April 14, 1928: W.Va Fish and Game Commission Purchased the First State Park

Observation tower at Droop Mountain State Park overlooking the Greenbrier River valley.

On April 14, 1928, the West Virginia Fish and Game Commission purchased Droop Mountain Battlefield in Pocahontas County. Three months later, Droop Mountain was dedicated as West Virginia’s first state park. In November 1863, one of the most important Civil War battles in West Virginia occurred at Droop Mountain, when Union forces repulsed one of the last major Confederate advances into West Virginia.

By the early 20th century, Droop Mountain had changed dramatically in appearance. The American chestnut tree blight, extensive logging, and a severe drought in the 1930s had left the mountain mostly barren and susceptible to forest fires.

Although the park had been dedicated in 1928, Droop Mountain didn’t really take on the appearance of a state park until 1935, when the Civilian Conservation Corps established Camp Prince on the mountain. CCC workers forged paths that highlighted battle graves, breastworks, and battlefield monuments. Other features of the park include picnic shelters, overnight cabins, a small Civil War museum, and an observation tower with a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. And today, the mountain is again lush with native trees.