Join us on Thursday and Saturday as we explore some great places in and around Morgantown. Take in the great outdoors, visit museums and galleries, or take a ride aboard one of West Virginia University’s blue and gold PRT cars.
Thursday, April 11
T1 – Zipline Canopy Tour, rescheduled to Saturday, has been cancelled.
T2 – Arthurdale Heritage
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
$12 per person
The community of Arthurdale was the nation’s first New Deal subsistence homestead project championed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The first homesteaders arrived in 1934 and each property was two to five acres in size to allow the families to raise food and livestock. Modern amenities not commonly available around the country at that time – electricity, indoor plumbing, and a refrigerator – were provided to all 165 homes constructed by the federal government as a way to help families during the Great Depression. This ground-breaking project’s public buildings have been restored by residents who appreciated this second chance at life and knew the value of preserving it. A five-building museum is open to the public year-round to tell the special story of the First Lady’s legacy.
Attendees will travel by van from the Morgantown Marriott to Arthurdale. The van will depart at 12:30 p.m. and will return at approximately 3:00 p.m. Attendees may also travel by personal car and should plan to arrive at Arthurdale by 1:00 p.m. Arthurdale heritage is located at 18 Q Road, Arthurdale, WV, 26520 (Phone 304-864-3959).
T3 – WVU Art Museum Tour has been cancelled. The Art Museum encourages attendees to tour the museum on your own during their open hours, Thursday 3:30-7:30 p.m. and Friday-Sunday 12:30-4:30 p.m.
T4 – Downtown Walking Tour / Morgantown History Museum
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
$10 per person
Explore downtown Morgantown and learn how the city transitioned from rural to industrial to college town. Have your cameras ready for a selfie with Morgantown native, actor Don Knotts, of Andy Griffith Show fame, who is memorialized in statue on High Street. The tour will commence with a stop at the Morgantown History Museum featuring local history exhibits.
Participants will park in the Morgantown City Lot ($.75/hour) near the Trinity Episcopal Church on Willey Street and gather in front of Panera Bread at the top of High Street. Carpooling is encouraged and will be facilitated by the LAC prior to the tour.
T5 – Personal Rapid Transit Ride
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
$5 per person
Explore Morgantown and WVU campuses on this unique tour. Originally a demonstration project and the first large-scale automated guideway transit system in the United States, WVU’s Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is an automated people mover that connects the three areas of the WVU Morgantown Campus and the Morgantown central business district. The PRT consists of a fleet of 71 electronically powered, rubber-tired vehicles that travel on 8.7 miles of dedicated guideway between five stations: Medical Center (Health Sciences Center), Towers, Engineering Sciences, Beechurst and Walnut. Since opening in 1975, the PRT has provided over 83 million passenger trips without injury and taken countless vehicles off Morgantown’s busy streets. The PRT transports about 15,000 riders per day and serves as the University’s primary mass transit system for students, employees and visitors.
Participants should park in the University Avenue/Chestnut Parking Facility ($.75/hour) and cross Walnut Street to enter the Walnut Street PRT Station. Carpooling is encouraged and will be facilitated by the LAC prior to the tour. The group will gather on the PRT platform. For participants of the Downtown Morgantown walking tour, the PRT Ride is a good companion tour. The Walnut Street PRT Station is only a short walk from the Morgantown History Museum, the last stop on the walking tour.
T6 – Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the social, cultural, and technological history of West Virginia’s coal and petroleum industries through the collection, preservation, research and exhibition of historical objects and archival materials. Visitors will see the current exhibition, Man Power/Mine Power: The Evolution and impact of Coal Mining Machines. From late 19th century coal mining with picks and shovels to the huge longwall machines used today, the mechanization of West Virginia’s underground coal mining industry drastically altered the workplace structure, labor relations, and livelihood of those that relied on the coal industry.
The Watts Museum is housed in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources Building at WVU. Attendees may park in the parking lot at the WVU Coliseum and take the shuttle or walk to the Mineral Resources Building. For attendees of the WVU Art Museum tour, the Watts Museum is a good companion tour. It is only short walk up a sloping hill to the Mineral Resources Building from the Art Museum.
T7 – Easton Roller Mill
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$10 per person
Constructed circa 1870, the Easton Roller Mill is a historic grist mill and saw mill. Now owned by the Monongalia County Historical Society, the mill was originally equipped for stone grinding. Unlike a typical mill, the stones were driven by a coal powered steam engine because coal was a more dependable power source than water in the area. In 1910, roller mill technology was adopted at the Easton Mill. Visitors will see the mill in operation and view historical displays.
The mill is located near Morgantown, below the Mileground on Easton Mill Road, at the bottom of the Airport Hill, off of US Route 119 and WV 857. It is about 300 yards on the right, with gravel parking in front.
Saturday, April 13
T1 – Zipline Canopy Tour has been cancelled.
T8 – Coopers Rock State Forest
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
$5 per person
Coopers Rock State Forest is named for Coopers Rock, a series of sandstone cliffs above the Cheat River Gorge. Legend has it that a fugitive hid near what is now the overlook. A cooper by trade, he continued to make and sell barrels from his mountain hideout. During the 1800s the iron industry flourished in the area that is now Coopers Rock. Today the remains of the Henry Clay Furnace – the first steam-powered blast furnace in western Virginia – is a popular hiking and biking destination in the forest. The forest proper was established in 1936. Many of its structures, including the main overlook, picnic shelters and superintendent’s house, were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Eleven of these structures have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Attendees will gather in the parking lot and then walk out to the Overlook for a brief historical overview of the park. After that, participants may hike on their own or with the tour leader. Coopers Rock State Forest is located at 61 County Line Drive, Bruceton Mills, WV, 26525.
Image credit: Steamboat I. C. Woodward on the Monongahela River at Morgantown, W. Va., ca. 1900,West Virginia History OnView, West Virginia & Regional History Center