During the Civil War, Union officials utilized Parkersburg because it was a major river port and the western terminus for the B&O railroad. Because of this, the military leaders decided that Parkersburg needed protection. In 1863, construction began on a hill overlooking the town, docks, and railroad terminal. Completed in 1864, leaders chose the name Fort Boreman in honor of West Virginia's newly elected first governor, Arthur I. Boreman, who hailed from Parkersburg. Luckily, the fort never encountered an attack by opposing forces.
A "pestilence house" also occupied part of the hill during the Civil War. Because the war allowed contagious diseases such as small pox to spread more easily, it became necessary to isolate victims of these diseases to prevent large outbreaks. In the pestilence house, patients waited to recover from or, more often, succumb to disease. The high mortality rate required a cemetery on the hill as well. The pestilence house and its cemetery were used until the 1920s.
Fort Boreman Hill also provided the forum for three of the county's last public hangings. In 1864, three men murdered Abram Deem for suspected traitorous activity. Deem had not been housing a Confederate, as the three murderers had thought. The men were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. The hangings occurred in 1866 on Fort Boreman Hill.
The historical importance of the area provided the motivating factor for the development of a public park on the site, which opened in 2007. The park features partially reconstructed Union Civic War fortifications, trenches, interpretive signage, picnic shelters and tables, a nature trail, and an overlook that offers dynamic views of Parkersburg and the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers.