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Prickett’s Fort offers peek into the past

by Ana Eastep

By Gina Gallucci-White

Prickett’s Fort was built in 1774 as a way to avoid Native American war parties. Nestled next to the merger of Prickett’s Creek and the Monongahela River in what is now West Virginia, the fort would host up to 80 area families for days or even weeks until the threat was over.

The fort was named for Capt. Jacob Prickett, who managed the militia that built the fort. The Prickett family lived on the land for multiple generations for nearly two centuries, from the 1770s to 1960s. An original home, built in 1859 and owned by Job Prickett, remains today and is available for tours.

While the original structure was lost to time, the fort was reconstructed at the same site in 1976 by the Prickett’s Fort Memorial Foundation in Fairmont, W.Va. The 188-acre state park, which is free to enter, welcomes visitors year-round to take part in its hiking and biking trails, boating ramp and plentiful fishing opportunities. Bird-watchers will also enjoy the park as it hosts more than 160 different species of unique birds, such as Great Blue Herons.

The fort itself, which charges an entrance fee, is only open from April until October. During the off-season, self-guided audio tours are available.

The site provides tours, gallery exhibits and craft demonstrations including blacksmithing, basketry and pottery with interpreters dressed in period-accurate costumes. If visiting during the summer, be sure to check out the outdoor amphitheater concert schedule.

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