Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blennerhassett Museum-History and Haunts

The Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History is located on the corner of Second and Juliana Streets in downtown Parkersburg, WV.  The four story brick building was built in 1902 by the Starr Grocer Company as warehouse and office space.  Starr Grocer expanded the building to double its size in the 1920s, but unfortunately, went out of business in the 1940s.  In 1947, the building was purchased by Guthrie-Morries Campbell Company, who sold it to the Blennerhassett Historical Park Commission.

The museum opened to the public on April 30th, 1986, and features three floors of Native American artifacts, antique furniture and jewelry, artifacts dealing with the Blennerhassett Family and Blennerhassett Island, and a treasure trove of other historical goodies pertaining to the history of the Parkersburg area.  When visiting the museum in late spring of this year, I was amazed at just how much stuff was crammed into this museum!  I could have spent all day browsing, but we had to catch the boat to the island.  We did, however, get to enjoy the Thomas Stahle Native American collection, and my personal favorites: the third floor displays of the mourning jewelry and 19th/early 20th Century wedding gowns.

Unfortunately, what we DIDN'T get to see were the two ghosts alleged to roam the third floor of the building!  According to A Guide to Haunted West Virginia (Gavenda and Shoemaker), a man in a straw hat, along with a larger lady with a fondness for the color scarlet, are both seen on this floor.  Are they former residents or employees of the building itself...or are they somehow attached to one of the many artifacts located in the building?

Building History/Museum Info

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