Pricketts Fort State Park is a day-use historical and recreational park, located just north of Fairmont, West Virginia, two miles off Interstate 79 at Exit 139. The original fort was built at the confluence of Pricketts Creek and the Monongahela River in 1774, and provided a place of refuge from Indian attack for early settlers to the area. Now a state park, the site also includes the Job Prickett House, circa 1859, listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Both the reconstructed fort and the Job Prickett House are open for public tours from mid-April to November, with a living history style interpretation. Visitors enjoy seeing costumed artisans at work weaving, blacksmithing, cooking, and building muzzleloader firearms. A dozen or more special events are conducted annually.
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The Fort covers a 110 by 110 foot square, with 12-foot-high log walls and blockhouses at each corner. Lining the weathered stockade walls are 14 tiny cabins, some with earthen floors. A meetinghouse and a storehouse fill the common. When the threat of Native American uprisings occurred, up to 80 families from the surrounding countryside would hurry to the Fort. They would stay as long as the threat existed, from days to weeks. "Forting up" was simply tolerated by settlers. Life in the cramped quarters could be unpleasant, but such sacrifices were necessary for survival on the dangerous frontier of the late 1700s. Today's Fort still speaks eloquently of that life and time.
The Job Prickett House
Just south of the Fort stands the Job Prickett House, built in 1859 by the great-grandson of Capt. Jacob Prickett, for whom the Fort was named. The difference between the 18th century historical reconstruction and the original 19th century house illustrates the development of an increasingly civilized lifestyle and the availability of mass-produced furnishings through an 85-year span of time. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains antiques originally used there by the Prickett family.