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Paden City

 

In 1796 Obidiah Paden came from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to settle on land soon to be called Paden's Bottom. He purchased this land and an island in the Ohio River for $1,333.00. Other settlers followed him to this land. About 25 years after Obidiah died in 1822, the people of the land (now called Paden's Bottom) decided a school was needed. A school was constructed near the Ohio River Landing at the west end of our present Main Street. The first teacher was Schoolcraft. In 1870, Mr. James Stevens decided that Paden's Bottom needed a better school. He donated land to build a school and church.

The school was constructed on North Fourth Avenue. The church which was the first in the area was the Wesleyan Methodist and it still stands on North Fourth Avenue. In 1877 the U. S. Mail Service came to the town's new name, Paden Valley. Mail was first delivered by boat, but in 1884 when the railroads came, mail came by train. In 1895 Paden's Valley changed it's name to Padensvalley (one word). In 1903, the town's name changed to Paden City. Many new industries came to Paden City in 1903. The first was the Empire Glass company. Others were the Brown Hotel, the Carter Iron Works, and the Paden Valley Land Company, in which Walter B. Keifer was appointed as agent and from then on the town began to grow.

An electric railway was built between New Martinsville and Sistersville to provide transportation between the three towns. In 1904, the Empire Glass Company changed it's name to the (Ohio Valley Glass Company. The Duquesne Glass Company began operation in 1903. They began to plan something that would promote business. The result was buying many acres of land in the south end of Paden City and making it into "Paden Park". The Park consisted of a large baseball field, an open dance floor, and a small building for storing and selling confections. There also was space for a Merry-Go-Round. E. B. Weekley and his brother Clark owned a Merry-Go-Round and they would set it up at the county fairs. They set it up at the park each summer for four year until the company bought their own Merry-Go-Round. The park was operated in this way until the UnionTraction Company became the new owners of the park and railway. They not only improved the railway, they improved the park, too. In May 1909, the C. W. Dowling Company of Marietta, Ohio built the building known as "Paden Park". The first floor was a large dance floor; the second floor was a roller skating rink and the top floor was a platform which was used for skeet or trap shooting. In 1911 an addition was built on the north end of the building and one of the largest Merry-Go-Rounds in the state was added to the park.

The Ohio Valley Glass Company changed it's name to the Paul Wissmack Glass Company. In 1911 the Paden City Pottery began operation. In 1912 a new school building was badly needed, so a four-room school building was constructed on the present location of the High School. In 1912, the Euclid Manufacturing Company began operation. They were the makers of stone laundry tubs. In 1917, Paden City became incorporated and the first city election was on February 5, 1917. Dr. Bruce Keifer was elected as the first Mayor. In 1919 the Paden City Wildcat Football Team originated. The young men of the town formed the team. The team was managed by Mr. Harry Riley. They were such fighters that Mr. Riley called them "Wildcats" and we've had that name ever since. The four-room school building was getting crowded and Paden City still only gave eight years of schooling. The students had to ride a streetcar to New Martinsville for the other grades.

In 1927 local interests bought and remodeled the Park. The second floor was now a dance pavilion. The Grand Re-opening was May 30, 1929. In 1943 the Park and railway system shut down.

Many changes have made Paden City what it is today. The Paul Wissmach Glass Company is the only industry still in operation. All the others have shut down or changed their names and management.

Submitted by Lori Crona, Shelly Keifer and April McEldowney for the Social Studies Fair 1983.

Source: Wetzel County West Virginia History 1983

Communities of Wetzel County