Opening of Terra Alta-Kingwood Road

Preston County Journal
September 11, 1924

Will Stage Big Celebration Today


Hundreds of people from all parts of the county are expected to participate in a monster celebration at Caddell today when the Kingwood-Terra Alta state highway will be formally opened. An all-day program of exercises has been arranged which includes many events of interest.

At the Caddell bridge at 10:30 this morning brief exercises will be held formally opening the road to traffic. Following this the big crowd of people will go to the state rifle range near Caddell where an all-day celebration of the completion of the new road wil[l] be staged. Included in the day's activities will be a ball game, basket picnic, airplane rides, band music and various athletic events that wil[l] hold the interest of the crowd until late afternoon.

The completion of the road a short time ago marked the end of a contract which has been in the hands of the Monongahela Construction company of Fairmont, for more than two years. Some work was done on the project in 1922 while the entire road building season last year was utilized and at the beginning of the building season this summer the contractors were on the road early and stayed late.

The road is of bituminous macadam conforming to the standard set by the road commission. There is a base of broken stone eight inches deep and on top of this is a four-inch course of crushed stone rolled to a thickness of three inches and filled with an asphalt binder, making a road of 11 inches of crushed stone. The improvement is 16 feet wide and widened more on the curves, while the grading is to a width of 28 feet. The cost of construction is estimated at $250,000.

Nine miles of improved road winding up the picturesque mountain traversing historical points and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world has been constructed connecting West Virginia and Maryland.

Because of the unusual height to which the road ascends the new construction reaches about nine per cent grade in some instances, which figure is the maximum grade set by the West Virginia state road commission.

The road leads from the outskirts of Kingwood to Terra Alta and joins with a concrete road built from that point to the Maryland state line some years ago. This stretch was built out of the bond issue of Portland district, Preston county, and the road is 15 feet wide. From the state line there is a stretch of about two miles in Maryland which is not improved but which is under contract with every hope that it will be finiished [sic] this fall. This will join the hard surface to Oakland and the National pike.

The road from Kingwood to Terra Alta is a part of the old Winchester and Morgantown turnpike which was perhaps the first road designated in this section.

The turnpike which is older than the Northwestern pike and the Brandonville-Fishing Creek pike, was the main route from Oakland through King's Wood, to Morgantown. Over it trundled the first wagon to penetrate this section of the country from the east.

One of the first settlers in the Preston county section was a Fairfax from Virginia and for many years the site of the present bridge at Caddell was known as Fairfax ferry.

Another historical point along the route of the improved road is the old Rag Tavern situated well up the mountain about three miles from Terra Alta. Parts of the old structure are still standing. No spot in this section of the country was better known in the early days than Rag's Tavern, as it was there that the stage coach stopped for horse relays, where the travelers feasted and slept and where much of the history of the newly settled country was made.

Another landmark along the new road is the Briery Mountain Spring, for more than 100 years a watering place for man and beast. Gushing from the fastness of the mountain, the spring has been known for the quality of the water and its never-failing supply.

Recognizing its value the state road commission in constructing the road has preserved it by installing a permanent concrete watering trough and it will be marked by an appropriate inscription.

Throughout the entire rote of the new road are historical spots and beautiful scenery and with the completion of the road from Morgantown which is hoped to be a project for next year, routes from Pennsylvania and other sections of the country will be linked with Maryland and the National pike over one of northern West Virginia's most picturesque highways.