Historic Mansion Trail
Blennerhassett Mansion (Tours May – October)
The Blennerhassett Mansion was home to Irish aristocrats, Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett. The home sat on a plantation with magnificent gardens maintained by around ten slaves, who were unfortunately treated poorly. The construction of the mansion began in 1798 and was completed in 1800. It was here that Aaron Burr wove his mysterious plans for a military expedition to the southwest. The mansion was burned down in 1811. After archeological teams explored the island in the 70s, a reconstruction of the mansion began in 1984 and the mansion was opened to the public in 1987. The Blennerhassett Island National Park currently does not feature a reconstruction of the slave quarters.
Julia-Ann Historic District (Tours offered annually)
The Julia-Ann Square Historic District is the largest and oldest district in West Virginia and was an important center in West Virginia’s early history. Homeowners were comprised of leaders from the community including bankers, businessmen, professionals and political figures who had the financial means to construct the best houses of the time. Comprised of approximately 126 homes, the district’s structures are in the Second Empire, 19 century eclectic and Queen Ann styles dating from c. 1850 to 1910. The private homes are not open to the public, but we invite you to appreciate their architectural and historical significance with an outdoor walking tour.
Henderson Hall Plantation (Tours March – December, Closed Mondays)
The Henderson Hall was the home to six generations of the Henderson family. Today, you can tour the hall and see original furnishings from the frontier life of the 1700s to the oil boom days of the 20th century. The hall is an 8,000 square ft pre-Civil War Italianate mansion that boasts 16 rooms and acted as a centerpiece to the original 2,600-acre plantation, horse breeding farm, oil field and river port. Scottish-born Alexander Henderson Sr., a man who served in the House of Burgesses and appointed as a member of the committee to decide boundary lines. By the advice of George Washington himself, Henderson bought 25,000 acres and sent three of his sons to the Mid-Ohio Valley. Alexander and his brother, John, played a key role in thwarting the treasonous exploits of Aaron Burr. The brothers turned in Harman Blennerhassett and Burr when they tried to recruit the Hendersons into their scheme. The last living Henderson ancestor, Michael Rolston, died in 2007 bequeathing the hall to the Oil and Gas Historical Association.
The Castle (Tours April – December, Closed Tues & Wed in Spring/Fall, Closed Wed in Summer)
The Castle, built in 1855, offers a wide array of tours, educational opportunities, and programs. Tours are available starting in April, but they provide many history-related events throughout the year. Among a few of their offerings are: local historical mock trials, food history, archaeology, summer camps, school and scout education, cemetery tours, teas and luncheons, wedding and facility rental, and much more. Whether you stop by from out of town for a visit or wish to learn more about the area’s wonderful heritage, The Castle will have something that individuals or whole families can enjoy!