Fun for the family

Residents celebrated with a buggy ride at the West Virginia Day at the Railroad Museum in 2017. Festivities this year includes trolley rides to historic places around town and re-enactors from different people in history along with music and food.

PRINCETON — The month of June is significant in West Virginia history as it is the month that President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 approved the petition for statehood.

While next Saturday, June 15, is actually five days before the official observance of West Virginia’s 156th birthday on June 20, the annual celebration of the day in Princeton will once again feature local history.

Princeton Railroad Museum Director Patricia Smith, the event’s organizer, said Tuesday, “This is the only day of the year that all four museums; the Princeton Railroad Museum, the Mercer County Agricultural Museum, the Mercer County Historical Society Museum and the ‘Those Who Served’ Mercer County War Museum, are open at the same time. A trolley will be running to all four museums plus the McNutt House and the Civil War graves on North Walker St. on a regular basis during the celebration which is from 12 to 5 p.m.

In addition to the museum tour, she said, the event will feature a petting zoo, a horse and wagon ride, artists painting, historical re-enactors portraying author Mark Twain, Union President and First Lady Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln and Native American Seltoee, a bounce house, the oldest and newest Princeton Fire Department trucks, a police dog demonstration plus arts and crafts and food vendors. All except the arts and crafts and food vendors are free of charge.

“We’ll be unveiling the mural painted by Elizabeth Hearn, Frances McAfee and Carolyn Musick of the two Virginias, and the Virginian Railroad and will be opening the model railroad room so that people can see the progress that Dan Hosier (the designer) has made,” she said.

Smith, who is also the County Historian, will be riding the trolley and speaking about the history of Princeton.

She said, “For those people who haven’t been to one of our observances, they can get a good indication of the history of Princeton and how important the railroad was to the growth of it. At its peak, the railroad shops alone employed some 1,300 people.”

Contact Jeff Harvey at

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