Bluestone State Park is home to Bluestone Lake, the third largest body of water in the state. The huge lake is formed by a dam on the New River, which was built in the 1940s. Construction was begun in 1942, but suspended during World War II, so it wasn’t finished until 1948. Almost immediately people recognized the recreation potential of the lake, and started planning marinas and restaurants. The Army Corp of Engineers originally had control of the lake and surrounding land, but in 1950 leased a large section of land to the West Virginia Conservation Commission, which would lead to making the lake area into a State Park. Throughout the 1950s cabins were built and a new entrance road made the area easier to access. Despite having plenty of water, the lake’s water quality wasn’t suitable for swimming due to sedimentation and upstream coal washing operations, so a swimming pool was constructed in 1961. That pool went on to become the first racially integrated pool in West Virginia, making it an attraction for African American communities in southern West Virginia.
Bluestone State Park gets its name for the layers of bluish-gray shale in rock formations. It now totals 2100 acres, and contains seven trails. A popular destination for boaters, fishers and other visitors, the park had an economic significance of $3,189,731 in 2015.