West Virginia Nature February 22, 2018
The West Virginia Island Steeped In History You Have To Explore At Least Once
There are very few islands in West Virginia, but there is at least one that has left its mark on history. Those marks still remain, and fuel the reenactment tours that keep the island’s history alive.
Blennerhasset Island Historical State Park is a big tourist attraction in West Virginia. Every week, people board the boat that takes them to this historic island where reenactors take them back to the 18th century. The island is a long strip of land in the middle of the Ohio river near Parkersburg.
This island was originally occupied by Native Americans of the Delaware tribe, led by Chief Nemacolin. It was known to Europeans as Backus Island after 1792, when Elijah Backus purchased the land.
Just a few years later, in 1798, Harman Blennerhasset purchased the east end of the Island and built his home there. For many years, it was considered the most beautiful home in the west.
However, the house, and the Blennerhasset name, became tainted by accusations of treason in 1805. That year, Blennerhasset and his wife, Margaret, opened their home to Aaron Burr's military expedition.
Burr, former vice president of the U.S., led this expeditionary group comprised of politicians, army officers and planters. The Blennerhasset home served as Burr's headquarters to a scheme that apparently involved a treasonous plot to separate from the United States and form an independent nation in the southwestern portion of the country. Apparently, about 40,000 acres of said area was leased to him by the Spanish crown.
Harman and his wife fled the island when Burr's scheme collapsed and the treason was discovered.
Today, the mansion and the island still stand, and visitors from all around can sail out to the island and witnesses a historical representation of the time period in which the Blennerhassets lived.
The island has also become a popular spot for paranormal investigators, as the island has been considered haunted for many years.
To learn more about Blennerhasset Island Historical State Park, including tour times, camping and other activities, check out the Blennerhasset Island page on the West Virginia State Parks website
Have you ever been to Blennerhasset Island? Feel free to comment below and tell us about your visit.
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