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Paden City is a glass-making town. It is situated on the Ohio River on State Route 2, between New Martinsville and Sistersville, partly in Tyler County and partly in Wetzel County. Obadiah Paden first settled there in 1790. Two years later, the state of Virginia granted 685 acres to Robert Woods. The whole area was Ohio County at the time. Known originally as Paden Valley, Paden City remained largely agricultural through the 1800s, until Pittsburgh industrialist Thomas Watson began to develop the area around the turn of the 20th century.

Paden City was incorporated in 1916. Because of its location on the Ohio River and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the town grew quickly. Early factories included the Paul Wissmach Glass Company, makers of cathedral glass; the Duquesne Bottle Factory; Slider Brothers Cement Block Company; Euclid Manufacturing Company, makers of stone laundry tubs; Monongahela Iron and Steel Company; and Brown Lumber Company.

A prominent business, Paden City Pottery, was established in 1911 by a Frenchman, John Lessel. Lessel was an award-winning potter and looked to Paden City for its clay deposits. He encountered business difficulties, and in 1916 the Paden Land Company took over the company. Paden City Pottery originally employed 50 people and then grew to more than 400 employees. The company came out with one of the first ovenproof dinnerware lines; later it made fine china. By the 1950s, the pottery could not compete with prices from Japanese potteries and was forced to close down.

Paden City is the home of the Marble King factory, which produces a million glass marbles a day. It opened first in St. Marys in 1949, and then moved to Paden City in 1958.

The 2020 population was 2,550, a 30.6 decline from its peak of 3,674 in 1970, when many of the factories began closing.

This Article was written by Jane Kraina

Last Revised on February 22, 2023


Bryan Ward. A Colorful Past, A Bright Future: The Paul Wissmach Glass Company. West Virginia Executive, 4, Fall 2011.

Martha Manning. Most Radiant Windows: West Virginia Stained Glass. Goldenseal, 8, Summer 1982.

Martha Manning. Paden City Was Like the End of the World. Goldenseal, 8, Summer 1982.

Cite This Article

Kraina, Jane "Paden City." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 22 February 2023. Web. 18 June 2024.


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