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Belpre, Ohio
Belpre's oldest house, built in 1799
Belpre's oldest house, built in 1799
Motto(s): 
" Excellent Community Excellent People "
Location of Belpre, Ohio
Location of Belpre, Ohio
Location of Belpre in Washington County
Location of Belpre in Washington County
Country United States
State Ohio
County Washington
Area
 • Total 3.57 sq mi (9.24 km2)
 • Land 3.48 sq mi (9.03 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)
Elevation
614 ft (187 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 6,441
 • Estimate 
(2019)
6,386
 • Density 1,832.42/sq mi (707.53/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
45714
Area code(s) 740
FIPS code 39-05424
GNIS feature ID 1077518
Website https://www.cityofbelpre.com/
FarmersCastle
Farmer's Castle fortification at Belpre during the Northwest Indian War

Belpre (historically spelled Belpré; pronounced BEL-pree) is a city in Washington County, Ohio, United States, along the Ohio River near Parkersburg, West Virginia. Its name derives from "Belle Prairie" (French for "beautiful meadow"), the name given to the valley by French trappers prior to the first American settlement at the site.

Part of the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, the city is located about 14 miles (22 km) downriver from Marietta. In 1870 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad completed the Parkersburg Bridge (CSX) across the river; at 7,140 feet (2,180 m), it was reportedly the longest in the world.

The population was 6,441 at the 2010 census. Belpre was the second settlement founded in the Northwest Territory after Marietta. The city is home to the first library established in the Territory. Its public school hired the first female schoolteacher in Ohio.

History

The first settlement at Belpre was made in 1788. In 1845 railroad developers founded the Belpre and Cincinnati Railroad, but the destination was changed to Marietta, with a corresponding name change in 1851. For a considerable period of time, travelers had to go by steamboat to connect between Marietta and Parkersburg, Virginia; the latter received service from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1857. This was shortly before the western part of Virginia seceded in 1861 after the start of the American Civil War to form Unionist West Virginia. Belpre and Marietta were later connected by rail. Coal service is still active on this line.

From 1868-1870, the B&O built the Parkersburg Bridge (CSX) between West Virginia and Belpre, on its main line to St. Louis, Missouri. Designed by Jacob Linville, when completed in 1870 the bridge was reportedly the longest in the world at 7,140 feet (2,180 m). The bridge attracted more trade to the town, enabled shipping Ohio coal to the East Coast, and improved access on both sides of the river.

Developing in a different pattern from the more industrial cities of eastern Ohio, Belpre reached its peak of population in 1980. It has had some losses since then with the decline of heavy industry, but is relatively stable compared to the former industrial cities, which have lost half their residents since peaks in 1940 and 1950.

The Steven Soderbergh film Bubble (2006) was filmed in Belpre and Parkersburg, West Virginia, using an all-local cast.

Geography

Belpre is located at 39°16′49″N 81°35′6″W / 39.28028°N 81.58500°W / 39.28028; -81.58500 (39.280175, -81.585072).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.57 square miles (9.25 km2), of which 3.49 square miles (9.04 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.21 km2) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 911
1880 901 −1.1%
1890 1,007 11.8%
1910 1,249
1920 1,317 5.4%
1930 1,724 30.9%
1940 1,717 −0.4%
1950 2,451 42.7%
1960 5,418 121.1%
1970 7,189 32.7%
1980 7,193 0.1%
1990 6,796 −5.5%
2000 6,660 −2.0%
2010 6,441 −3.3%
2019 (est.) 6,386 −0.9%
Sources:

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 6,441 people, 3,053 households, and 1,788 families in the city. The population density was 712.5/sqmi (275.1/km2). There were 3,351 housing units at an average density of 370.7/sqmi (143.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.7% White, 2.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.

There were 3,053 households, of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.4% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.71.

The median age in the city was 44.7 years. 18.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.8% were from 25 to 44; 28.9% were from 45 to 64; and 20.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.7% male and 53.3% female.

Climate

The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Belpre has a Humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Belpre, Ohio
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5
(41)
6.7
(44)
11.7
(53)
18.3
(65)
23.9
(75)
28.3
(83)
30
(86)
29.4
(85)
26.1
(79)
19.4
(67)
12.8
(55)
6.7
(44)
18.3
(65)
Average low °C (°F) -4.4
(24)
-3.9
(25)
0.6
(33)
5.6
(42)
11.1
(52)
16.1
(61)
18.3
(65)
17.2
(63)
13.3
(56)
7.2
(45)
1.7
(35)
-2.8
(27)
6.7
(44)
Precipitation cm (inches) 8
(3)
7
(2.7)
9
(3.6)
8
(3.3)
10
(3.8)
10
(4.1)
11
(4.4)
9
(3.7)
7
(2.9)
6
(2.4)
7
(2.8)
7
(2.9)
100
(39.5)
Source: Weatherbase

Education

Belpre City School District operates one elementary school and one high school.

Belpre has a public library, a branch of the Washington County Public Library.

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