Preston’s heritage is as deep as West Virginia’s Appalachian roots. Museums and war reenactments will take you back in time as you tour various battle sites in Preston County!
Arthurdale, the spot of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s only high school commencement address during his presidency, was one of the first planned communities of the New Deal. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt fostered the community in the 1930s, and is often referenced as, “Eleanor’s Little Villiage.”
Local events, such as the Cheat River festival and the Preston County Buckwheat Festival, give you the chance to learn of Preston’s Appalachian history by interacting with locals and visitors from all around the state.
History buffs must visit Historic Rowlesburg, a major railroad link during the Civil War. The Rowlesburg Railroad and World War II Museums are open to the public to educate visitors on critical war battles that occurred in Preston, like the Battle of the Rowlesburg in 1863.
The History House Museum in Terra Alta is a memento of Preston County’s historic past. From June through September, visitors can view photos and artifacts from as early as the 1800s.
Revisit the 1930s in Arthurdale, West Virginia. Arthurdale, the nation’s first New Deal Homestead Community. The town was created through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. Arthurdale gave residents of West Virginia an opportunity at an improved life after the Great Depression. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt adopted the community as her own, which became known as “Eleanor’s Little Village.” Today, Arthurdale, National Historic District, still features 160 of the 165 original homesteads. The New Deal Homestead Museum is a multi-building museum comprised of a forge filled with original tools, a service station reminiscent of a bygone era, the historic Center Hall, the original federal government administration building, and a fully restored Arthurdale homestead. Purchase the perfect souvenir at the Craft Shop, which contains several Appalachian crafts. Make plans to visit the second weekend in July for the New Deal Festival! PO Box 850, Arthurdale, WV 26520.
304-864-3959 | Website
Preston has preserved the home of one of its most famous citizens, James C. McGrew. Listed on National Register of Historic Places, this home is a reminder of 1800s architecture. There are annual and regularly scheduled events and is available for parties, reunions, showers and receptions. 109 E Main St., Kingwood, WV 304-329-0221
Battle of Rowlesburg on Cannon Hill
It is located at the end of the county bridge. Cannon Hill was fortified during the Civil War and was critical in protecting the main line of the B & O Railroad. Guided tours can be arranged by appointment. Rowlesburg, WV 26764.
304-454-9714 | Website
Henry Clay Iron Furnace
The Henry Clay Iron Furnace was built in 1834-1836 and is an artifact of West Virginia’s 19th century iron industry. Open during park hours, 168 Exit 15 , Coopers Rock State Forest, WV (304) 594-1561
Cool Springs Park
Cool Springs Park has contains picnic tables, fish bonds, an antique farm, railroad equipment, unusual animals, and a large water wheel. It is open year-round as a general store, gift shop, and restaurant. Open 6:30am-11pm, daily. Rt. 50, Rowlesburg, WV. (304) 454-9511
History House Museum
Located in the former Terra Alta Bank, the History House Museum is home to the Preston County Historical Society. It is a 3-story museum that contains a diverse collection of photographs, memorabilia, and antiques relating to the entire county of Preston. Open Sunday afternoons June through September or by special appointment. 300 East Washington Ave., Terra Alta, WV 26764. 304-379-6612 or 304-454-9601
The Greatest Generation World War II Museum
A museum that is worth a visit. There are several exhibits that will surprise you with their authenticity. The Greatest Generation Woorld War II Museum contains accurate demonstrations, scenes, and artifacts. Located in the Szilagyi Center (old high school). Open May through October on Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 1pm-5pm or by appointment. Groups and tour buses welcome. Please call or visit the website for hours and admission rates. Rt. 72, Rowlesburg, WV 26425. 304-329-1240 or 304-454-9634 |Website
Preston County Historical Society
Go back in time and Visit Preston County’s past. There are 3 floors of relics, antiques, and artifacts. Open June-September except holiday weekends 1:30pm-4:30pm. 109 E. Washington St., Terra Alta, WV 26764. 304-789-6888
Rowlesburg Area Historical Society Museum and Genealogical Library
View memorabilia and do research, by appointment. The library can be accessed by a ramp at the back of the building. It is not handicap accessible. Rowlesburg, WV For more information or appointments call 304-454-9303, 304-454-9695, 304-454-9226 or 304-292-9218.
Rowlesburg Tourism Commission, Town of Rowlesburg
The 1927 Centenary Bridges are on loan to the Tourism Commission and Town of Rowlesburg from the B&O Railroad Museum.. This is the first time this collection has all been in one place since 1927. It has never been outside of the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, MD. The bridges in this exhibit pioneered future engineering techniques. It will be on display in the Rowlesburg High School’s Szalagyi Center for only 5 years. In this exhibit, a model of the Cheat River Bridge is on display, which was taken out by flood in 1985. Additionally, the bridge, attacked by General W.E. Jones and his Confederate Raiders in 1863, has been replicated for viewing The models range in size from 4 to 17 feet. The bridge exhibit is open weekends from May to October and during all festival occasions. 42 Poplar St., Rowlesburg, WV 26425.
304-454-2441/978-270-3847 | Website