The state legislature formed Monroe County on Jan. 29, 1813, from parts of Washington, Guernsey and Belmont counties. Settlers had established the county's first permanent community in 1791 and in 1804 a ferry had begun crossing the Ohio River from that settlement to Sistersville, Virginia (now West Virginia).
Many German and Swiss immigrants came to Monroe County to establish communities on government land. The first two such settlements were in Switzerland and Ohio townships. The soil was poor, but the German and Swiss farmers toiled the land diligently.
Monroe County's oil boom holds an important place in its history and economic development. Entrepreneurs dug a well in 1891 that opened one of the largest pools in the nation. At the turn of the century, the principal pools in Monroe County were Sistersville (on both sides of the Ohio River), Jackson Ridge, Graysville and Moose Ridge. According to the Buckeye Pipe Line Company, 300 producing wells in the area yielded 55,000 barrels of oil per month during the summer of 1901.
Monroe County has been called "The Switzerland of Ohio" because of its rugged terrain and the cultural influences of its early Swiss immigrants. The county seat is Woodsfield.
Business Growth and Potential
Located south of 1-70 and east of 1-77, Monroe County is situated within 500 miles of almost half the population in the United States. The county provides excellent proximity to major cities such as Pittsburgh (90 miles northeast) Columbus (120 miles west) and Cleveland (150 miles north). Its eastern boundary is the Ohio River, which provides economical transport of bulk commodities. The 85-acre Monroe County Commerce Park, located in an enterprise zone, offers an ideal setting for a wide variety of light manufacturing and business uses.
- Monroe County Government
- Riesbecks Food Markets
- Safe Auto Insurance Co.
- Switzerland of Ohio Local Board of Education
- Woodsfield Nursing Center
- Arbors / Woodsfield Nursing Home
Monroe County offers a variety of educational opportunities related to workforce development. For example, the Eastern Ohio Quality Forum headquartered at Ohio University Eastern in St. Clairsville works with companies in the upper Ohio Valley to develop certified quality procedures for smaller manufacturers in the region. Vocational and technical schools include: Swiss Hills Career Center, Belmont Technical College, Washington State Community College and West Virginia Northern Community College. County residents also are served by institutions of higher learning such as Marietta College, Wheeling Jesuit, West Liberty, Bethany College and the main campus of Ohio University in Athens.
Tourism and Lifestyle
State Route 78 and State Route 26 in Monroe County have been acclaimed as two of the top ten roads named by Car and Driver Magazine. In addition, State Route 26 and State Route 7 have been designated as National Scenic Byways.
Recreation and Attractions
- Hannibal Pool & Tennis Complex
- Kiedaisch Point Park
- Lamping Homestead
- 4-H Park Kids "R" Kids
- Monroe Lake and Wildlife Area
- Monroe Park & Marina
- Piatt Park
- Shadow Lake Campground & Resort
- Stafford Park
- Veteran's Memorial Community Park
- Wayne National Forest
Attractions and Points of Interest
- The Bowen Family Farm
- Fly / Sisterville Ferry
- Foraker Covered Bridge
- George Washington Marker
- Kindelberger Stone House and Barn
- Knowlton Covered Bridge
- Matchstick Jack Memorial Museum
- Monroe County, Ohio Bicentennial Barn
- Parry Museum, One Room Schoolhouse, and Dairy Barn
- Raven Rocks
- Ring Mill
- River's Edge Activities Center
- Straightfork Farm Alpacas