AROUND THE BEND: POMEROY OHIO'S RIVERFRONT LIFE

(09/16/2017)

Pomeroy is an Ohio River town whose long main street faces the
river, Meigs County is long-known for coal, salt and farming

The town has the new "Bridge of Honor"
connecting to Mason County W.Va.

By Bob Weaver

While some may prefer to “stand on the corner and watch the girls go,” many in Pomeroy, Ohio prefer perching along Main Street and watching the boats go up and down the Ohio River.

It is a spectacular view of the Ohio from a town that was formed in the early 1800s.

Pomeroy in Meigs County has spawned a large number of famous people, from sports figures to politicians, poets and writers.

The town is tied to the glorious days of steamboats.

A round trip in the 1800s, Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, took four weeks unless ice, low water, high water, planters (logs stuck in the mud of the river bed), sawyers (floating logs), changing channels, or cross currents slowed one down. Travel on the river was not so easy.

In 1807, there were flatboats, canoes, pirogues, dugouts, arks, skiffs, rafts, keel boats, barges, galley boats, and even sea going vessels traveling downstream after construction at Marietta.

Early steamboat river days

The river town in the 1940s

In 1836, Pomeroy resident Valentine B. Horton changed the future of river boating when he ordered the building of the “Condor” at a Cincinnati boat yard. The Condor put an end to wood-boats because it was the first boat in the world to successfully use coal for fuel rather than wood.

While the Condor was under construction, Horton invented coal barges for the new boat to pull, this ushering in the modem tow boat.

Steamboat traffic was so heavy that in 1845 Horton established the county’s first boat yard at the mouth of Naylor’s Run. In 1854 the first ferry between Pomeroy and Mason WV, powered by a horse went into operation, and by 1867 there was the first steam ferry.

Historic buildings dot river view front street

Ohio River view with "Bridge of Honor" in rear

Today the town has a population just under 2,000.

It is the only town in the USA without a four-way intersection, its remaining buildings, most still in use, an architectural delight.


Hur Herald ®from Sunny Cal
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