Parkersburg, a port of delivery and the capital of Wood co., West Virginia, the second city in the state in population, on the Ohio river, at the mouth of the Little Kanawha, 92 m. below Wheeling, and 65 m. N. of Charleston; pop. in 1850, 1,218; in 1860, 2,493; in 1870, 5,546, of whom 447 were colored; in 1875, about 7,000. The site rises gradually to a plateau 100 ft. above low-water mark, and extends more than a mile up the Ohio and nearly two miles along the Little Kanawha, embracing about three square miles. In the rear rises an isolated eminence, known as Prospect hill, affording extensive views. The city is regularly laid out in squares, with streets 60 ft. and alleys 20 ft. wide. The principal public buildings are the court house, market house, two brick school houses, and seven brick churches. A building for the accommodation of the United States courts, post office, and custom house is in course of erection. Par-kersburg is favorably situated for trade and manufactures. The tributary country, including the valley of the Little Kanawha, is f ertile and well timbered, and contains petroleum, coal, iron, and salt. Four medicinal springs, 6 1/2 m. from the city and 2 m. from the Little Kanawha, have been much frequented.
There is a covered bridge across the Little Kanawha, and one across the Ohio costing $1,000,000, over which the Parkersburg division of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad passes into Ohio. Regular lines of steamers run to Wheeling, Charleston, Cincinnati, and other points on the Ohio and Great Kanawha rivers. Recent improvements in the Little Kanawha render it navigable 38 m. above Parkersburg, and afford abundant water power. One of the most important interests is the refining of petroleum, for which there are six or seven establishments, producing about 200,000 barrels of illuminating and 100,000 of lubricating oil annually. The annual value of oil shipments is about $3,000,000. Other important establishments are a barrel factory, a chemical laboratory, three founderies, with two of which machine shops are connected, the repair shops of the railroad, two flouring mills, two saw mills, a mill for sawing, planing, and manufacturing doors, blinds, etc, a boat-building yard, a furniture factory, a carriage factory, a tannery, three tobacco factories, two potteries, two brick yards, and a sandstone quarry.
There are three national banks, with an aggregate capital of $450,000, a fire insurance company, a high school, several free ward schools, several academies, two daily and three weekly newspapers, a monthly periodical, and ten churches: Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and United Brethren. The United States circuit court is held here annually. - Parkersburg was incorporated as a town in 1820, and as a city in 1860.