Dateline: Philippi, West Virginia, the site of the first land battle of the Civil War. From a press release:
Late last month, the City of Philippi installed its five-stop walking tour enabling visitors to follow in the footsteps of the Civil War’s first land battle. With its multiple stops, this tour is also a first for the multi-state Civil War Trails program. The new trail isn’t just about sharing stories from the past, it will be a large part of the region’s tourism profile.
The walking trail is the result of a partnership which worked tirelessly for over three years. Research, writing, consumer review, funding, and installation were all made possible by several individuals and organizations. Partners in the preparation include the City of Philippi, Philippi Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Barbour County, Civil War Trails, Inc., Linda Proudfoot, Lars Byrne, and Janey Kortas. Now with the signs installed the group can turn its attention to furthering its marketing of the town and its history.
The Civil War Trails network offers over 1,400 sites across six states. Marketed internationally by the municipal and state travel offices the economic impact of the program is strong. Visitors of all ages and interests add history to their travel itineraries resulting in patronage to local restaurants, shops, and lodgings as they explore. According to Secretary of Tourism, Chelsea Ruby, “We continue to see an interest from visitors looking to experience our rich history, and thanks to the Civil War Trails program, we’re able to market and promote over 150 sites to new travelers every day.”
Visitors exploring the Civil War Trails sites tend to spend just over $1,000 per trip as they enjoy an average of three days and two nights during their trip. Over the last two years, the self-guided, outdoor program was immensely popular helping drive the discussion and creation of the walking trail. Karen Larry, President of the Philippi CVB board, said, “Philippi’s Convention and Visitors Bureau sees the Civil War Trails addition to Philippi as an expansion of tourism offerings in our area. The CWT signs are yet one more way to ‘Get your fill in Philippi!’”
The five stops on the Philippi trail help detail not just the combat, as it happened, minute by minute but its impact on local residents and the positive legacy in veteran healthcare, especially the orthopedics that resulted from the battle. “This mini Civil War trail is well planned, accessible, and will be immensely popular,” said Drew Gruber, Executive Director of Civil War Trails, Inc. Gruber continued, “Coupled with the town’s new B&B, river assets, museum, and ABU’s athletics, visitors can now add the Civil War trail to make a perfect weekend retreat for visitors.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Civil War Trails walking tour will take place October 22 at 1:00 pm in Blue & Gray Park. Visitors are encouraged to begin exploring the new walking trail at the Blue & Gray Park located at the intersection of N. Main, Mansfield (119/250). From there, visitors will walk across the historic covered bridge to site two, following the maps provided on each site to each of the five sites.
For more information about visiting Philippi, please visit www.visitphilippiwv.com. To request a Civil War Trails brochure or for more information about the Civil War Trails program visit: civilwartrails.org or use: @civilwartrails.