PRICKETTS FORT STATE PARK
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.
The fort covers a 100 by 100 foot square, with 12-foot-high log walls and blockhouses at each corner. Lining the weathered stockade walls are 16 tiny cabins, some with earthen floors. A meetinghouse and a storehouse fill the common.
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, from days to 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.
Just south of the fort stands the Job Prickett House, built in 1859 by the great grandson of Capt. Jacob Prickett, for whom the fort was named. The difference between the 18th century historical reconstruction and the original 19th century house illustrates the development of an increasingly civilized lifestyle and the availability of mass-produced furnishings through an 85 year span of time. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains santiques originally used by the Prickett family.