This photo was taken about 27 miles from Parkersburg, West Virginia on this past Saturday's afternoon drive. This first picture was taken as I stood beside the highway looking down. I zoomed in on the photo you see below.
When I got home I did a little research to see what was the significance given to the property. The route it is on has just received the designation as a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Government because of its significance as a transportation route from the early 1800s. This site known as the California site is the location at which the early trenches were dug and from which oil was barreled and commercially distributed to Parkersburg and Marietta, Ohio from the early 1800s. Also, a famous well, which produced marketable oil in the early 1850s was located at this site.
The site was sold to the famous Samuel Kier, developer of the Kerosene lamp, in early August, 1859. A well was being commercially drilled for oil in the spring and summer of 1859. California became a significant oilfield in the 1860s and 1870s. During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate forces traveled on the turnpike and frequented the California House and tavern. The original foundation stones, water well and barn are still located on the museum property that you could see through the trees but hasn’t been completely restored as of yet.
I mentally noted this waterfall is off the Hughes River. In my geneology research of my family a few years ago the Hughes River and "New California" was mentioned frequently. I'm anxious to go back to that research and see where my family was at the time of this historic site. I never know what I’ll find on my rides, but this was a nice little roadside stop.