Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.
Many who grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, before the construction of Pullman Square, remember when that location was a vacant lot known as the “Superblock” which lasted from Urban Renewal in the 1970s through the early 2000s.
For those in authority with a vested interest in building the downtown tax base, the Superblock was a blight on the city. But for many others, the Superblock was also home to “Cruise Avenue” where teenagers and young adults would meet to socialize around cars and hot rod culture.
According to James E. Casto for The Herald-Dispatch, the trend of “cruising” downtown started on Fourth Avenue in the mid-1980s. However, local businesses soon complained that the ruckus was driving away costumers, so Mayor Bobby Nelson moved it to a paved section of road in the middle of the Superblock between Eighth and Tenth Streets. The move was quite controversial, but Mayor Nelson defended it as an investment in the city’s youth. Sadly, for those who regularly attended, Cruise Avenue was shut down in the early 2000s by Mayor David Felinton when development began on the Pullman Square lifestyle center.
However, on September 4, 2022, Cruise Avenue will return to Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington for one night thanks to the efforts of State Senator Mark R. Maynard for what he hopes will be an annual event.
The first installment in 2022 will begin at 6 p.m. between Eighth and Tenth Streets on Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington. Free metered street parking will be available on a first come, first serve basis for those who would rather park than cruise.
There is no charge to cruise or park at this event. For more information, contact State Senator Mark R. Maynard at (304) 360-6272.