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From left to right: WVLT Director of Marketing and Communications Jessica Spatafore, TAC Easter Regional Director Kelley Berliner, archaeologists Stephen and Kim McBride, WVLT Executive Director Brent Bailey, and WVLT Landscape Architect Mike Blackburn.
Photo credit: W. Hunter Lesser


The Archaeological Conservancy (TAC) and the West Virginia Land Trust (WVLT), co-owners of the Arbuckle’s Fort archaeological preserve, held a ribbon-cutting pn April 27, 2024 to officially open the property to the public. This 23-acre parcel contains the remains of an 18th-century frontier fort that was constructed to protect European settlers from attacks by Native Americans—a site important for understanding complex relationships between different populations during a tumultuous era. 

While the fort served as a place of safety during raids, it also likely served as a community gathering place. It was later reoccupied during the American Revolution. Much of what we know about the fort comes from excavations undertaken by archaeologists Kim Arbogast McBride and W. Stephen McBride, who exposed the fort’s stockade line and a number of features during a dig in the 1990s. The land is also the former site of Blaker Mill, which was dismantled and rebuilt at Jackson’s Mill Historic Area. The parcel also contains portions of Muddy and Mill creeks that provide habitats for a number of animal species. 

WVLT and TAC closed on the property in 2020, and since then have developed a parking area and trail with interpretive signs. The main entrance sign details rules about visiting the property, as well as historical documentation detailing the perspectives of colonial settlers and Native people who lived in the region. Contributions to the panels were made by the Shawnee Tribe.