The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Red House, West Virginia

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Red House Shoals (WV) Historical Marker
Red House, in central Putnam County, is a small incorporated community located on the lower Kanawha River opposite the town of Winfield, WV, seat of government of Putnam County. Routes WV-34 and WV-62 join at Red House, one of the county's most important modern crossroads. Settled in 1796, it is the oldest existing community in the Kanawha Valley between Charleston and Point Pleasant.

The Red House Shoals between Winfield and Red House were among the most significant barriers to river transportation on the lower river between Charleston and the mouth of the Kanawha River at the Ohio River. In 1819, the steamboat Robert Thompson failed to navigate the shoals, leading the Virginia General Assembly to pass an act that provided for the improvement of the river into the interior of the western commonwealth. By 1823 boats could safely navigate the river upstream to Charleston, and by 1830 tow boats with barges could safely export valuable cargoes of salt from the upper valley.