Washington County (population 202,897) was created in 1781 and was the first county in America named in honor of Gen. George Washington. Thirteen years later, then-President Washington would call out the militia to quell a popular uprising in Washington County that has come to be known as the Whiskey Rebellion. David Bradford, noted attorney and community leader, was an organizer of the revolt against the federal excise tax on whiskey. Today, his home in the county seat of Washington has been preserved as a museum.
In the 19th century, Washington County prospered with the advent of new transportation routes and industries. The National Road, America’s first federally funded transportation system, ran through the county, connecting it to West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Later, the coming of the railroad sparked growth. Coal, glass, and steel became principal industries.
Washington County has almost 100 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, including several historic districts. Among the county’s historic properties are more than 20 covered bridges. These are celebrated in the annual Washington and Greene County Covered Bridge Festival. Each year, at least eight bridges are highlighted, with the proceeds of celebrations at the sites supporting various county organizations. Washington County has also developed a covered bridge driving tour.
Federal Transportation Enhancement funding has helped support several projects in Washington County. The B&O Railroad Station in Washington has been rehabilitated as the headquarters of the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency. The station at Avella is currently under restoration and will house a museum, library, and genealogical research facility.
Designated a Preserve America Community in July 2006.