activities

  • Boating

    Contact the park regarding boating information.

  • Bicycling

    Bicycle rental is available on the island.

  • Camping

    Primitive camping is available for organized youth groups.

  • Hiking

    Visit the website for more information.

  • Historic Sites

    Harman Blennerhassett, a wealthy Irish aristocrat, settled on the wilderness island in 1798, where he built a magnificent mansion. Designed in the Palladian style (like Mount Vernon), the house contained 7,000 square feet of floor space. Its rooms were furnished with furniture purchased in London and Baltimore, oriental carpets, oil paintings, and porcelain made in Paris. The hardware on some of the interior doors was made of silver. Alabaster lamps were suspended from the ceilings by silver chains. A 2-1/3 acre flower garden and two huge lawns surrounded the house. It was one of the most elegant estates in Virginia and was the most beautiful home west of the Alleghenies. In 1806, however, Harman became entangled in a mysterious military enterprise with Aaron Burr. As a result, President Thomas Jefferson accused both men of plotting treason in attempting to establish an empire in the Southwest. Blennerhassett fled the island, but was captured and put into the Virginia State Penitentiary. Although Burr was tried and acquitted and Blennerhassett released from prison, the lives of both men were ruined. Interestingly, most historians now agree that Burr had set his sights on northern Mexico for his dominion, today's state of Texas. The exquisite mansion accidentally burned to the ground in 1811, eventually leaving no trace of its graceful, semicircular lines. However, modern archaeologists rediscovered its foundations in 1973. Through a continuing program of careful historical and architectural research, the mansion has been recreated for visitors to see. Work on furnishing its interior is still in progress. The Putnam Houser House This house was built in Belpre, OH in 1802. It was moved to Blennerhassett Island December, 1986. Thanks to the generous help of the Blennerhassett Historical Foundation and the donations of many local benefactors the house is being restored.

    The island before Blennerhassett Blennerhassett Island's antiquity spans back to Ice Age hunters 9,000 years ago. Native American tribes lived on the island almost continuously, until white settlers began to flock into the Ohio Valley in the 1780s. Many artifacts and tools dating to these ancient residents of Blennerhassett Island are on display at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History in downtown Parkersburg, at 2nd and Juliana streets. Blennerhassett Island is a noteworthy historic location for a variety of other reasons. During the 1760s, the famous Delaware Indian, Nemacolin, made the island his home. In addition, it was visited by many renowned figures including George Rogers Clark, King Charles X of France, Johnny Appleseed, Henry Clay and Walt Whitman.

  • Horseback Riding

    Please call the park regarding information.

  • Picnicking

    Enjoy picnicing in the lovely park.

  • Water Sports

    Contact the park for more information.

Seasonality/Weather

Blennerhassett Mansion is on the island with operating hours on dates from May through October. Blennerhassett Museum is located in downtown Parkersburg, WV, and is open year-round.

Park Partners

Blennerhassett Historical Foundation

(304) 489-9014

Directions

Driving

Blennerhassett Island is located in the Ohio River two miles west of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Access to Parkersburg is offered by US Rt. 50 east/west and I-77 north/south. Point Park, departure site for sternwheeler rides to the island, and Blennerhassett Museum are just off WV Rt. 68 in downtown Parkersburg. The museum is on the corner of 2nd and Juliana Streets.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(304) 420-4800

Links