city, seat (1800) of Wood county, western West Virginia, U.S. It lies at the confluence of the Ohio (there bridged to Belpre, Ohio) and Little Kanawha rivers. Settled about 1785 as Neal's Station on a land tract originally purchased by Alexander Parker of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it was first chartered by Virginia in 1820 and rechartered by West Virginia in 1863. The name was changed from Newport to Parkersburg in 1811. The completion of the Grafton-Parkersburg branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1857 and the discovery of the nearby Burning Springs oil field in 1860 stimulated industrial growth, although the oil boom declined after 1900.
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