Blennerhassett Island

2021, Road Trip, States, West Virginia

Often our adventures are serendipitous, prompted by a road sign or something we have found in an app such as Yelp!, Clio, or Apple Maps, but this time it was planned before we left the house back in April. Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park is located on an island in the Ohio River near both Marietta, Ohio and Parkersburg, West Virginia. We were treated to the romance of a river passage to the island aboard the sternwheeler Island Belle and a horse drawn wagon tour of the plantation. Narration on both the boat and wagon rides placed the Blennerhassett family story in the context of American History and the cultural history of the island. Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett emigrated from Ireland to the newly opened Northwest Territory for both politcal and family reasons and chose to use inheritance money to purchase land on the island in part because it was part of the state of Virginia at the time. There they built a grand mansion completed in 1800 and used it as a base of operations for various business ventures, scientific pursuits, and entertaining on a grand scale. Many personages of historical note visited here but the most notorious was former Vice President Aaron Burr who enticed Blennerhassett to invest much of his fortune in 1805 into financing Burr’s scheme to create a new nation independent of the United States. Ultimately participation in the Burr Conspiracy was the undoing of Blennerhassett’s dreams and the house burned to the ground in 1811. This replica, built in 1992 is staffed with interpreters in period costume and gives visitors a peek into the lifestyle of the wealthy on the American frontier at the turn of the Nineteenth Century.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Collins

    Hey Steve and Karen! Thks for the updates. Hope you’re having fun!

    Reply

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