Morgantown is a city in and the county seat of Monongalia County, West Virginia. Situated along the banks of the Monongahela River, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia, and the base of the Morgantown, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. It has a permanent population of 29,660 per the 2010 census, with West Virginia University adding several thousand seasonal residents to the city and surrounding area from September through May. Morgantown is best known as the home of West Virginia University and the one-of-a-kind Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system.
Morgantown is closely tied to the Anglo-French struggle for this territory. Until the Treaty of Paris in 1763, what is now known as Morgantown was greatly contested by settlers and Native Americans, and by the British and the French. The treaty decided the issue in favor of the British, but Indian fighting continued almost to the beginning of the American Revolution.
Zackquill Morgan, son of Morgan Morgan, and his brother David entered the area of Virginia that would become Morgantown in about 1767, although others such as Thomas Decker are recorded as attempting settlements in the area earlier or at about the same time. As well, several forts were built in the area during this time: Fort Pierpont near the Cheat River, in 1769; Fort Coburn, near Dorsey's Knob, in 1770. Fort Morgan, at the present site of Morgantown, in 1772; Fort Dinwiddle, north several miles at Stewartstown, in 1772; Fort Martin, several miles north on the Monongahela River, in 1773; Fort Burris in the present-day Suncrest area of Morgantown, in 1774; and Fort Kern in the present-day Greenmont area of Morgantown, in 1774, in addition to other, smaller forts.
Zackquill Morgan settled the area about 1772 by establishing a homestead near present-day Fayette Street and University Avenue. Morgan fought in both the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War, rising to the rank of colonel. By 1783, following his wartime duties, Colonel Morgan commissioned Major William Haymond to survey his land and divide it into streets and lots. Colonel Morgan then received a legal certificate for in the area of his settlement near the mouth of Decker's Creek. were appropriated for Morgan's Town by the Virginia General Assembly in October 1785. On February 3, 1838, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a municipal charter incorporating the city, now with a population of about 700, as Morgantown, Virginia. The town became part of the newly created state of West Virginia on June 20, 1863, through the Reorganized Government of Virginia.
Notable early structures still standing in Morgantown as of 2012 include the Old Stone House, built in 1795 by Jacob Nuce on Long Alley (the modern-day Chestnut Street) and the John Rogers family home on Foundry Street, built in 1840 and occupied as of 2011 by the Dering Funeral Home.
Personal Rapid Transit System
During the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Transportation built an experimental personal rapid transit system in the city, citing the area's variable seasonal climates and geographic elevations as factors in testing the technology's viability. The Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) has been in use since 1975. University students use the system for free to travel between the spread-out campuses.