Marion County’s largest city and county seat, Fairmont was first settled in the 1700s as farmland. The town’s name, originally Middletown, was changed to Fairmont because of the beautiful view of the Monongahela River that can be enjoyed from the town. Fairmont was formally established in 1820 by the Virginia Legislature. The town grew into an important commercial center because of its proximity to important railroad lines and the many coal mines in the area. Glass was the dominant industry in Fairmont during the early 20th century and brought workers from around the world.
Fairmont’s Country Club Bakery is where the pepperoni roll is said to have first been commercially produced, and Muriale’s Italian Kitchen, a longstanding eatery (try the spaghetti and meatballs!) can be found. William Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church (now Central United Methodist) where the first Father’s Day was observed is also located in the city. Visit the region’s only wave pool and FIDO’s Backyard dog park at East Marion Park. High Gate Carriage House is a national historic landmark in Fairmont that, in its heyday, hosted distinguished visitors such as President Taft. The residence was built by James Edwin Watson, son of “the father of the West Virginia coal industry, James O. Watson, and is the former location of the Tiffany Cup Tennis Tournament.
Fairmont is the hometown of Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton; writer John Knowles; Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams; the “Father of West Virginia,” Francis Pierpont (he and his wife, Julia Augusta Pierpont, three of their four children and other prominent individuals are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery) and several others. Fairmont is known for Fairmont State University, Pricketts Fort State Park, The Johnnie Johnson Blues Blue & Jazz Festival, West Virginia Three Rivers Festival, and a number of other special events, attractions, accommodations, and businesses.