Accessible from major highways I-77, US 50, and Corridor D, Belpre is a short 15-minute drive south of Marietta. Two bridges span the majestic Ohio River carrying travelers from West Virginia into Belpre along the Ohio River National Scenic Byway.
Established in 1789 as “Belle Prairie,” Belpre is the second permanent American settlement in the Northwest Territory. Around 1796 the good citizens of Belpre established the first library in the Northwest Territory, which included the private library of Colonel Israel Putnam. Belpre is also the home of the first female schoolteacher in Ohio.
With a population of approximately 7,000, the city prides itself on its 30 acres of parklands. Civitan Park, located on the banks of the Ohio River overlooking historic Blennerhassett Island, is transformed each year into all things that sparkle during the Holiday Lights Festival from Thanksgiving through New Years. During the second weekend of August nearly 40,000 people descend upon Belpre for the annual Belpre Invitational Homecoming Celebration, a tradition for generations. In October, Howes Grove Park is host to a good old-fashioned Apple Butter Stir-Off.
Farmers Castle Museum and Educational Center offers a glimpse into the past by showcasing artifacts from Belpre’s historic beginnings. A permanent installation of the region’s Underground Railroad history recounts the heroic story of the flight to freedom sought by thousands of fugitive slaves.
Stahl’s Christmas Shop and Art Gallery is located in Little Hocking six miles south of Belpre on the Ohio River National Scenic Byway (State Route 7). Thomas Stahl’s Art Gallery showcases original oil paintings and limited edition color lithographs featuring riverboats, scenes from the Cape Hatteras area, lighthouses, Indian scenes, and scenes of historical interest are on display and available for purchase.