Mansion By Candlelight
Island Belle Sternwheeler
Island History -
Blennerhassett Island’s antiquity spans back to the Ice Age hunters 13,000 years ago. Native American tribes lived on the island almost continuously, until white settlers began to flock to the area in the 1780s. (Many artifacts and tools dating to these ancient residents of the island are on display at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History.)
The Blennerhassetts -
Harman Blennerhassett, a wealthy Irish aristocrat, and his wife, Margaret, settled on the island in 1798 and began building a magnificent mansion and estate. However, he became entangled in a mysterious military enterprise with Aaron Burr in 1806. As a result, President Thomas Jefferson accused both men of plotting treason in attempting to establish an empire in the southwest. Blennerhassett fled the island, but was captured and imprisoned in the Virginia State Penitentiary. Although Burr was tried and acquitted and Blennerhassett released, the lives of both men were ruined. The exquisite mansion accidentally burned to the ground in 1811, leaving little visible trace of its graceful, semicircular lines. However, modern archeologists rediscovered its foundations in 1973. Through a continuing program of careful historical and architectural research, the mansion has been recreated for visitors. The interior is furnished with some of the original pieces owned by the Blennerhassetts and other furnishings of the era.
The Putnam-Houser House -
“Maple Shade” was brought to the island by barge in December 1986, from a bluff in Belpre, Ohio. Today, the 1802 two-story frame house is completely restored. It is a tribute to the pioneering spirits of its builders. Aaron Waldo and Charlotte Loring Putnam, both from New England, came to settle the Northwest Territory after the Revolutionary War and were friends of the Blennerhassetts.
Famous Island Visitors -
Blennerhassett Island is a legendary historic site for a variety of reasons. During the 1760s, the famous Delaware Indian, Nemacolin, made the island his home. In addition, renowned figures including George Rogers Clark, Johnny Appleseed, Henry Clay, Walt Whitman and Gore Vidal visited the island.
Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History -
Begin your journey into the past of the Blennerhassetts, as well as Parkersburg, at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History. Enjoy seeing intriguing archeological and historical exhibits of the Blennerhassetts and the area, dating back to the 1700s. Watch a brief video of the island and see the famous Stahl Collection of prehistoric Indian artifacts. An extensive gift shop with memorabilia and more is available on site. Open year-round, the museum admission is a nominal fee. Tours are self-guided.
Tickets are sold at the Blennerhassett Museum
of Regional History for the following activities:
- Island Belle Sternwheeler Ride to and from Blennerhassett Island
- Self-guided Museum Tour
- Packaged Tickets (Museum, Boat, Mansion, and Wagon)
Download the Schedule Here: Blennerhassett Island 2019 Schedule
Tickets may be purchased individually for guided mansion and wagon tours once on the island
Bike rentals are available on the island.
Motorcoach and field trip groups are welcome! Call the museum office at 304.420.4800 for group planning assistance
Things to do on the Island
Tour of Blennerhassett Mansion
Horse-drawn wagon rides
Self-guided walking tours
Visit "Maple Shade" - The Putnam-Houser House
Walk through the Walnut Grove
Harman's Landing Concessions
Blennerhassett Island State Park offers primitive camping for groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H and Church youth groups. To camp on the island
arrangements must be made in advance. Campsites include firewood, fire rings and picnic tables.
Event and Meeting Space -
The park’s beautiful and spacious surroundings make it the perfect venue for special events. Spaces are available for weddings and group meetings.
Hours of Operation -
Island Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday (May 1 through Labor Day)
Closed Mondays with the exception of holidays that fall on a Monday
Open Thursday—Sunday (after Labor Day through late October)
Closed for the season late October through April - Call ahead or check online to confirm times & days.
Museum Hours: Closed Mondays & major holidays.
Jan.—April 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
May- Sept. 1 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sept. 2—late Oct. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Late Oct.—Dec. 23 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Blennerhassett Island is located on the Ohio River south of Parkersburg, W.Va. Parkersburg is accessible via U.S. 50 (east and west) and I-77 (north and south). The Blennerhassett Museum and park offices are in downtown Parkersburg.
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park
137 Juliana Street | Parkersburg, WV 26101
304.420.4800 | BlennerhassettIslandStatePark.com