The Virginia legislature established Middlebourne in 1813, a year before creating Tyler County. The name, so it is said, derives from the fact that the community was midway between Pennsylvania and the then-important Kanawha River saltworks. Over the years, growth has been slow. Middlebourne has come close to, but never exceeded, a population of 1,000. As the National Register nomination form states, Middlebourne's architecture “is that of small town America.” Commercial enterprises and financial institutions crowd together on Main Street near the courthouse. Farther along, commercial architecture gives way to ecclesiastical and residential. Well-tended yards shaded by large trees and houses with ample front porches are integral to an overall ambience more important than its individual ingredients.
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