Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Second Sunday Drive, Preston County, West Virginia

An historic marker stands on the corner of the Preston County Courthouse lawn reading:
PRICE'S TAVERN-- Preston County was formed in the east upstairs bedroom of Price's Tavern in April, 1818, and named for James Patton Preston, governor of Virginia, 1816-1819.  Tavern built 1810, served as an inn until 1882.
The land for Preston County was taken from the eastern portion of Monogalia County, with its northern border being the Mason-Dixon line (and consequently, the Pennsylvania state line), and its eastern border being the state of Maryland.  The county seat is Kingwood, named for the grove of big trees found nearby.  The 2010 U.S. Census counted 33,520 residents in the county, the highest count ever, up 14.3% from the 2000 Census.

The Preston County Courthouse, Kingwood, West Virginia

The Preston County Jail, Kingwood, West Virginia

In addition to Kingwood (2010 population 2,939), there are ten incorporated towns in the county, including Reedsville, Terra Alta, Newburg and Tunnelton.  There are also numerous named but unincorporated villages including Arthurdale and Aurora.  Arthurdale I found by accident--or rather by driving down the highway and there it was.  A planned community built during the FDRoosevelt Administration, it was a favorite project of Eleanor Roosevelt.  Aurora, on the other hand, was a town I wanted to see.  There is a home in Aurora that was orginally named "Gaymont."  As a gay man from Montana, how could I not want to find that house.  Alas, it has been renamed and I was not able to photograph the place.  Aurora, however, is turning into an artist's colony, according to an article in the Fall 2011 issue of wv living magazine.

Unnamed Church, Arthurdale, West Virginia

Reedsville United Methodist Church
Just one third of Preston County residents are church members, but of that third, over thirty-nine percent belong to one of the fifty-four United Methodist Churches in the county.  When we add in other Wesleyan denominations, including the Church of the Nazarene and the Free Methodist Church, over fifty percent of Preston County church goers are affliated with churches that have grown out of John Wesley's evangelism.

Preston County Farm

Preston County Farm (2), near Aurora, West Virginia

Looking toward Maryland

No comments: