Blizzard Mansion

Blizzard Mansion was a grand residence built circa 1920, at 2000 Pike Street, in south Parkersburg, W.Va., for Judge Reese Blizzard [1864-1941] and his second wife, Fannie H. Holland [1871-1922]. The judge was a hugely successful individual. According to History of West Virginia Old and New (Chicago: The American Historical Society, 1923), he taught school; worked on a farm; clerked in a store; was assistant in the circuit clerk's office; carried mail; practiced law; was elected circuit judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in 1896; was appointed in 1901 by President McKinley as United States district attorney for the State of West Virginia; was president of the Parkersburg Commercial Banking & Trust Co. and the Oil & Gas Company; was directly involved in the creation of five West Virginia fair grounds; owned and edited the Parkersburg Dispatch News; and participated in many other business ventures. When the mansion was built it was out in the country and was ideal for Blizzard's hobby of raising and racing pure-bred horses. The structure was two stories high, had a finished third floor ballroom which ran the length of the house, and a compartmentalized basement with several small rooms that served as "holding cells" for those not-so-law-abiding-citizens who had business to attend to with the judge. After the judge's death, the mansion was occupied by his son Paul and daughter-in-law Louise. After Paul's death, Louise continued to live there for many years. She eventually converted the second floor into rental apartments. The mansion was then purchased by Ralph Looney, owner of the nearby Ralph's Market, and used soley as rental property by the conversion of the first floor into additional apartments. In 2007, the Blizzard Mansion and surrounding property was purchased by Forth Foods of Huntington, W.Va., who had plans to develop the property into a new shopping complex. Those plans did not materialize. Despite public pleas and a petition to save the historic mansion, it was, nevertheless, scheduled for demolition on March 18, 2008. The mansion was open for public viewing on Sunday, March 9, 2008, during which time a surprisingly large crowd of an estimated 1500 people toured through it.

Historic Images