The city of Moundsville, West Virginia, began as a small cabin built in 1771 by two English settlers, Samuel and James Tomlinson. Eventually, the settlement that grew up around the site was incorporated into a town, then known as Elizabethtown, in 1830. When Meriwether Lewis passed through the area in 1803, however, the town was new, and only a few families were living here.
On September 10, Lewis described the area, saying:”Six miles below our encampment of last evening I landed on the east side of R. and went on shore to view a remarkable artificial mound of earth called by the people in this neighbourhood the Indian grave… Near the mound to the N. stands a small town lately laid out called Elizabeth-town there are but about six or seven dwelling houses in it as yet, in this town there are several mounds of the same kind of the large one but not near as large, in various parts of this bottom the traces of old intrenchments are to be seen tho’ they are so imperfect that they cannot be traced in such manner as to make any complete figure; for this enquire I had not leasure. I shall therefore content myself by giving a discription of the large mound and offering some conjectures with regard to the probable purposes for which they were intended by their founders; who ever they may have been.—”
In 1866, Elizabethtown and Mound City, established in 1831, were consolidated into the town of Moundsville. The name was chosen in honor of the many burial mounds built by the Adena Culture more than 2,000 years ago, the largest of which is known as Grave Creek Mound. Today, Moundsville offers a multitude of attractions, including the Four Seasons Pool & Fitness Center, a riverfront park, several playgrounds, and many wonderful shopping and dining opportunities. Those interested in Native cultures and the Adena burial mounds will enjoy a visit to the Grave Creek Mound & Archaeological Complex, which houses artifacts and exhibits focused on the life of the Adena People.
The West Virginia Penitentiary, built in 1876 in the Gothic architectural style, closed in 1995. Today, it serves as a popular tourist destination featuring 90-minute guided tours through the facility, photography tours, an escape room, and more. For more information, visit their website at West Virginia Penitentiary.
For those visitors looking for more adventurous outdoor activities, the Grand Vue Park will be their target destination. The park offers camping, rental cabins, zip lines, a golf course, adventure courses, hiking trails, and day camps for children. For information on the park, visit Grand Vue Park.
More information about Moundsville and other attractions can be found on the city’s website at City of Moundsville, West Virginia.