Henderson Hall plantation, just outside of Parkersburg, West Virginia, is one of the more interesting historic homes I have visited. The 8000 square foot Italianate mansion, along with the Henderson family, are as much a part of the local history as the Ohio River which flows nearby.
The first members of the Henderson family came over the mountains from Virginia back in 1798. They were well-connected in the political circles of the east coast and followed the advice of George Washington, among others, to purchase land in the Mid-Ohio valley. The family took up farming and various businesses in the area and were successful in their endeavors. By 1859, the Henderson plantation encompassed thousands of acres around the newly completed Henderson Hall. The stately home served as the center of activity for farming, horse breeding, and even oil fields over the years.
Disclosure: A tour was provided by the Parkersburg CVB. Opinions, as always, are purely my own.
Henderson Hall Today
In 2007, after six generations, the last member of the family passed away and donated the mansion and surrounding land to the Oil & Gas Historic Association to preserve due to its importance to local history. Today, the public can tour the old house and learn about the family who helped shape Parkersburg and the surrounding areas along the Ohio river. A visit to the mansion is well worth your time.
Henderson Hall sits atop a hill overlooking the land along the banks of the Ohio River. It lies just down river of Marietta, Ohio with Parkersburg, West Virginia about five miles further southwest. The mansion appears to sit upright with three floors and a turret on top. Once inside, guests will discover that, unlike many other homes of this period, the rooms are bathed in natural light from the tall windows throughout. Each floor in the main section of the house contains four rooms, plus a large open central area around the staircase. At the very top is a set of stairs leading to the top. It was hot that day and upon entering the turret we quickly discovered its purpose: to pull fresh air in through the many windows in the house and push the warm air out of the turret windows.
While the home itself is an elegant design and the family history extraordinary, what makes Henderson Hall stand out from other historic homes is the prevalence of original furniture and personal items. Each room is filled with everything things that have miraculously stayed with the family for well over a century. There are still working gas lighting fixtures in some rooms and even original wallpaper! During my wander through the house I noticed old signatures on one of the doors in the basement. Henderson Hall is truly a treasure for both local and national history. One other unique item to note is the three Adena Indian mounds located just outside the house; something I’ll surely be looking into further.
Planning a Visit to Henderson Hall
Henderson Hall is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 5pm. At time of writing, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. The home does close for most of January and February. Visit their website for the latest information on tour dates and special events, such as their Civil War encampments and Christmas holiday walks.
Parkersburg, West Virginia is a place full of history. Read more about some of the interesting locations below and plan your own adventure.