The northernmost portion of Mason County is located within the “Great Bend” of the Ohio River. The area encompasses the largest of the ten pre-Revolutionary land grants that George Washington surveyed and patented in accord with Virginia's promise to provide 200,000 acres to volunteers “in His Majesty's service.” From its agricultural beginnings, the bend developed industrially in the pre–Civil War period with coal mines and salt furnaces. New Haven and Mason are the largest towns, followed by Hartford. All were established in the 1850s. Of the three, Hartford best maintains a flavor of the past. Along Front Street, facing the Ohio, several frame houses provide a glimpse of the town's former prosperity.
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