Friday, March 13, 2015

The Sistersville Ferry: In Need of a Little Help from its Friends

It has been one of my summer pleasures for the past 20 years. And it may go away. How said it would be to see the end of the Sistersville Ferry, a service in continuous operation for almost 200 years.

Will this be the fate of the Sistersville Ferry?

The ferry service began in 1817 and is one of only four ferries still in operation along the length of the Ohio River today--and the only one in West Virginia on this river. Think about what that means. It was here before West Virginia was a state, before the oil and gas boom of the late 19th century, before highways. It carried very early settlers across the river to build their cabins and trade with the natives. It has transported thousands of vehicles over the years. But now its fate is uncertain as the City of Sistersville is unable to come up with enough funds to keep it running.

Getting ready to board, on one of my many trips across the river.

Sistersville is a small town, and options for raising enough revenue for the ferry are limited. The Ferry Board has been working to come up with viable solutions but money is needed right now to open the ferry as usual for the spring season.

I've taken many of my family members to Sistersville to stay or dine at the Wells Inn and to enjoy the ride across the river. There is something about the simplicity of the mode of travel, the water lapping against the boat, the soft breeze, and the gently motion of the boat as it makes its way to the other shore. The ride is less than 15 minutes probably but it is one of the most restful experiences I know. The grandkids always wanted to ride the ferry when they came to visit. It is one of our best memories of their summer visits.

 The Sistersville Lions Club has come up with a timely fundraiser that could provide enough money to keep the ferry going for a while. The Lucky Hundreds raffle is an opportunity to win some cash while helping a good cause. Click on the image below to see it full size, and learn how you can be part of keeping the Sistersville Ferry afloat. I hope that the State of West Virginia will realize that the ferry is both a historical and economic benefit to our state and take steps to ensure its financial future. In the meantime, the Lions Club is to be applauded for taking action right now.

If you're interested in helping out, contact the numbers on the ferry, or contact me directly and I will steer you to the right people. And please do share this post. The Ferry needs all the friends it can get.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

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