“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Bartow in Pocahontas County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike

Crossing the Mountains

Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Marker image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft
1. Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Marker
Inscription. Early in the 1800s, growing western settlement spured a push to improve transportation routes over the Appalachian Mountains. In 1822, Virginia authorized a survey of the route that became the Staunton to Parkersburg Turnpike. Connecting the upper Shenandoah Valley with the Ohio River, the turnpike was funded primarily by state funds, with contributions from communities along the right-of-way. The general route followed earlier Native American and game trails, which by 1790 had often been improved into rough roads. Turnpike construction began in 1838 from both ends of the Pike and the middle section was completed in 1845.

The Turnpike was to be built on a variation of the macadam plan, a paving system calling for an elevated road surface with several layers of small stones combined to make a watertight surface. Construction was contracted out in sections. In reality, only some sections of the Turnpike were ever completed to specifications. Once opened, occasional appropriations and the tolls collected proved inadequate to finish bridges and to maintain the roadway.

Even so, the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike provided access for settlement and trade into the western sections of Virginia. It was a valued prize fought over during the Civil War. Following the War, most of the turnpike ran within the new state of West Virginia.
Turnpike Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
2. Turnpike Map
The road was repaired slowly, and tolls continued to be collected in some sections up to the 1890s.Virginia chief engineer, Claudius Crozet described the route as a "sea of mountains and valleys with little level land" and rivers "flowing in every direction of the compass."

Most of the route of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike can be followed today on modern roadways. Within West Virginia, the route from here to Parkersburg has been designated as the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Byway. Some sections of the original route that have been bypassed by the modern highway are designated as Backway routes.
Erected by Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Byway (funded in part by Federal Highway Admnistration).
Location. Marker has been confirmed missing. It was likely located near 38° 28.529′ N, 79° 41.948′ W. Marker was near Bartow, West Virginia, in Pocahontas County. Marker was at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Forest Service Road, on the right when traveling south on U.S. 250. Click for map. Marker was in this post office area: Bartow WV 24920, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. The Great Raid (here, next to this marker); War In West Virginia (a few steps from this
Markers at the Intersection image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
3. Markers at the Intersection
Several interpretive markers stand at the intersection, which also stands at the state line.
marker); Camp Allegheny (a few steps from this marker); West Virginia / Virginia (a few steps from this marker); Highland County / West Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker in Virginia); a different marker also named Camp Allegheny (approx. 0.7 miles away in Virginia); a different marker also named Camp Allegheny (approx. 1.3 miles away); Camp Bartow (approx. 5.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bartow.
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker is a map of the turnpike indicating landmarks in West Virginia.
Also see . . .  The Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance. The alliance website offers details of the historic turnpike. (Submitted on July 11, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesWar, US Civil
Old Road Bed image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
4. Old Road Bed
County Route 3, which passes over the crest of the mountain south of the modern highway, is the old road bed of the turnpike. This portion of the road is near the site of Camp Allegheny, a Confederate fortification from the Civil War.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 981 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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