Watters Smith Memorial State Park, located in southern Harrison County in West Virginia, is a 532-acre historical park established through the generosity of the descendants of Watters Smith, a pioneer who settled there in the 1790s.
The park’s initial 278-acre parcel, which included Watters Smith’s original 112 acres, was donated to the state in 1949 upon the death of Burr Smith of Lost Creek. The bequest included land plus $50,000, the interest to be used for the park’s upkeep and maintenance. The West Virginia Conservation Commission assumed control of the tract of land. In accordance with Smith’s will, a memorial was erected on the site of Watters Smith’s pioneer cabin on Duck Creek.
In 1975, the park expanded, thanks to Rachel Smith Hershey, another descendant of Watters Smith. She willed her farm to the park, 254 acres adjacent to Burr Smith’s tract, along with several homes and their furnishings. The houses were sold and some of the furnishings are displayed in the Smith Family Residence Museum, the cabin built in 1876 by ‘‘Uncle Doc’’ Smith, replacing the original Watters Smith cabin. A sizable collection of antique glass is on display in the cabin museum, with early farm artifacts located in the visitors center museum and other buildings on the property.
Since its inception, in addition to the establishment of a museum and other historical outbuildings, the park has grown to include picnic areas, a swimming pool, concession stands, playgrounds, parking areas, the superintendent’s house, and a log cabin relocated from Beech Fork State Park.
This Article was written by Debra K. Sullivan
Last Revised on November 12, 2010