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Saving A Local Treasure

By Staff | Jul 13, 2011

The Sistersville Ferry carries the distinction of being the oldest ferry in continuous operation on a section of river called the Long Reach, notably one of the Ohio’s rare straight sections, measuring approximately 20-miles in length.

Established by the state legislature on January 28, 1818, the ferry service was instrumental in helping Sistersville’s economy to prosper, ensuring the town’s survival as a viable community in its early years.

In 1891, when the river town emerged from obscurity to become the oil capital of the world, the ferryboat served as an essential means of transportation between the banks of the Ohio – connecting two towns that share a common oil boom history.

Today, the daily ferry service continues under the operation of the City of Sistersville although the hours of operation have been cut back. The current boat, the City of Sistersville II, was purchased for $780,000 with the help of funds procured through a federal grant and matching state funds. The boat was christened in Sept. 1999 and is the newest in a long line of ferryboats that have provided shore-to-shore service for passersby and residents of Tyler and Monroe Counties for 190 years.

The ferry is indeed a county treasure. Sadly, there are those among us who are striving to do away with the historic vessel.

We challenge you to show your support for the Sistersville Ferry with a “letter to the editor” campaign. Furthermore, when the boat is back in service, we urge you to utilize it whenever possible.