Mercer County, West Virginia
About the Mercer County Gardner Center

Formerly the home of the U.S. Forest Service's Forestry Sciences Laboratory, the Gardner Center stands as a monumental facility with historical significance. In 1961, the U.S. Forest Service worked with President John F. Kennedy to develop a center for the scientific study of forest products marketing and enhancing the hardwood forests of the Appalachian Mountain region. Construction began in 1962 and the Forestry Sciences Laboratory was dedicated in 1963.

In 2016, the Forestry Sciences Laboratory closed its doors and the Mercer County Commission acquired the property. Today, the Gardner Center is being converted into offices and business spaces which are available for lease to non-profit and not-for-profit organizations. The Mercer County Sheriff's Department, Public Service District, and Economic Development Authority are some of the organizations that occupy the facility. The Gardner Center's woodland area contains a scenic network of hiking trails that are available to the public.

The Gardner Center is located at 241 Mercer Springs Road, Princeton, West Virginia 24740 and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The hiking trails are open seven days a week (see the trail hours).

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A Site Dedicated to History and Public Service
A Historic Facility
The Gardner Center is a site dedicated to history and public service (photo credits).

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The Poor Farm Cemetery
The County Poor Farm
People who suffered economic loss often had nowhere else to turn except the poor farm.

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The Moon Tree
The "Moon" Tree
A tree that originated from seeds carried aboard the Apollo 14 lunar mission was planted at this location.

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Spider Web
Natural Treasures
A hiking adventure through the Gardner Center Trails is sure to unveil amazing wonders of the great outdoors.

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Projects and Improvements
Current Activities
Our staff is continuously doing things to enhance the Gardner Center.

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Welcome to Mercer County
Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Explore and enjoy Mercer County. Make it your travel destination!

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The Mercer County Gardner Center
241 Mercer Springs Road
Princeton, WV 24740

Mercer County Commission

Photo and video credits: Adobe Stock