Blaine Island has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Over the years, it has been the site of a gristmill, watermelon farm, amusement park, an air field and a chemical plant. It has even been traded for a rifle. Today ,the Dow Chemical Company continues to operate a chemical plant on the island, which has been on the site for nearly a century.
Backstory and Context
Blaine Island has shown indications of being inhabited since prehistoric times. The island is over a mile long and was surveyed to be 65 acres when Union Carbide bought it in 1927. The island is in the Kanawha River and is owned by the Union Carbide Corporation which is a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company.
In 1780, Fleming Cobb, one of the first white settlers of South Charleston, planted two pear trees on the island which survived into the 20th century. Cobb inherited the island from his uncle, Thomas Upton, and traded it to Charles Blaine for a flintlock rifle. The Blaine family raised watermelons on the island. In 1827 Charles Blaine built a gristmill on the island.
During the early part of the 20th century the island contained an amusement park and a beach for swimming on the upper end. The center of the island also contained an airfield and shows were performed for audiences.
After the island was purchased by Union Carbide in the 1920s, it became an important chemical production center. During WWII, it was so important that the Coast Guard patrolled the waters around the island on a 24-hour basis. Dow Chemical and Bayer still have chemical manufacturers on the island today (Andre, Web).
Andre, Richard A. “Blaine Island.” e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 31 July 2013. Web. 13 November 2015. http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/524
Finn, Scott "South Charleston." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 31 May 2013. Web. 09 November 2015. http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/518
Union Carbide Corporation. History. . Accessed April 26, 2018. http://www.unioncarbide.com/History.
Waters, J.. Blaine Island (also known as Carbide Island). . Accessed April 19, 2018. http://www.mywvhome.com/twenties/blaine.html.