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Weston City

Weston City Hall is located at 102 West Second Street, Weston, WV 26452; phone: 304-269-6141.

The City of Weston was incorporated in 1913.

Beginnings [1]

Weston was founded in 1817 as the county seat of the newly-established Lewis County, which itself was erected in December, 1816 from Harrison County. The settlement lay on the West Fork of the Monongahela River, on a portion of the eighteenth-century holdings of Henry Flesher. First known as Preston, in 1818 the village's name was changed to Flesherville when the Virginia Assembly created a new county named Preston. The name, Flesherville, was immediately unpopular with the early inhabitants, since Henry Flesher, Jr., from whose father the town site was acquired, was antisocial and generally disliked. The reasoning behind the Assembly's eventual naming of Weston is shrouded in mystery, since it bore no relationship to any area family, place name, or geographic feature. For its first two decades, Weston was a largely self-sustaining, isolated village of approximately sixty buildings and a population of a few hundred. The area economy, like that in almost all of western Virginia, was agriculturally based and fragile. However, in the 1830s and 1840s the Staunton & Parkersburg and Weston & Gauley Bridge Turnpikes were carved out of the wilderness, opening the region to trade via the Shenandoah, Ohio, Monongahela, and Kanawha Rivers. A significant growth in population in the 1840s and 1850s is attributed to the immigration of Irish and Germans into Lewis County.

The 1840s witnessed significant secular and religious institutional growth in the village. In 1844, Weston's first church was built for the Methodist Episcopal congregation, followed the next year by the birth of a Roman Catholic parish which in 1848 built only the fourth Catholic church in western Virginia. The Episcopalians instituted regular worship services in 1848 as well and completed their meetinghouse in 1850. The community's first subscription schools operated in private homes and were well-subscribed. Weston's first newspaper, the Sentinel, began publication in 1846, the year which also marked the town's municipal incorporation. The new town was among the first five communities in western Virginia with a bank, which opened in 1852.

In 1858, Virginia decided to locate its third hospital for the mentally ill west of the mountains and a site in Weston, centrally located on the turnpikes, was chosen. The Weston State Hospital is located across the West Fork River from the downtown, several blocks west of the district. The new facility was under construction when the Civil War began and Virginia seceded from the Union. Both Union and Confederate forces occupied the community and bivouacked on the spacious lawns of the unfinished hospital. Westonians were divided in their loyalties during the War and a few citizens with southern leanings were even imprisoned for a short time at Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio. Guerilla-type skirmishes were frequent, but no battles occurred in the immediate Lewis County environs.

  1. David L. Taylor, Principal, Taylor & Taylor Associates, Weston Downtown Residential Historic District, 2004, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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