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Westover History

Westover has a remarkable history. From the earliest days of settlement, Westover has embodied a spirit of pride and community. We are proud of our past and pleased to be at the cornerstone of what will certainly be a turning point in our City's history.


So as we experience unmatched prosperity in realizing our vision of ‘The City on the Rise!’ let’s take a moment to reflect on ten moments of our past. After all, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”

  1. Westover is on part of a tract of land that was purchased by Isaac Lemasters in 1772.

  2. Lemasters sold a part of this tract to Zackwell Morgan. The area was later named after him: Morgantown.

  3. Crossing the Monongahela River into what is now Westover was an extremely dangerous venture in the late 1700’s because it was exclusively Indian territory.

  4. Despite the constant danger, the earliest claim of settlement in what is now Westover came from a David Scott who professed to have settled there in 1768. However, a Joseph Doddridge (a frontiersman, writer, clergyman, and acquaintance of Theodore Roosevelt) contested that part of the land was his, having settled it himself. However, testimony during a suit over the land demonstrated that Doddridge regularly fled the area with his family because of fear of Indians. Therefore, he was unable to tend the land the required amount of time necessary to make a claim.

  5. A significant moment in Westover’s development occurred on January 26, 1807 when a ferry was authorized to cross the Monongahela River from Morgantown to what is now Westover. The cost of the ferry was 4 cents each way for every man or horse.

  6. An even more prominent development impacting Westover came on December 16, 1854 when a suspension bridge was built across the river. Spanning 610 feet, the bridge cost $43,000 to construct. Of that amount, $2,600 was paid to the ferry owner for his ferry franchise and land on the western shore of the river. This was a terrific feat because it permitted the safe crossing of the river in any weather and naturally shortened to time it took to cross. Note: You can still see a portion of the Westover side stone tower along the bank.

  7. During the Civil War, members of the Confederate Army crossed the bridge to allow their horses to graze on the lush grasses of Westover. The Confederates were inclined to burn the bridge but were dissuaded by a group of charming local females and/or the local Sheriff and a few men, depending on who tells the tale. The Confederates did take livestock and a horse owned by the Sheriff. Of course, they also cleaned Morgantown stores of shoes.

  8. Westover was once what a local resident called “big cattle country”. From July to October, livestock farmers ferried across the river four to six ferry loads of cattle each Saturday.

  9. On May 29, 1909, a more modern truss bridge was constructed and the suspension bridge was removed. For years, two trolley cars ran service across the bridge.

  10. From 1938 to 1954, Westover housed the only African-American High School in the county. Built with New Deal WPA funds, the school was dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt on May 27, 1938. The school remains in use today.

For historical photographs of Westover, be sure to check out these images from our past!

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