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About Wood County

Wood County is in the western part of the state, located about 70 miles west of Clarksburg and about 75 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio. Its northern and western boundary is the Ohio River which is the West Virginia state border with Ohio. The county was formed in 1798 from Harrison County. The county is named after James Wood (1747-1813), a politician, early state governor of Virginia, and a soldier in the frontier wars after the French and Indian War. In the American Revolutionary War he attained the rank of Brigadier General in command of frontier defense. He was also a slavery opponent who served as a president of the Society for the Promotion of the Abolition of Slavery in Virginia.

The Ohio River is a major transportation waterway, and the county has rail connections and an airport. Interstate 77 runs north to south through the county near the county seat of Parkersburg, while Route 50 (or Corridor D) runs east to west, from its connection to I-79 in central West Virginia. Blennerhassett Island is a historical state park near Parkersburg, and the site of a spectacular new bridge carrying Route 50 across the Ohio River.

Its present territory is 368 square miles with a population of 87,986 (2005). Its county seat and major city is Parkersburg (pop. 33,099) located on the Ohio River at the mouth of the Little Kanawha River in the western part of the county. Other cities and towns are Blennerhassett (pop. 3,225); Boaz (pop. 1,345); Lubeck (pop. 1,303); Mineral Wells (pop. 1,860); North Hills (pop. 880); Vienna (pop. 10,861); Washington (pop. 1,170); and Williamstown (pop. 2,996). 

Major employment is in manufacturing, retail, health care and social assistance, accommodation and food service, finance and professional, construction, and wholesale. The county is a member of the West Virginia Polymer Alliance Zone with the largest segment of manufacturing employment in the making of plastics, resins, and rubber products. Other major employment in manufacturing is in the making of fabricated metal products. Over one-fourth of retail employment is in warehouse clubs, superstores, and department stores. Hospitals employ nearly half of health care and social assistance is in ambulatory health care services. There is noticeable economic activity and some employment in education with a regional campus of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, a public school of higher education. Agriculturally there is some notable production of corn, eggs, and soybeans, but major production is in the raising of horses, livestock, and forage.