West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Gerald W. Sutphin to Present “West Virginia Rivers, Steamboats and River Improvements” in the Archives and History Library on Aug. 6


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Researcher, writer and historian Gerald W. Sutphin will present “West Virginia Rivers, Steamboats and River Improvements” on Tuesday, Aug. 6, in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The program will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The invention and development of the Western River steamboat set the stage for America’s Industrial Revolution, which transformed the United States and West Virginia. Sutphin will make a visual presentation on West Virginia rivers that were improved by the invention and development of the Western River steamboat in 1811.

The rivers in West Virginia flowing into the Ohio River, from the Monongahela to the Big Sandy, help explain the role that the state played in the development of river transportation, economic development, and social and cultural changes. Sutphin will discuss how steam packets, towboats, ferries and showboats impacted citizens and the growth of West Virginia.

Sutphin is recognized as one of the United States’ foremost inland rivers and river transportation historians. Since working for the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 20 years, he has been the owner/operator of a visual communication arts company for two decades and specializes as a consultant in the research, development and presentation of inland river projects such as museum exhibits, publications, and motion picture production.

Sutphin is the co-author of Sternwheelers on the Great Kanawha River, (Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1991); researcher, writer and producer of a 30-minute DVD history titled Two Hundred Years of Steamboating, 1811-2011; and researcher, writer and featured historian-on-film of The Great Kanawha, An American Story, which relates the history of the Kanawha River as it coincides with the history of the development of the United States.

On Aug. 6, the library will close at 5 p.m. and reopen at 5:45 p.m. for participants only. For planning purposes, participants are encouraged to register for the lecture, but advance registration is not required. To register in advance, contact Bobby Taylor, library manager, at Bobby.L.Taylor@wv.gov or at (304) 558-0230, ext. 163.

Participants interested in registering by e-mail should send their name, telephone number and the name and date of the session. For additional information, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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