Chartered in October 1777 by the General Assembly of Virginia, Moorefield, the county seat of Hardy County, is the fourth-oldest town in West Virginia. Located at the confluence of the South Fork of the South Branch with the main South Branch of the Potomac, Moorefield was laid out on 62 acres of land belonging to Conrad Moore. The town was named for Moore, and his home, the Old Stone Tavern, still stands on Main Street. Early property owners included families with the names of Van Meter, Harness, McNeill, Renick, Hite, Cunningham, Williams, Inskeep, Fisher and Hutton.
Moorefield has always been an agricultural community. The early settlers began farming the rich bottom land that surrounded the town, raising cattle, along with corn and hay for feed. From the 1930s, the poultry industry has been a significant economic factor, and Moorefield became known as the Poultry Capital of West Virginia.
Although Southern in sympathy, the town housed whichever troops were in local control during the Civil War. The Confederate McNeill’s Rangers operated in the area.
In 1985, flood waters devastated Moorefield taking homes, businesses, and lives. Fifteen years later the economy was booming and local unemployment was among the lowest in the state. Hester Industries, WLR Foods, and American Woodmark had all expanded. Hester was part of Con Agra and WLR was part of Pilgrim’s Pride, both part of the expanding poultry industry.
Moorefield is the home of the annual West Virginia Poultry Festival and Hardy County Heritage Weekend. As the 21st century began, Moorefield was looking at a potential explosion in population and growth. Construction on the controversial and long-delayed four-lane Corridor H, which will traverse the county, began in 2000. Local officials are faced with the desire to protect the historic district and traditions of the community while still planning for future growth and expansion. The Moorefield Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Read the National Register nomination.
This Article was written by Phoebe Heishman
Last Revised on January 25, 2013
Moore, Alvin E. History of Hardy County of the Borderland. Parsons: McClain, 1963.