Point Pleasant (West Virginia)
Point Pleasant is a town of 4,637 people (as of 2000) in West Virginia. These days it's best-known for a series of mysterious paranormal occurrences that began in 1966. Starting on November 12th of that year, locals began to catch glimpses of an odd flying creature - people generally described it as a very large grey man-shaped creature, with giant wings and large red eyes - that pursued people and even killed their pets, apparently making its home in an abandoned TNT plant outside of town. The newspapers called it Mothman, and there were over 100 sightings of it during the next year. Then tragedy struck: on December 15, 1967, the 700-foot Silver Bridge between Point Pleasant and Ohio collapsed, killing 46 people. Following the collapse, sightings of the Mothman dropped off, leading some to hypothesize that the Mothman was a sort of harbinger of doom. This same period was marked with an apparent increase in paranormal phenomena, and some have linked the entire series of events to an old Native American curse that was reputedly put on the area by a murdered chief. The events surrounding the sightings inspired the book The Mothman Prophecies, on which the 2002 film was based.
Point Pleasant was also the site of the First Battle of the Revolution - the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774, between the Virginia militia and the Shawnee led by Chief Cornstalk (he of the curse). The battle prevented the Native Americans from forming an alliance with the British, which in turn shaped the outcome of the War of Independence.
Point Pleasant is at the intersection of US-35 (which follows the Kanawha River), between Charleston and Jackson, Ohio, and OH-7 (which follows the Ohio River), between Huntington and Middleport, Ohio.
There's no bus or taxi service in town, so bring your car.
- The tourism information center is at 210 Viand Street, 304-675-6788. Open M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-2PM.
- The 12-foot-tall stainless-steel Mothman statue at the corner of 4th Street and Main Street.
- Fort Randolph and Fort Blair, Highway 2 and Highway 62, 304-675-1068. Located in the 44-acre Krodel Park. The original Fort Blair was built in November 1774; after being destroyed by Native Americans, it was rebuilt in May 1776 and renamed Fort Randolph. After being destroyed yet again, it was re-rebuilt in 1785, although no trace of it remains today. The fort was reconstructed in October 1974, along with other period buildings. Re-enactments are carried out during warmer weather. The park also features fishing, paddle boats, miniature golf, a playground and camping facilities.
- Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, 1 Main Street, ☎ . Open year-round; museum open May through October. The site of the Battle of Point Pleasant; an 84-foot-tall granite obelisk commemorates the Virginia militiamen who died in the battle. The Mansion House Museum, built in 1796 as a tavern and the oldest hewn-log house in the Kanawha Valley today, is also on the site. The name of the park comes from a Wyandotte phrase meaning "the point between two waters", signifying the spot where the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers meet.
- Mothman Museum and Research Center, 412 Main Street. Open daily 12PM-5PM spring and summer. Describes the history of Point Pleasant and the Mothman incident, with drawings, newspaper clippings, mementos and other exhibits. On-site gift shop. Admission $3.
- Point Pleasant River Museum, 28 Main Street, ☎ . Open 10 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Friday, 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday, and 1 to 5 pm on Sunday; closed Mondays. Focuses on river life and commercial enterprise on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, with displays and video demonstrations. The museum also offers a working pilot house and a research library. Gift shop on-site.
- West Virginia State Farm Museum, ☎ . Route 62 N. Open Apr to mid-Nov Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. 50 acres of working museum, with artifacts from early pioneer life and farm life heritage, and year-round operations. Pioneer crafts are demonstrated during festival weekends. See the restored buildings of historical value, the world's largest stuffed horse and the taxidermy collection. Country store on-site.
- Sternwheel Regatta River Cruises, Riverfront Park, 304-675-7214. Held in early July. Celebration of river life, live music, food vendors, and a carnival-like atmosphere. Cruise downriver on a sternwheel boat to Gallipolis, Ohio; two fireworks cruises. Admission $15 - $20.
- Mason County Fair, route 62, 304-675-5463. West Virginia's largest county fair, held in early August. 9AM-11PM. Parades, livestock judging, animal shows, farm games, pie-eating contest, demolition derby and drag races, live entertainment, and a carnival with rides. Admission $5 - $8.
- Mothman Festival, downtown Point Pleasant. Held in mid-September. Live music, screenings of Mothman-related documentaries and films, vendors, crafters, a guest speakers' forum, and tours of Mothman-related sites.
- Battle Days Festival, Tu-Endie-Wie State Park. Held the first weekend in October. Celebrating the first battle of the American Revolution and honoring the people who gave their lives at the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774. Historical re-enactments, sutlers and crafters in period clothing, a juried art show, a colonial ball, a lantern tour to meet historical characters, a parade, entertainment, a drama, and more. Admission free for the ball, $10 for the Colonial Governor's Reception.
- Mothman souvenirs, of course. There are T-shirts, books, videos, bumper stickers, and you can even pick up a Mothman beanie baby.
Point Pleasant is the only place you can get a Mothman Frappuccino.
- The Historic Lowe Hotel, 401 Main Street (on the corners of 4th and Main Streets), ☎ . Two-room, family, and Jacuzzi suites are available as well as a full-service restaurant, the The Red Parrot Café, featuring fine food and drinks at reasonable prices.
- Huntington is about 1 hour south on US-7.
- Charleston, the state capital, is a little over 1 hour southeast on US-35 and I-64.