Welcome to my home town, Barboursville, West Virginia. Nestled among the hills I called home, the Village of Barboursville was founded in 1813 by an Act of the Virginia Assembly, before West Virginia broke away and formed it's own state on June 20, 1883. During the Civil War several skirmishes took place in and around the village. As the railroads and highways passed by, Barboursville became a quiet, residential setting of historic homes and figures. The population of the village has increased from 339 in 1814 to more than 3,000 residents.Yet, despite the rapid growth and modernization of Barboursville the village remains steadfastly proud of its heritage. According to the Department of Tourism, it is this unique blend of historical and contemporary sights that make Barboursville a memorable stop for any visitor.
But to me, it's just home. Let me take you on a tour of my home town.
This is the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue. Every business in town was located on these few blocks. Growing up, I remember Updike's 5 & Dime store, Plyburn's Pharmacy, Brady's Hardware, and the Stop & Shop. The First State Bank of Barboursville had only 2 tellers and about 3 offices in their small second story building. We had the Corner Grill, The Center Cafe and the Village Inn. And of course, there was Herrold's Barber Shop. Across from the some of the stores was Barboursville Junior High where I attended 7th, 8th and 9th Grade. Until recent years, we never even had a traffic light in town. But times do change and now there are a couple.The following is an old Civil War Cemetery located about a half-block from mine and Allen's first house. We only lived about 3 blocks from "up town". We would walk up for Oktoberfest and coming home late at night, Allen would tell our kids stories about an old Civil War Colonel who was buried there and still walks the grounds at night looking for his lost soldiers. The boys would usually sneak ahead and run out and scare the girls about that time. And being little girls, they fell for it every time.
One of our biggest tourist attractions was the Old Toll House. It was used by the James River Co. to charge tolls for crossing the Guyan River until the first bridge was built. It was moved in later years into the center of town, where it still sits today.
Several years ago, land was purchased at the edge of town and they built a park, ball field, fishing lake and much more. Here is a view of the "Park". The park ended up almost as big a the whole town.
View of one of the modern day store front in town.
There is a public transit system in the neighboring town of Huntington. It makes regular runs several times a day through Barboursville. There are a lot of college students and wives who don't drive who take advantage of this. Growing up, my parents neither one drove. If it hadn't been for the "town bus" as we called it, we would never have ventured outside of Barboursville. On a recent trip to Mom's, I took my grandkids to the mall on the "town bus". Some memories are not really worth repeating, but the kids loved it. They want to make it part of their trip to Mamaw's every time now. So I guess it was worth it after all.
The old bridge. This bridge has since been replaced with a new concrete one with sidewalks. It was used to cross the river at the edge of town. We used to walk across it to go to Dr. Sadler's office and to visit my sister when she got her first house "across the river." I was petrified every time I walked or drove across it. Glad they replaced it.
This is a C & O train coming through town. Daddy worked at the C & O Reclamation plant in Barboursville. There are tracks going through town so you usually would get caught by a train and rather than sit and wait, we would usually "go around the long way" on the side streets to get by it. Many a summer night I would lay with my window open and listen to those long, sad whistles as the trains ran through the night. I still here them when I visit Mom and they are like a long lost friend.
Those are just some pics of the old home town. I hope you enjoyed a walk with me. Barboursville is still a place where neighbors visit on their front porches, you can walk around town on the sidewalks and see some of the same people that you saw when you walked the streets 50 years ago. Family is still family and friends are still friends. You can go back again and even though some things change, some still stay the same.