Grafton, West Virginia could easily be considered an all-American town. With roots reaching back to the Revolutionary War, Grafton has stood strong across the test of time. Seeing vast poverty and falling far from it’s once high seat as a booming railroad town, above all else, this quaint mountain town with a population of just over 5,000 people has always felt like a second home to me.
See, I spent many of the summers of my childhood here. Up on the “hill,” stands the home my mom grew up in. Long before the days of indoor plumbing, that house has stood as a safe haven for those who lived there, and for me as a child, it was no different. No matter how bad things might have gotten back at home, being teased in school, I knew that the farm in Grafton would provide a safe place to land come summer.
The city itself offers a wealth of American history to any who seek it out. Home to the only two national cemeteries that exist in the state of West Virginia, Grafton silently protects the graves of countless Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam War veterans. Memorial Day is done right in this small town, in fact, Grafton was one of the first places to observe the holiday.
Another holiday that Grafton, West Virginia is well known for is Mother’s Day. In actuality, Mother’s Day was founded here, and the first Mother’s Day celebrated on May 10, 1908. Don’t forget to stop by the International Mother’s Day shrine when you visit.
Remnants of a time gone by can be found throughout the town’s narrow streets. Old cinema buildings, preserved tobacco advertisements painted upon brick walls, and the gorgeous old B&O Railroad depot stand as a testament to a time that once was. Driving by this depot as a child, I always imagined what it used to be like in its hay day. The railroad arrived in Grafton 1852, and made the small town a force to be reckoned with. Still a busy roadway for trains carrying goods, the tracks remain busy and in running order even though the depot closed for business long ago.
Regardless of why you come to Grafton, West Virginia, the beauty of the countryside and friendliness of the people who live here are sure to make you want to visit again.