Prickett's Fort State Park (US)

Prickett’s Fort State Park, located five miles north of Fairmont in Marion County, features a reconstruction of the original Prickett's Fort. This historical park commemorates late 18th-century life on the Virginia frontier. The fort was built to defend early European settlers of what today is West Virginia from raids. 

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Perched on a small rise overlooking the confluence of Prickett’s Creek and the Monongahela River, this rustic log fort is a re-creation of the original Prickett’s Fort of 1774, which served as a refuge from Native American war parties on the western frontier of Colonial Virginia. Built in 1976 by the Prickett’s Fort Memorial Foundation, the “new” fort serves as a living history site where interpreters recreate late 18th century lifestyle through period attire and demonstrations of a variety of colonial crafts. Throughout the season, visitors may find blacksmiths, spinners, weavers and other traditional artisans at work, and a gun shop which features the only public demonstrations of 18th century firearm manufacturing in the state.

When the threat of Native American uprisings occurred, up to 80 families from the surrounding countryside would hurry to the fort. They would stay as long as the threat existed, for days or even weeks. “Forting up” was simply tolerated by settlers, as life in the cramped quarters could be unpleasant. Such sacrifices were necessary for survival on the dangerous frontier of the late 1700s. Today’s fort, just north of Fairmont, still portrays that life and time.

The current reconstruction is 110 feet square with two-story blockhouses at each corner, fourteen small cabins lining internal walls, and a meeting house and store house in the common area. The Prickett’s Fort Memorial Foundation describes the 1974 reconstruction as “much more elaborate” than the original but claims that every feature in the reconstruction might have been found at some refuge fort in the region.

In the reconstructed fort, the Foundation presents third-person interpretation of such 18th-century crafts as carpentry, blacksmithing, and spinning. A visitor center—managed by the Foundation under long-term contract with the state—includes a research library, a gift shop, and a gallery with an orientation exhibit and video. 

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