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Parkersburg, West Virginia
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Parkersburg is a small town on the Ohio River with a primarily industrial heritage, serving as a transportation gateway between the eastern seaboard and the Midwest/Great Lakes regions. Marietta, located across the river, is another industrial town with more of a historic flavor, while Vienna, West Virginia is a suburb just north of Parkersburg. Both, aside from a few historic attractions, have relatively plain downtown and residential areas.
Nearby oil and gas fields supply resources to local chemical, plastics, and glass companies. DuPont, Borg-Warner, Ashland, Goodyear, Shell, and Union Carbide all produce plastics nearby. Significant numbers of smaller companies engage in glassmaking, both for commercial and artistic purposes. The cyclical economic base is diversifying somewhat with clothing and food distribution, as large companies begin to recognize the area’s access to the East Coast, Midwest, and South.
Parkersburg is located at the confluence of the Little Kanawha and Ohio rivers. A series of wooded ridges parallel the rivers and rise as much as 150 feet above the valley floor. The climate is humid continental with frequent weather changes because of the location along major storm tracks. Summers are warm and humid. The ridges can block wind and create muggy conditions, but prolonged hot or cold weather is infrequent. Rain occurs year-round and snowfall varies greatly from year to year. The area is the farthest north where tender vegetation such as magnolias can survive most winters. First freeze is mid-October, last is late April.
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