Sistersville, WV (WVDN) – In Tyler County, West Virginia, in the small town of Sistersville, operates the last Ferry that crosses the Ohio River from West Virginia to Ohio. In 1817 the Ferry service began between Tyler County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and Monroe County, Ohio. For over two centuries, yes centuries, the Ferry service has transported farm animals, wagons, cars, pedestrians, and merchandise back and forth across the Ohio River. Over the years the Ferry service has had several owners and operators, with the City of Sistersville assuming ownership in 1981.
A seven-member board of directors has worked conscientiously over the last decade to develop fundraising ideas to help cover the cost of operating the Ferry. In 2023 alone the Ferry needed a rebuilt transmission at a cost of $27,000, a Coast Guard-required dry dock inspection costing $20,000, marine insurance policies costing $22,000, fuel expense of over $10,000, hull repairs estimated to cost approximately $15,000, and excavation work at the Fly, OH Landing totaling $4,000. Unanticipated expenses such as the transmission and hull repairs are a significant financial challenge.
The Sistersville Ferry Board of Directors knows that the people of West Virginia and Ohio are willing to help preserve this great asset serving the Mid-Ohio Valley. So, the Board created a Sistersville Ferry Endowment Fund last spring with the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley (CFOV). The goal of the endowment fund is to establish a growing pool of money from which annual distributions will be made to defray Ferry operating costs. The growth of the fund will occur as area benefactors make donations to sustain the Ferry’s longtime service and historic value.
Residents of West Virginia, Ohio, and other states who are interested in preserving the heritage of the Ferry can explore two options to show their support. The first is to make a donation directly to the Ferry operations. To do this a donor can either mail a check to: Sistersville Ferry, 200 Diamond Street, Sistersville, WV 26175 with a memo showing 2024 Ferry Operations, or they can call the City of Sistersville and make a donation using their credit card. The phone number for the City Recorder’s office is 304-652-6361. The second option is to visit the CFOV website www.cfov.org and click on the Donate button at the top of the page. Then, enter Sistersville Ferry Endowment Fund in the Search bar and follow the prompts. Gifts to Ferry operations or the endowment fund can be deducted on your federal income taxes while helping to preserve the Ferry’s legacy. The Sistersville Ferry Board of Directors appreciates any and all donations to help sustain its vital, historic role in serving the Mid-Ohio Valley with the last remaining ferry service between West Virginia and Ohio.
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