As an organization devoted to history and historic preservation, we try to keep in touch with our roots, both to remind us of how far we've come and how far we have to go.
Point Pleasant was settled in the aftermath of the Battle of Point Pleasant, fought here in 1774 between colonists and Native American tribes, and experienced several periods of major growth. The coming of the railroad in 1886, construction of the Silver and Shadle Bridges in the 1920s, and war boom from 1941-'45 all had an enormous impact on our Main Street and led to the construction of many buildings still standing today.
After the Silver Bridge collapsed in 1967, the decision was made to build the new Silver Memorial Bridge just south of town in Henderson as part of a proposed four-lane freeway. Though nearing completion today and a major boon to Point Pleasant, at the time the bypass was nearly fatal for our downtown. By the time the Ohio Street stockyard closed in the late 1980s, businesses were closing left and right, and the historic downtown's future was uncertain.
In 1988, inspired by the success of Main Street America programs elsewhere, a group of dedicated local citizens came together to found Main Street Point Pleasant, supported by the city and state governments. Through a major grassroots effort, in 1989 ours became one of the first chartered Main Street programs in West Virginia and the oldest program still operating today.
Since then, our organization has directed $9,000,000 in public investment toward our historic downtown through projects such as the facade improvement program, downtown streetscape, Point Pleasant Riverfront Park, Lord Dunmore's War murals, Hartley Square, Mothman Statue, and more.
When we were founded in 1989, almost 3/4th of Main Street was vacant... Today, after heavy investment, business recruitment, and major marketing campaigns, our downtown is the busiest it has been since the 1970s! New Small businesses are opening every year, tourists are visiting in ever increasing numbers, and locals are once again taking pride in their Main Street.
But, that isn't to say everything is finished or there’s nothing else to do. As they say, there is always room for improvement, and there are dozens of good ideas and projects out there, some already started and some still only vague daydreams.
List of Main Street Point Pleasant Directors:
Al Aldorfer, 1989-
Max Earley, -1999
Tracy Call, 1999-2001
Charles Humphries, 2001-2021
Christopher Rizer, 2021-
A mostly vacant and blighted Main Street in the early 1990s.
28, 305, 400, and 515 Main Street (Before).
28, 305, 400, and 515 Main Street (After).