Pat Smith

Princeton Railroad Museum Director Pat Smith points out places of interest and snippets of Princeton's past in this file photo from WV Day. 

PRINCETON — On Thursday evening, local historian and director of the Princeton Railroad Museum, Patricia “Pat” Smith will give the first in a series of historical presentations on Princeton at the Princeton Public Library.

PPL Director Sheena Johnson said last week,” Pat Smith will be starting a series of presentations on the history of Princeton, starting with the burning of Princeton during the Civil War.”

On May 1, 1862, following the skirmish at the Clark House in Camp Creek on April 29-30, Col. Walter Jenifer, commander of the 8th Virginia Cavalry , CSA, ordered the burning of military supplies stored in Princeton to avoid them falling into the hands of the advancing Union Army. The population of Princeton, strongly pro-Confederate , set fires which destroyed most of the buildings in town, including the second Mercer County Courthouse. Among the handful of buildings to escape the fire were the Dr. Robert Blaine McNutt House at the corner of Honaker Avenue and North Walker Street, saved reportedly by arriving Union forces; the Johnston-Honaker House (now demolished) on Honaker Avenue and “Aspenwald’ on North Walker Street, spared from burning because it was owned by a British national.

“She’ll also touch on other parts of local history over the next year.” Johnson said.

The event is free and open to the public and no registration is required.