Switchbacks & Wagon Tracks: Voices of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike




The rugged mountains of western Virginia were settled by hearty souls whose lives were very different from those on the large plantations of eastern Virginia. Transportation was difficult but essential. Improved roads to bring in supplies and to export goods to market were the lifeblood of these frontier communities.

The political and logistical difficulties that had to be overcome to build the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike illustrated many of the challenges and difficulties of mountain life and set the stage for the bloody conflict to come in the American Civil War. The story of building the Turnpike, along with the railroads in its wake, shows how vital such transportation arteries were to the life and growth of western Virginia.

You are invited to witness the evolution of animal and Indian trails into the region’s premier highway linking western Virginia from the Shenandoah Valley to the Ohio River. Listen to the tales of early transportation, trade, and migration across the Allegheny Mountains in this gripping audio history from the Voices of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike.

“A wonderful mix of oral history and traditional music and song. Quality of musicianship and singing is excellent. A must buy for those interested in West Virginia history and music. Possibly the most important recording regarding West Virginia’s history of settlement since “Gauley Mountain.” Quality of the recording and packaging are excellent, both for the CD and the audio cassette version.”

– John Blisard, West Virginia musician and professional involved in music performance and production

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