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State of West Virginia
Flag of West Virginia State seal of West Virginia
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): Mountain State
Motto(s): Montani semper liberi (mountaineers are always free)
before statehood, known as
the Virginia
Map of the United States with West Virginia highlighted
Official language(s) none (de facto English)
Demonym West Virginian
Capital Charleston
Largest city Charleston
Largest metro area Charleston metro area
Area  Ranked 41st in the US
 - Total 24,230 sq mi
(62,755 km2)
 - Width 130 miles (210 km)
 - Length 240 miles (385 km)
 - % water 0.6
 - Latitude 37° 12′ N to 40° 39′ N
 - Longitude 77° 43′ W to 82° 39′ W
Population  Ranked 37th in the US
 - Total 1,819,777 (2009 est.)[1]
 - Density 75.1/sq mi  (29.0/km2)
Ranked 27th in the US
 - Median income  $38,029 (48th)
Elevation  
 - Highest point Spruce Knob[2]
4,863 ft  (1,427 m)
 - Mean 1,500 ft  (460 m)
 - Lowest point Harpers Ferry[2]
240 ft  (73 m)
Admission to Union  June 20, 1863 (35)
Governor Joe Manchin (D)
Lieutenant Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D)[3]
U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd (D)
Jay Rockefeller (D)
U.S. House delegation 1: Alan Mollohan (D)
2: Shelley Moore Capito (R)
3: Nick Rahall (D) (list)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations WV US-WV
Website http://wv.gov

West Virginia (Listeni /ˌwɛst vərˈɪnjə/) is a state in the Appalachian and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, and Pennsylvania and Maryland to the northeast. The capital and largest city is Charleston.

West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions, breaking away from Virginia during the American Civil War. The new state was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state. West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state, and was one of only two states formed during the American Civil War (the other one being Nevada, which separated from Utah Territory).

The Census Bureau considers West Virginia part of the South, as most of the state is south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton being just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70 miles from North Carolina and Harper's Ferry is considered to be a part of the Washington metropolitan area. The unique position of West Virginia means that it is often included in a wide variety of geographical regions, including the Upland South, the Southeastern United States and even the Northeastern United States. Notably, it is the only state which entirely lies within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is a common definition of "Appalachia".[4]

The state is noted for its mountains and diverse topography, its historically-significant logging and coal mining industries, and its political and labor history. It is one of the most densely karstic areas in the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving and scientific research. The karst lands contribute to much of the state's cool trout waters. It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and hunting.

Contents

Geography and environment

Shaded relief map of the Cumberland Plateau and Ridge-and-valley Appalachians.
The summit of Spruce Knob is often covered in clouds.

West Virginia is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north; by Ohio to the north and west; by Kentucky to the west; by Maryland to the north and east; and by Virginia to the east and south. The Ohio and Potomac rivers form parts of the boundaries.

West Virginia is located entirely within the Appalachian Mountain range and all areas are mountainous; for this reason it is nicknamed The Mountain State and also is partially the reason why its motto is "mountaineers are always free." About 75% of the state is within the Cumberland Plateau and Allegheny Plateau regions. Though the relief is not high, the plateau region is extremely rugged in most areas. The average elevation of West Virginia is approximately 1,500 feet (460 m) above sea level, which is the highest of any US state east of the Mississippi River.

On the eastern state line with Virginia, high peaks in the Monongahela National Forest region give rise to an island of colder climate and ecosystems similar to those of northern New England and eastern Canada. The highest point in the state is atop Spruce Knob, at 4,863 ft (1,482 m),[2] is covered in a boreal forest of dense spruce trees at altitudes above 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Spruce Knob lies within the Monongahela National Forest and is a part of the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area.[5] A total of six wilderness areas can also be found within the forest. Outside the forest to the south, the New River Gorge is a 1,000 feet (300 m) deep canyon carved by the New River. The National Park Service manages a portion of the gorge and river that has been designated as the New River Gorge National River, one of only 15 rivers in the U.S. with this level of protection.

Other areas under protection and management include:

The native vegetation for most of the state was originally mixed hardwood forest of oak, chestnut, maple, beech, and white pine, with willow and American sycamore along the state's waterways. Many of the areas are rich in biodiversity and scenic beauty, a fact that is appreciated by native West Virginians, who refer to their home as Almost Heaven (from the song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads") even though John Denver's geography barely resembles West Virginia. Before the song, it was known as "The Cog State" (Coal, Oil, and Gas) or "The Mountain State." Ecologically, most of West Virginia falls into the Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests ecoregion.

The underlying rock strata are sandstone, shale, bituminous coal beds, and limestone laid down in a near shore environment from sediments derived from mountains to the east, in a shallow inland sea on the west. Some beds illustrate a coastal swamp environment, some river delta, some shallow water. Sea level rose and fell many times during the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian eras, giving a variety of rock strata. The Appalachian Mountains are some of the oldest on earth, having formed over 300 million years ago.

Climate

The climate of West Virginia is a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa) in some of the lower elevations, primarily in the southwestern portion of the state (including Huntington and Charleston), along with parts of the Eastern Panhandle east of the Appalachians with hot, humid summers and milder winters. The rest of the state generally has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa, except Dfb at the higher elevations) with warm to hot, humid summers and cool to cold winters, increasing in severity with elevation. Some southern highland areas also have a mountain temperate climate (Koppen Cfb) where winter temperatures are more moderate and summer temperatures are somewhat cooler. However, the weather is subject in all parts of the state to change. The hardiness zones range from zone 5b in the central Appalachian mountains to zone 7a in the warmest parts of the lowest elevations. In the Eastern Panhandle and the Ohio River Valley temperatures are warm enough to see and grow subtropical plants such as Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Crepe Myrtle, Albizia julibrissin, American Sweetgum and even the occasional needle palm and sabal minor. These plants do not thrive as well in other parts of the state. The Eastern prickly pear grows well in many portions of the state.

Average January temperatures range from around 26°F (-4°C) near the Cheat River to 41°F (5°C) along sections of the border with Kentucky. July averages range from 67°F (19°C) along the North Branch Potomac River to 76°F (24°C) in the western part of the state. It is cooler in the mountains than in the lower sections of the state.

Annual precipitation ranges from less than 32 inches (81 cm) in the lower eastern section to more than 56 inches (140 cm) in higher parts of the Allegheny Front. Slightly more than half the rainfall occurs from April to September. Dense fogs are common in many valleys of the Kanawha section, especially the Tygart Valley. West Virginia is also one of the cloudiest states in the nation, with the cities of Elkins and Beckley ranking 9th. and 10th. in the U.S. respectively for the number of cloudy days per year (over 210). In addition to persistent cloudy skies caused by the damming of moisture by the Alleghenies, West Virginia also experiences some of the most frequent precipitation in the nation, with Snowshoe averaging nearly 200 days a year with either rain or snow. Snow usually lasts only a few days in the lower sections but may persist for weeks in the higher mountain areas. An average of 34 inches (86 cm) of snow falls annually in Charleston, although during the winter of 1995–1996 more than three times that amount fell as several cities in the state established new records for snowfall. Average snowfall in the Allegheny Highlands can range up to 180 inches (460 cm) per year. Severe weather is somewhat less prevalent in West Virginia than in most other eastern states, and it ranks among the least tornado-prone states east of the Rockies.

Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various West Virginia cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Beckley 39/22 43/25 52/32 62/41 71/49 77/57 80/61 79/60 73/54 63/42 52/34 43/26
Charleston 43/24 47/27 57/34 67/42 75/50 82/58 85/63 84/62 77/55 67/43 56/35 47/28
Elkins 39/18 44/20 53/27 63/35 72/44 78/53 82/58 80/57 74/50 64/37 53/29 44/22
Huntington 41/24 46/28 56/36 67/44 75/53 82/61 85/65 84/64 77/57 66/45 55/37 45/29
[6]

History

The area was a favorite hunting ground of numerous Native American peoples before the arrival of European settlers. Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various mound builder cultures survive, especially in the areas of Moundsville, South Charleston, and Romney. Although little is known about these peoples, the artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of a complex, stratified culture that practiced metallurgy.

In more recent history the area now occupied by West Virginia was contested territory, mainly by Pennsylvania and Virginia. Some speculative land companies, such as the Vandalia Company,[7] and later the Ohio Company and Indiana Company, tried to legitimize their claims to land in parts of West Virginia and Kentucky, but failed. With the settlement of the Pennsylvania and Virginia border dispute which resulted in the creation of Kentucky, Kentuckians "were satisfied [...], and the inhabitants of a large part of West Virginia were grateful."[8]

The state was originally part of the British Virginia Colony (from 1607 to 1776) and the western part of the state of Virginia (from 1776 to 1863), whose population became sharply divided over the issue of secession from the Union and in the separation from Virginia, formalized by admittance to the Union as a new state in 1863.

West Virginia's history has been profoundly affected by its mountainous terrain, numerous and vast river valleys, and rich natural resources. These were all factors driving its economy and the lifestyles of residents, and remain so today.

Prehistory

In a summary to quote Dr. Robert F. Maslowski, "The Adena Indians used pipes for ceremonies. They were carved of stone and they were exceptional works of art. Pipes and the smoking of tobacco became more common during the Late Prehistoric period. They were often made of clay and rather plain." "Nothing is known about Paleo-Indian and Archaic houses in the Kanawha Valley, but archeologists have found evidence of Woodland and Fort Ancient houses." "Woodland Indians lived in wigwams ... The Woodland Indians grew sunflowers, gourds, squash and several seeds such as lambsquarter, may grass, sumpweed, smartweed and little barley." "Fort Ancient Indians lived in much larger square or rectangular houses ... The Fort Ancient Indians can be considered true farmers. They cultivated large agricultural fields around their villages. They no longer grew such a variety of seeds but concentrated on growing corn, beans, sunflowers, gourds, and many types of squash including the pumpkin. They also grew domestic turkeys and kept dogs as pets."

European exploration and settlement

Thomas Lee, the first manager of the Ohio Company of Virginia.

In 1671, General Abram Wood, at the direction of Royal Governor William Berkeley of the Virginia Colony, sent a party which discovered Kanawha Falls. In 1716, Governor Alexander Spotswood with about thirty horsemen made an excursion into what is now Pendleton County. John Van Metre, an Indian trader, penetrated into the northern portion in 1725. The same year, German settlers from Pennsylvania founded New Mecklenburg, the present Shepherdstown, on the Potomac River, and others followed.

King Charles II of England, in 1661, granted to a company of gentlemen the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, known as the Northern Neck. The grant finally came into the possession of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, and in 1746, a stone was erected at the source of the North Branch Potomac River to mark the western limit of the grant. A considerable part of this land was surveyed by George Washington between 1748 and 1751. The diary kept by the surveyor indicates that there were already many squatters, largely of German origin, along the South Branch Potomac River. Christopher Gist, a surveyor in the employ of the first Ohio Company, which was composed chiefly of Virginians, explored the country along the Ohio River north of the mouth of the Kanawha River between 1751 and 1752. The company sought to have a fourteenth colony established with the name "Vandalia". Many settlers crossed the mountains after 1750, though they were hindered by Native American resistance. Few Native Americans lived permanently within the present limits of the state, but the region was a common hunting ground, crossed by many trails. During the French and Indian War the scattered British settlements were almost destroyed.

In 1774, the Crown Governor of Virginia John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, led a force over the mountains, and a body of militia under then-Colonel Andrew Lewis dealt the Shawnee Indians, under Hokoleskwa (or "Cornstalk"), a crushing blow during the Battle of Point Pleasant at the junction of the Kanawha and the Ohio rivers. Native American attacks continued until after the American Revolutionary War. During the war, the settlers in western Virginia were generally active Whigs and many served in the Continental Army, however Claypool's Rebellion of 1780–1781 where a group of men refused to pay Colonial taxes showed war-weariness in West Virginia.

Trans-Allegheny Virginia

Social conditions in western Virginia were entirely unlike those in the eastern portion of the state. The population was not homogeneous, as a considerable part of the immigration came by way of Pennsylvania and included Germans, Protestant Ulster-Scots, and settlers from the states farther north. Counties in the east and south were settled mostly by east Virginians. During the American Revolution, the movement to create a state beyond the Alleghanies was revived and a petition for the establishment of "Westsylvania" was presented to Congress, on the grounds that the mountains made an almost impassable barrier on the east. The rugged nature of the country made slavery unprofitable, and time only increased the social, political, economic and cultural differences (see Tuckahoe-Cohee) between the two sections of Virginia.

The convention that met in 1829 to form a new constitution for Virginia, against the protest of the counties beyond the mountains, required a property qualification for suffrage and gave the slave-holding counties the benefit of three-fifths of their slave population in apportioning the state's representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a result, every county beyond the Alleghenies except one voted to reject the constitution, which nevertheless passed because of eastern support.

The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850–51, the Reform Convention, addressed a number of issues important to western Virginians. The vote was extended to all white males of 21 years of age plus. The governor, lieutenant-governor, the judiciary, sheriffs and other county officers were to be elected by public vote. The composition of the General Assembly was changed, representation in the house of delegates was apportioned on the white basis of the census of 1850, but the Senate was fixed arbitrarily, the west receiving twenty, and the east thirty, senators. This was made acceptable to the west by a provision that required the General Assembly to reapportion representation on the white basis in 1865, or else put the matter to a public referendum. But the east also gave itself a tax advantage in requiring a property tax at true and actual value, except for slaves. Slaves under the age of 12 years were not taxed, and slaves over that age were taxed at only $300, a fraction of their true value. Small farmers, however, had all their assets, animals and land, taxed at full value. Despite this tax and the lack of internal improvements in the west, the vote was 75,748 for and 11,063 against the new Constitution, most of the latter being from eastern counties, which did not like the compromises made for the west.[9]

Separation from Virginia

Francis H. Pierpont, a leader during the Second Wheeling Convention
On October 24, 1861, voters from 41 counties voted overwhelmingly to form a new state, voter turnout was 34%. The name was subsequently changed from Kanawha to West Virginia.[10]

West Virginia is the only state in the Union to secede from a Confederate state, Virginia, during the American Civil War.[11] In Richmond on April 17, 1861, the 49 delegates from the future state of West Virginia voted 17 in favor of the Ordinance of Secession, 30 against[12], and 2 abstentions.[13] Almost immediately after the vote to proceed with secession from the Union prevailed in the Virginia General Assembly, a mass meeting at Clarksburg recommended that each county in northwestern Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in Wheeling on May 13, 1861. When this First Wheeling Convention met, 425 delegates from 25 counties were present, though more than one-third of the delegates were from the northern panhandle area,[14] but soon there was a division of sentiment. Some delegates favored the immediate formation of a new state, while others argued that, as Virginia's secession had not yet been passed by the required referendum, such action would constitute revolution against the United States.[15] It was decided that if the ordinance were adopted (of which there was little doubt), another convention including the members-elect of the legislature should meet at Wheeling in June. At the election on May 23, 1861, secession was ratified by a large majority in the state as a whole, but in the western counties 34,677 voted against and 19,121 voted for the Ordinance.[16]

The Second Wheeling Convention met as agreed on June 11 and declared that, since the Secession Convention had been called without the consent of the people, all its acts were void, and that all who adhered to it had vacated their offices. The Wheeling Conventions, and the delegates themselves, were never actually elected by public ballot to act on behalf of western Virginia.[17] An act for the reorganization of the government was passed on June 19. The next day Francis H. Pierpont was chosen by other delegates at the convention to be governor of Virginia, other officers were elected and the convention adjourned. The legislature was composed of 103 members, 33 of whom had been elected to the Virginia General Assembly[18] on May 23. This number included some hold-over Senators from 1859, and as such had vacated their offices to convene in Wheeling. The other members "were chosen even more irregularly –some in mass meetings, others by county committee, and still others were seemingly self-appointed"[19] This irregular assembly met on June 20 and appointed Unionists to hold the remainder of the state offices, organized a rival state government and elected two United States senators who were promptly recognized by the Federal government in Washington, D.C. Thus, there were two state governments in Virginia, one pledging allegiance to the United States and one to the Confederacy.

The Wheeling Convention, which had taken a recess until August 6, reassembled on August 20, and called for a popular vote on the formation of a new state and for a convention to frame a constitution if the vote should be favorable. At the October 24, 1861 election, 18,408 votes were cast for the new state and only 781 against. The honesty of these election results have been questioned, since the Union army then occupied the area and Union troops were stationed at many of the polls to prevent Confederate sympathizers from voting.[20] Most of the affirmative votes came from 16 counties around the Northern panhandle.[21] Over 50,000 votes had been cast on the Ordinance of Secession, yet the vote on statehood gathered little more than 19,000.

Statehood vote of Oct. 24, 1861

In Ohio County, home to Wheeling, only about one-quarter of the registered voters cast votes.[22] At the Constitutional Convention in November 1861, Mr. Lamb of Ohio County and Mr. Carskadon said that in Hampshire County, out of 195 votes only 39 were cast by citizens of the state; the rest were cast illegally by Union soldiers.[23] In most of what would become West Virginia, there was no vote at all as two-thirds of the territory of West Virginia had voted for secession and county officers were still loyal to Richmond.[24] Votes recorded from pro-secession counties were mostly cast elsewhere by Unionist refugees from these counties.[25] The convention began on November 26, 1861, and finished its work on February 18, 1862; the instrument was ratified (18,162 for and 514 against) on April 11, 1862.

Harpers Ferry (as it appears today) changed hands a dozen times during the American Civil War and was annexed by West Virginia.

On May 13 the state legislature of the reorganized government approved the formation of the new state. An application for admission to the Union was made to Congress, and on December 31, 1862, an enabling act was approved by Pres. Abraham Lincoln admitting West Virginia, on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in its constitution. While many felt that West Virginia's admission as a state was both illegal and unconstitutional, Lincoln issued his Opinion on the Admission of West Virginia finding that "the body which consents to the admission of West Virginia, is the Legislature of Virginia," and that its admission was therefore both constitutional and expedient.[26] The convention was reconvened on February 12, 1863, and the demand was met. The revised constitution was adopted on March 26, 1863, and on April 20, 1863, Pres. Lincoln issued a proclamation admitting the state at the end of 60 days (June 20, 1863). Meanwhile, officers for the new state were chosen and Gov. Pierpont moved his capital to Union-occupied Alexandria, where he asserted jurisdiction over all of the Virginia counties within the Federal lines.

The question of the constitutionality of the formation of the new state was brought before the Supreme Court of the United States in the following manner: Berkeley and Jefferson counties lying on the Potomac east of the mountains, in 1863, with the consent of the reorganized government of Virginia voted in favor of annexation to West Virginia. Many voters of the strongly pro-secessionist counties were absent in the Confederate Army when the vote was taken and refused to acknowledge the transfer upon their return. The Virginia General Assembly repealed the act of secession and in 1866 brought suit against West Virginia, asking the court to declare the counties a part of Virginia which would have declared West Virginia's admission as a state unconstitutional. Meanwhile, on March 10, 1866, Congress passed a joint resolution recognizing the transfer. The Supreme Court, in 1870, decided in favor of West Virginia.[27]

During the American Civil War, West Virginia suffered comparatively little. George B. McClellan's forces gained possession of the greater part of the territory in the summer of 1861, culminating at the Battle of Rich Mountain, and Union control was never again seriously threatened, despite of the attempt by Robert E. Lee in the same year. In 1863, General John D. Imboden, with 5,000 Confederates, overran a considerable portion of the state. Bands of guerrillas burned and plundered in some sections, and were not entirely suppressed until after the war ended. The Eastern Panhandle counties were more affected by the war, with military control of the area repeatedly changing hands.

The area which became West Virginia actually furnished about an equal number of soldiers to the Federal and Confederate armies[2], approximately 22,000–25,000 each. The Wheeling government found it necessary in 1865 to strip voting rights from returning Confederates in order to retain control. James Ferguson, who proposed the law, said that if it was not enacted he would lose election by 500 votes.[28] The property of Confederates might also be confiscated, and in 1866 a constitutional amendment disfranchising all who had given aid and comfort to the Confederacy was adopted. The addition of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution caused a reaction. The Democratic party secured control in 1870, and in 1871, the constitutional amendment of 1866 was abrogated. The first steps toward this change had been taken, however, by the Republicans in 1870. On August 22, 1872, an entirely new constitution was adopted.

Beginning in Reconstruction, and for several decades thereafter, the two states disputed the new state's share of the pre-war Virginia government's debts, which had mostly been incurred to finance public infrastructure improvements, such as canals, roads, and railroads under the Virginia Board of Public Works. Virginians, led by former Confederate General William Mahone, formed a political coalition which was based upon this, the Readjuster Party. Although West Virginia's first constitution provided for the assumption of a part of the Virginia debt, negotiations opened by Virginia in 1870 were fruitless, and in 1871, Virginia funded two-thirds of the debt and arbitrarily assigned the remainder to West Virginia. The issue was finally settled in 1915, when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that West Virginia owed Virginia $12,393,929.50. The final installment of this sum was paid in 1939.

Hidden resources

After Reconstruction, the new 35th state benefited from development of its mineral resources more than any other single economic activity.

Saltpeter caves had been employed throughout Appalachia for munitions; the border between West Virginia and Virginia includes the "Saltpetre Trail," a string of limestone caverns containing rich deposits of calcium nitrate that were rendered and sold to the government. The trail stretched from Pendleton County to the western terminus of the route in the town of Union, Monroe County. Nearly half of these caves are on the West Virginia side, including Organ Cave and Haynes Cave. In the late 18th-century, saltpetre miners in Haynes Cave found large animal bones in the deposits. These were sent by a local historian and frontier soldier Colonel John Stuart to Thomas Jefferson. The bones were named Megalonyx jeffersonii or great-claw and became known as Jefferson's Three-toed Sloth. It was declared the official State fossil of West Virginia in 2008. The West Virginia official State rock is bituminous coal,[29] and the official State gemstone is silicified Mississippian fossil Lithostrotionella coral.[30]

The limestone also produced a useful quarry industry, usually small, and softer, high-calcium seams were burned to produce industrial lime. This lime was used for agricultural and construction purposes; for many years a specific portion of the C & O Railroad carried limestone rock to Clifton Forge, Virginia as an industrial flux.

Salt mining had been underway since the 18th century, though it had largely played out by the time of the American Civil War, when the red salt of Kanawha County was a valued commodity of first Confederate, and later Union forces. Later, more sophisticated mining methods would restore West Virginia's role as a major producer of salt.

However, in the second half of the 19th century, there was an even greater treasure not yet developed, bituminous coal. It would fuel much of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. and the steamships of many of the world's navies.

The residents (both Native Americans and early European settlers) had long known of the underlying coal, and that it could be used for heating and fuel. However, for a long time, very small "personal" mines were the only practical development. After the War, with the new railroads came a practical method to transport large quantities of coal to expanding U.S. and export markets. As the anthracite mines of northwestern New Jersey and Pennsylvania began to play out during this same time period, investors and industrialists focused new interest in West Virginia. Geologists such as Dr. David T. Ansted surveyed potential coal fields and invested in land and early mining projects.

The completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) across the state to the new city of Huntington on the Ohio River in 1872 opened access to the New River Coal Field. Soon, the C&O was building its huge coal pier at Newport News, Virginia on the large harbor of Hampton Roads. In 1881, the new Philadelphia-based owners of the former Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad (AM&O), which stretched across Virginia's southern tier from Norfolk, had sights clearly set on the Mountain State, where the owners had large land holdings. Their railroad was renamed Norfolk and Western (N&W), and a new railroad city was developed at Roanoke to handle planned expansion. After its new president Frederick J. Kimball and a small party journeyed by horseback and saw firsthand the rich bituminous coal seam which his wife named "Pocahontas", the N&W redirected its planned westward expansion to reach it. Soon, the N&W was also shipping from new coal piers at Hampton Roads.

In 1889, in the southern part of the state, along the Norfolk and Western rail lines, the important coal center of Bluefield, West Virginia was founded. The "capital" of the Pocahontas coalfield, this city would remain the largest city in the southern portion of the state for several decades. It shares a sister city with the same name, Bluefield, in Virginia.

In the northern portion of the state and elsewhere, the older Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) and other lines also expanded to take advantage of coal opportunities. The B&O developed coal piers in Baltimore and at several points on the Great Lakes. Other significant rail carriers of coal were the Western Maryland Railway (WM), Southern Railway (SOU), and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N).

Particularly notable was a latecomer, the Virginian Railway (VGN). By 1900, only a large area of the most rugged terrain of southern West Virginia was any distance from the existing railroads and mining activity. Within this area west of the New River Coalfield in Raleigh and Wyoming counties lay the Winding Gulf Coalfield, later promoted as the "Billion Dollar Coalfield."

A protégé of Dr. Ansted was William Nelson Page (1854–1932), a civil engineer and mining manager in Fayette County. Former West Virginia Governor William A. MacCorkle described him as a man who knew the land "as a farmer knows a field." Beginning in 1898, Page teamed with northern and European-based investors to take advantage of the undeveloped area. They acquired large tracts of land in the area, and Page began the Deepwater Railway, a short-line railroad which was chartered to stretch between the C&O at its line along the Kanawha River and the N&W at Matoaka, a distance of about 80 miles (130 km).

Although the Deepwater plan should have provided a competitive shipping market via either railroad, leaders of the two large railroads did not appreciate the scheme. In secret collusion, each declined to negotiate favorable rates with Page, nor did they offer to purchase his railroad, as they had many other short-lines. However, if the C&O and N&W presidents thought they could thus kill the Page project, they were to be proved mistaken. One of the silent partner investors Page had enlisted was millionaire industrialist Henry Huttleston Rogers, a principal in John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust and an old hand at developing natural resources, transportation. A master at competitive "warfare", Henry Rogers did not like to lose in his endeavors and also had "deep pockets".

Instead of giving up, Page (and Rogers) quietly planned and then built their tracks all the way east across Virginia, using Rogers' private fortune to finance the $40-million cost. When the renamed Virginian Railway (VGN) was completed in 1909, no fewer than three railroads were shipping ever-increasing volumes of coal to export from Hampton Roads. West Virginia coal was also under high demand at Great Lakes ports. The VGN and the N&W ultimately became parts of the modern Norfolk Southern system, and the VGN's well-engineered 21st-century tracks continue to offer a favorable gradient to Hampton Roads.

As coal mining and related work became major employment activities in the state, there was considerable labor strife as working conditions, safety issues and economic concerns arose. Even in the 21st century, mining safety and ecological concerns is still challenging to the state whose coal continues to power electrical generating plants in many other states.

Coal is not the only valuable mineral found in West Virginia, as the state was the site of the 1928 discovery of the 34.48 carat (6.896 g) Jones Diamond.

Demographics

West Virginia population density map.
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 55,873
1800 78,592 40.7%
1810 105,469 34.2%
1820 136,808 29.7%
1830 176,924 29.3%
1840 224,537 26.9%
1850 302,313 34.6%
1860 376,688 24.6%
1870 442,014 17.3%
1880 618,457 39.9%
1890 762,794 23.3%
1900 958,800 25.7%
1910 1,221,119 27.4%
1920 1,463,701 19.9%
1930 1,729,205 18.1%
1940 1,901,974 10.0%
1950 2,005,552 5.4%
1960 1,860,421 −7.2%
1970 1,744,237 −6.2%
1980 1,949,644 11.8%
1990 1,793,477 −8.0%
2000 1,808,344 0.8%
Est. 2009 1,819,777 [1] 0.6%

The center of population of West Virginia is located in Braxton County, in the town of Gassaway.[31]

As of 2005, West Virginia has an estimated population of 1,816,856, which is an increase of 4,308, or 0.2%, from the prior year and an increase of 8,506, or 0.5%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural decrease since the last census of 3,296 people (that is 108,292 births minus 111,588 deaths) and an increase from net migration of 14,209 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 3,691 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 10,518 people.

Only 1.1% of the state's residents were foreign-born, placing West Virginia last among the 50 states in that statistic. It also has the lowest percentage of residents that speak a language other than English in the home (2.7%).

The five largest ancestry groups in West Virginia are: American (23.2%), German (17.2%), Irish (13.5%), English (12%), Italian (4.8%).

Large numbers of people of German ancestry are present in the northeastern counties of the state.

5.6% of West Virginia's population were reported as under 5, 22.3% under 18, and 15.3% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.4% of the population.

There were 20,928 births in 2006. Of these, 19,757 (94.40% of the births, 95.19% of the population) were to Non-Hispanic Whites. There were 22 births to American Indians (0.11% of the births and 0.54% of the population), 177 births to Asians (0.85% of the births and 0.68% of the population), 219 births to Hispanics (1.05% of the births and 0.88% of the population) and 753 births to Blacks and others (3.60% of the births and 3.56% of the population).[32]

The state's Northern Panhandle, and North-Central region feel an affinity for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Also, those in the Eastern Panhandle feel a connection with the Washington, D.C. suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, and southern West Virginians often consider themselves Southerners. Finally, the towns and farms along the mid-Ohio River have an appearance and culture somewhat resembling the Midwest.[33]

Demographics of West Virginia (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 96.01% 3.49% 0.59% 0.66% 0.05%
2000 (Hispanic only) 0.63% 0.04% 0.02% 0.01% 0.01%
2005 (total population) 95.99% 3.56% 0.56% 0.69% 0.05%
2005 (Hispanic only) 0.80% 0.04% 0.02% 0.01% 0.01%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 0.46% 2.49% -3.96% 5.57% -2.80%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 0.28% 2.30% -4.24% 5.96% -0.52%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 27.74% 21.51% 5.56% -20.22% -16.67%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

Religion

Responses to a 2001 religious survey were:[34]

Economy

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, West Virginia is the third lowest in per capita income,[35] ahead of only Arkansas and Mississippi. It also ranks last in median household income.[36] The proportion of West Virginia's adult population with a bachelor's degree is the lowest in the U.S. at 17.3%.[37]

West Virginia's GDP was $55.6B in 2006, which was a 0.6% increase from 2005. This makes growth rate for the state the 2nd lowest in the nation, ahead of only Michigan. However, by 2008, West Virginia was one of only four U.S. states to have a surplus state budget, indicating renewed economic growth.

One of the major resources in West Virginia's economy is coal. According to the Energy Information Administration, West Virginia is a top coal-producer in the United States, second only to Wyoming. West Virginia produces minimal oil and natural gas. Nearly all of the electricity generated in West Virginia is from coal-fired power plants. West Virginia produces a surplus of electricity and leads the Nation in net interstate electricity exports.[38] Farming is also practiced in West Virginia, but on a limited basis because of the mountainous terrain over much of the state.

Bituminous coal seam in southwestern West Virginia

West Virginia personal income tax is based on federal adjusted gross income (not taxable income), as modified by specific items in West Virginia law. Citizens are taxed within five income brackets, which range from 3.0 percent to 6.5 percent. The state's consumer sales tax is levied at 6 percent. Effective January 1, 2004, calculation of WV consumer sales tax has been converted to a calculated figure from the bracket system, and remains at 6 percent for most goods (food goods are now taxable at 3 percent). The computation of tax is carried out to the third decimal place and rounded up when the third decimal place is five (.005) or higher; and similarly rounded down if the third place is four (.004) or lower. By virtue of this method, sales totaling $0.08 and below would not have a sales tax associated with them.[39]

West Virginia counties administer and collect property taxes, although property tax rates reflect levies for state government, county governments, county boards of education and municipalities. Counties may also impose a hotel occupancy tax on lodging places not located within the city limits of any municipality that levies such a tax. Municipalities may levy license and gross receipts taxes on businesses located within the city limits and a hotel occupancy tax on lodging places in the city. Although the Department of Tax and Revenue plays a major role in the administration of this tax, less than one-half of 1 percent of the property tax collected goes to state government. The primary beneficiaries of the property tax are county boards of education. Property taxes are paid to the sheriff of each of the state's 55 counties. Each county and municipality can impose its own rates of property taxation within the limits set by the West Virginia Constitution. The West Virginia legislature sets the rate of tax of county boards of education. This rate is used by all county boards of education statewide. However, the total tax rate for county boards of education may differ from county to county because of excess levies. The Department of Tax and Revenue supervises and otherwise assists counties and municipalities in their work of assessment and tax rate determination. The total tax rate is a combination of the tax levies from four state taxing authorities: state, county, schools and municipal. This total tax rate varies for each of the four classes of property, which consists of personal, real and intangible properties. Property is assessed according to its use, location and value as of July 1. All property is reappraised every three years; annual adjustments are made to assessments for property with a change of value. West Virginia does not impose an inheritance tax. Because of the phase-out of the federal estate tax credit, West Virginia's estate tax is not imposed on estates of persons who died on or after January 1, 2005[3].

Transportation

A toll plaza West Virginia Turnpike.
The Veterans Memorial Bridge carries US 22 between Weirton and Steubenville, Ohio. It is similar in design to the new bridge connecting Proctorville, Ohio (Ohio Rt 7) with Huntington, West Virginia via US 60.

Highways form the backbone of transportation systems in West Virginia, with over 37,300 miles of public roads in the state.[40] Airports, railroads, and rivers complete the commercial transportation modes for West Virginia. Commercial air travel is facilitated by airports in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Beckley, Bluefield, Lewisburg, Bridgeport, Martinsburg, Wheeling, and Parkersburg. Cities like Charleston, Huntington, Clarksburg, Fairmont, Bluefield, and Logan have bus-based public transit systems. Charleston also has a limited number of trolley cars that run primarily through the downtown area. West Virginia University in Morgantown boasts the PRT (personal rapid transit) system, the state's only single rail public transit system. Developed by Boeing, the WVU School of Engineering and the Department of Transportation, it was a model for low-capacity light transport designed for smaller cities. It was also the model for Disney World's tram system. Recreational transportation opportunities abound in West Virginia, including hiking trails,[41] rail trails,[42] ATV off road trails,[43] white water rafting rivers,[44] and two tourist railroads (Cass Scenic Railroad,[45] and the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad).[46]

West Virginia is crossed by several interstate highways. I-64 enters the state near White Sulphur Springs in the mountainous east, and exits for Kentucky in the west, near Huntington. I-77 enters from Virginia in the south, near Bluefield. It runs north past Parkersburg before it crosses into Ohio. I-64 and I-77 are merged in a stretch of toll road known as the West Virginia Turnpike, on which construction began in 1952. It runs from just east of Charleston south to the exit for Princeton. I-68's western terminus is in Morgantown. From there it runs east into Maryland. At the I-68 terminus in Morgantown, it meets I-79, which enters from Pennsylvania and runs through the state to its southern terminus in Charleston. I-70 briefly runs through West Virginia, crossing the northern panhandle through Wheeling. I-81 also briefly runs in West Virginia through the Eastern Panhandle where it goes through Martinsburg.

An interstate quality road is currently being built that will eventually stretch from I-79 near Weston, WV to at least Wardensville, WV. The western stretch is complete to Kerens, West Virginia but is incomplete from there to Moorefield, WV. It is not certain whether the highway will eventually continue east past Wardensville to the Virginia state line and ultimately connect to I-81 just south of Winchester, VA.

Rail lines in the state used to be more prevalent, but many lines have been discontinued because of increased automobile traffic. Many old tracks have been converted to rail trails for recreational use, and the state is still served by a few commercial lines for hauling coal and by Amtrak. In 2006 Norfolk Southern along with the West Virginia and U.S. Government approved a plan to modify many of the rail tunnels in West Virginia, especially in the southern half of the state, to allow for double stacked cars (see inter-modal freight). This is expected to also help bring economic growth to the southern half of the state.

Because of the mountainous nature of the entire state, West Virginia has several notable tunnels and bridges. The most famous of these is the New River Gorge Bridge, which was at a time the longest steel single-arch bridge in the world with a 3,031-foot (924 m) span. The bridge is also pictured on the West Virginia state quarter. The Fort Steuben Bridge (Weirton-Steubenville Bridge) was at its time of construction one of only three cable-stayed steel girder trusses in the United States. "The Veterans Memorial Bridge was designed to handle traffic from the Fort Steuben Bridge as well as its own traffic load," to quote the Wierton Daily Times news paper.[47] The 80-year-old Fort Steuben Bridge (Weirton-Steubenville Bridge) was permanently closed on January 8, 2009.

Law and government

West Virginia's capital and seat of government is the city of Charleston, located in the southwest area of the state.

Legislative branch

The West Virginia Legislature is bicameral, consisting of the House of Delegates and the Senate. It is a citizen's legislature, meaning that legislative office is not a full-time occupation, but rather a part-time position. Consequently, the legislators often hold a full-time job in their community of residence.

Typically, the legislature is in session for 60 days between January and early April. The final day of the regular session ends in a bewildering fury of last-minute legislation in order to meet a constitutionally imposed deadline of midnight. During the remainder of the year, monthly interim sessions are held in preparation for the regular session. Legislators also gather periodically for 'special' sessions when called by the governor.

The title of Lieutenant Governor is assigned by statute to the Senate President.

Executive branch

The governor, elected every four years on the same day as the U.S. Presidential election, is sworn in during the following January.

Governors of West Virginia can serve two consecutive terms but must sit out a term before serving a third term in office.

The title of Lieutenant Governor is assigned by statute to the Senate President.

Judicial branch

West Virginia is one of thirteen states that do not have a death penalty.

For the purpose of courts of general jurisdiction, the state is divided into 31 judicial circuits. Each circuit is made up of one or more counties. Circuit judges are elected in partisan elections to serve eight-year terms.

West Virginia’s highest court is the Supreme Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is the busiest appellate court of its type in the United States. West Virginia is one of 11 states with a single appellate court. The state constitution allows for the creation of an intermediate court of appeals, but the Legislature has never created one. The Supreme Court is made up of five justices, elected in partisan elections to 12-year terms.

West Virginia is an alcoholic beverage control state. However, unlike most such states, it does not operate retail outlets, having exited that business in 1990. It retains a monopoly on wholesaling of distilled spirits only.

Politics

The West Virginia State Capitol.

At the state level, West Virginia's politics are largely dominated by the Democratic Party, with Democrats currently holding the governorship, both senate seats, two of three house seats and both houses of the state legislature. West Virginia also has a very strong tradition of union membership.

Evangelical Christians comprised 52 percent of the state's voters in 2008.[48] A poll in 2005 showed that 53 percent of West Virginia voters are pro-life, the seventh highest in the country.[49] In 2006, 16 percent favored gay marriage.[50] In 2008 58 percent favored troop withdrawal from Iraq while just 32 percent wanted troops to remain.[51] On fiscal policy in 2008, 52 percent said raising taxes on the wealthier individuals would benefit the economy, while 45 percent disagreed.[52]

Democratic politicians are typically more conservative than the national party. Senator Robert Byrd opposes affirmative action and same-sex marriage. Governor Joe Manchin and Congressmen Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall are pro-life on the issue of abortion. Although, Junior Senator and former Governor Jay Rockefeller continues to enjoy popularity in the state, having been reelected in 2008 with 63.7% of the vote despite the fact that his political views are well to the left of many of his statewide colleagues.

In the Republican landslide of 1988, it was one of only ten states, and the only southern state (as defined by the US Census), to give its electoral votes to Michael Dukakis; it was one of only six states to support Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan in 1980; and it supported Bill Clinton by large margins in both 1992 and 1996. Furthermore, the state has trended increasingly Republican in Presidential elections; despite the earlier Democratic wins in Presidential matchups mentioned, it narrowly elected George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000, then re-elected Bush by a much larger margin in 2004 and voted for John McCain in 2008 by a similar margin to 2004.

The most consistent support for Democrats is found in the coal fields of southern West Virginia (especially McDowell, Mingo, Logan, Wyoming, and Boone Counties), while Republicans are most numerous to the east of the Allegheny Mountains, especially in the state's Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands. The Northern Panhandle and North-Central West Virginia regions usually split right down the middle in terms of being Republican or Democratic. Since 1996, coal interests have contributed more than $4 million to candidates for governor, the state Supreme Court and the West Virginia Legislature. The 2004 election was a record-setter for the coal industry. Gov. Joe Manchin received $571,214 from coal interests for his campaign and $174,500 for his inaugural. West Virginians for Coal, the West Virginia Coal Association's political action committee, contributed more money than any other coal industry donor.[53]

State capitals

Originally, the state capital was in Wheeling (1863 to 1870). It was then moved to Charleston, a more central city (1870 to 1875). However it was returned to Wheeling in 1875, until the capitol burned down in 1885. It was moved back to Charleston in 1885, and it has been there since.

Important cities and towns

See also: List of cities in West Virginia, List of towns in West Virginia, List of villages in West Virginia, List of census-designated places in West Virginia
Charleston is West Virginia's most populous city
Huntington
Parkersburg
Morgantown
Wheeling

Large cities

Towns and small cities

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Education

Fairmont
Martinsburg

The Times West Virginian - State earns ‘D’ in prosperity study</ref>

Colleges and universities

Distinctions

West Virginia state insignia
Motto Montani semper liberi (Latin, "Mountaineers are Always Free")
Slogan "Wild and Wonderful"
"Open for Business" (former)
"Almost Heaven" (former)
Bird Northern Cardinal
(Cardinalis cardinalis)
Animal Black Bear
(Ursus americanus)
Fish Brook Trout
(Salvelinus fontinalis)
Insect European Honey Bee
(Apis mellifera)
Flower Rhododendron
(Rhododendron maximum)
Tree Sugar Maple
(Acer saccharum)
Song "The West Virginia Hills"
"This Is My West Virginia"
"West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home"
Quarter West Virginia quarter
Released in 2005
Butterfly Monarch Butterfly
(Danaus plexippus)
Reptile Timber Rattler
(Crotalus horridus)
Wildflower Fringed Gentian
(Gentiana crinita)
Colors Old Gold and Blue
Gemstone Silicified Mississippian Fossil Coral
(Lithostrotionella)
Rock Coal
Soil Monongahela Silt Loam
Fruit Golden Delicious Apple
(Malus domestica)

The state has a rich, lush beauty reflecting its temperate topography. Tourist sites include the New River Gorge Bridge,[54] Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and many state parks. The Greenbrier hotel and resort, originally built in 1778, has long been considered a premier hotel frequented by numerous world leaders and U.S. Presidents over the years. West Virginia is also home to the Green Bank Telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

A common story told about West Virginia is the folktale about how it got the nickname "West, By God, Virginia". According to the legend, a West Virginia native who was being inducted into the US Army during the First World War (some versions make it as early as the Spanish-American War), was repeatedly asked by his induction officer, "What part of Virginia?" And the soldier, finally getting fed up with the confusion, said "Not Virginia! West Virginia! West, by God, Virginia!". This story, whether true or not, has entered American folklore, and it is not unusual to hear not only West Virginians themselves, but other Americans, refer to the state as "West, By God, Virginia";, or often as "West By-God", or sometimes simply as "By-God". Many West Virginians, when travelling outside the state, or when abroad, enjoy paying homage to the legend by referring to their home state in this manner.

Culture

Music

Appalachian music

West Virginia's folk heritage is a part of the Appalachian folk music tradition, and includes styles of fiddling, ballad singing, and other styles that draw on Scots-Irish music. Camp Washington-Carver, a Mountain Cultural Arts Center located at Clifftop in Fayette County, hosts an annual Appalachian String Band Festival.[55] The Capitol Complex in Charleston hosts The Vandalia Gathering, where traditional Appalachian musicians compete in contests and play in impromptu jam sessions and evening concerts over the course of the weekend.[56] The Augusta Heritage Center sponsored by Davis & Elkins College in Elkins in Randolph County produces the annual Augusta Heritage Festival which includes intensive week-long workshops that are in the summer that help preserve Appalachian heritage and traditions.[57]

Classical music

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1939, as the Charleston Civic Orchestra, before becoming the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in 1943. The first conductor was William R. Wiant, followed by the prominent conductor Antonio Modarelli, who was written about in the November 7, 1949 Time Magazine for his composition of the River Saga, a six-section program piece about the Kanawha River according to the Charleston Gazette's November 6, 1999 photo essay, "Snapshots of the 20th Century".[58] Prior to coming to Charleston, Modarelli had conducted the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, according to the orchestra's website.[59]

The Pulitzer Prize winning 20th century composer George Crumb was born in Charleston and earned his Bachelor's Degree there before moving outside the state. There had also been a series of operatic style concerts performed in Wheeling during mid-century as well.

Musical innovation

The West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston[60] is home to the West Virginia Division of Culture and History[61] which helps underwrite and coordinate a large number of musical activities. The Center is also home to Mountain Stage, the internationally broadcast live-performance music radio program established in 1983.[62] The program also travels to other venues in the state such as the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center in Morgantown.[63]

The Center hosts concerts sponsored by the Friends of Old Time Music and Dance, which brings an assortment of acoustic roots music to West Virginians.[64] The Center also hosts the West Virginia Dance Festival, which features classical and modern dance.[65]

Huntington's historic Keith-Albee Theatre, built by brothers A.B. and S.J. Hyman, was originally opened to the public on May 7, 1928, and hosts a variety of performing arts and music attractions. The theatre was eventually gifted to Marshall University and is currently going through renovation to restore it to its original splendor.

Every summer Elkins hosts the Augusta Heritage Festival, which brings folk musicians from around the world.[66] The town of Glenville has long been home to the annual West Virginia State Folk Festival.[67]

The Mountaineer Opera House in Milton hosts a variety of musical acts.

John Denver's song "Take Me Home, Country Roads" describes the experience of driving through West Virginia. The Boston, Massachusetts band Big Wreck wrote a song titled "West Virginia".

The Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival is West Virginia's longest running music festival. It is for the eight public high schools in Kanawha County. The festival began in 1947. It is held at the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field in downtown Charleston.

Sports

Beckley
Clarksburg
Club Sport League
West Virginia Mountaineers Football / Basketball Big East Conference
Marshall Thundering Herd Football / Basketball Conference USA
Bluefield Orioles Baseball Appalachian League
Princeton Rays Baseball Appalachian League
West Virginia Power Baseball South Atlantic League
Wheeling Nailers Ice hockey ECHL
West Virginia Wild Basketball International Basketball League
West Virginia Wild Indoor football Continental Indoor Football League
West Virginia Crash Football United States Football Alliance
West Virginia Chaos Soccer USL Premier Development League
West Virginia Bruisers Football Womens Football Alliance

In popular culture

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2009-01.csv. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  2. ^ a b c "Elevations and Distances in the United States". U.S Geological Survey. 29 April 2005. http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/elvadist/elvadist.html#Highest. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  3. ^ In the event of a vacancy in the office of Governor, the President of the State Senate is first in line for succession.
  4. ^ "Appalachian Region: Counties in Appalachia". Appalachian Regional Commission. http://www.arc.gov/index.do?nodeId=27. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  5. ^ http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/mnf/sp/sksrnra.html
  6. ^ http://www.ustravelweather.com/weather-west-virginia/
  7. ^ Charles H. Ambler, "A History of West Virginia" pg. 104
  8. ^ Charles H. Ambler. "A History of West Virginia", pgs. 132–138
  9. ^ Charles H. Amber, "A History of West Virginia", pgs. 276–79
  10. ^ http://www.wvculture.org/HiStory/statehood/statehood10.html
  11. ^ http://www.wvculture.org/history/statehood/statehood12.html " Chapter Twelve "Reorganized Government of Virginia Approves Separation"
  12. ^ A detailed list of delegate names and votes are located in Virgil Lewis' How West Virginia Was Made, pg. 30, and also Charles Ambler's A History of West Virginia, 1933, pg. 309. Missing from both lists, however, are the delegates for McDowell County, William P. Cecil and Samuel L. Graham, who also represented Tazewell and Buchanan counties, which are still part of Virginia. Both Cecil and Graham voted in favor of the Ordinance. See Pendleton, William C. History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia, 1748–1920, Richmond, 1920, pgs. 600 and 603.
  13. ^ Those not voting were Thomas Maslin of Hardy County and Benjamin Wilson of Harrison County. Ambler, Charles H. A History of West Virginia, pg. 309, footnote 32.
  14. ^ J. McGregor "The Disruption of Virginia", pg. 193
  15. ^ The United States Constitution provides that no state may be divided without its consent.
  16. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 147
  17. ^ C. Ambler "The History of West Virginia", pg. 318
  18. ^ Virgil Lewis "How West Virginia Was Made" pgs. 79–80
  19. ^ Charles Ambler "The History of West Virginia", pg. 318
  20. ^ West Virginia Statehood
  21. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pgs. 141–152
  22. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 149
  23. ^ J. McGregor "The Disruption of Virginia", pg. 270
  24. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided" map, pg. 49
  25. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 86
  26. ^ Opinion of Abraham Lincoln on the Admission of West Virginia
  27. ^ Virginia v. West Virginia, 78 U.S. 39 (1870)
  28. ^ Charles Ambler "Disfranchisement in West Virginia", Yale Review, 1905, pg. 41
  29. ^ "West Virginia House Concurrent Resolution No. 37, signed into law June 2009". State of West Virginia. http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Text_HTML/2009_SESSIONS/RS/BILLS/hcr37%20intr.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  30. ^ "State Facts". State of West Virginia. http://www.wvcommerce.org/travel/requestinformation/statefacts.aspx. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  31. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State: 2000". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/statecenters.txt. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  32. ^ http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_07.pdf
  33. ^ An Introduction to West Virginia's Ethnic Communities
  34. ^ "American Religious Identification Survey". Exhibit 15. The Graduate Center, City University of New York. http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/research_briefs/aris/key_findings.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  35. ^ State Rankings-Statistical Abstract of the United States-Personal Income per Capita in Constant (2000) Dollars 2004
  36. ^ State Rankings-Statistical Abstract of the United States-Median Household Income, 2003
  37. ^ State Rankings-Statistical Abstract of the United States-Persons 25 Years Old and Over With a Bachelor's Degree or More, 2004
  38. ^ "EIA State Energy Profiles: West Virginia". 2008-06-12. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=WV. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  39. ^ WV State Tax Department - TSD Publications
  40. ^ West Virginia Department of Transportation, accessed 9 June 2006
  41. ^ de Hart, A, and Sundquist, B., Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Charleston, WV 1993.
  42. ^ West Virginia Rails-to-Trails Council, accessed 9 June 9, 2006
  43. ^ Hatfield and McCoys Trail web site, accessed 6 June 2006
  44. ^ WV White Water web site, access 6 June 2006
  45. ^ Cass Scenic Railroad web site, accessed 6 June 9, 2006
  46. ^ Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, accessed 6 June 2006
  47. ^ Gossett, Dave (2009-01-15). "Fort Steuben Bridge permanently closed". Weirton Daily Times. Archived from the original on 2009-02-02. http://www.webcitation.org/5eI7HnDFb. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  48. ^ http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=WVP00p1
  49. ^ http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2005/50StateAbortion0805SortedbyProLife.htm
  50. ^ http://legacy.rasmussenreports.com/MembersOnly/2006%20issues/082106%20Views%20on%20cultural%20issues.htm
  51. ^ http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/west_virginia/west_virginia_mccain_45_obama_38
  52. ^ http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/west_virginia/election_2008_west_virginia_presidential_election
  53. ^ http://www.wvoter-owned.org/news/2006/01_09.html
  54. ^ The New River Gorge Bridge is one of just two U.S. sites which have granted explicit permission for BASE jumping. This occurs each year on the third Saturday in October, known as "Bridge Day". Bridge Day website, accessed January 17, 2006.
  55. ^ Appalachian String Band Festival
  56. ^ Vandalia Gathering
  57. ^ http://www.augustaheritage.com/about.html
  58. ^ http://www.wvgazette.com/static/century/gz1106.html
  59. ^ West Virginia Symphony Orchestra
  60. ^ West Virginia Cultural Center accessed January 19, 2006.
  61. ^ West Virginia Division of Culture and History accessed January 19, 2006
  62. ^ In 2001, Mountain Stage debuted a television show featuring many of the radio program's guests. Mountain Stage, accessed January 20, 2006.
  63. ^ Greater Morgantown Convention & Visitors Bureau, accessed January 20, 2006.
  64. ^ Footmad
  65. ^ West Virginia Dance Festival, accessed January 20, 2006.
  66. ^ [1]
  67. ^ West Virginia State Folk Festival

Further reading

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • Charles H. Ambler, A History of Education in West Virginia From Early Colonial Times to 1949 (1951)
  • Charles H. Ambler and Festus P. Summers. West Virginia, the Mountain State (1958)
  • Jane S. Becker, Inventing Tradition: Appalachia and the Construction of an American Folk, 1930–1940 1998.
  • Richard A. Brisbin, et al. West Virginia Politics and Government (1996)
  • James Morton Callahan, History of West Virginia (1923) 3 vol
  • John C. Campbell, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland (1921)reissued 1969.
  • Richard Orr Curry, A House Divided: A Study of Statehood Politics and Copperhead Movement in West Virginia (1964)
  • Donald Edward Davis. Where There Are Mountains: An Environmental History of the Southern Appalachians 2000.
  • Ronald D, Eller. Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880–1930 1982.
  • Carl E. Feather, Mountain People in a Flat Land: A Popular History of Appalachian Migration to Northeast Ohio, 1940–1965. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1998.
  • Thomas R. Ford ed. The Southern Appalachian Region: A Survey. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1967.
  • Horace Kephart, Our Southern Highlanders. Rev. ed. New York: Macmillan, 1922. Reprinted as Our Southern Highlanders: A Narrative of Adventure in the Southern Appalachians and a Study of Life among the Mountaineers. With an Introduction by George Ellison. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976.
  • Gerald Milnes, Play of a Fiddle: Traditional Music, Dance, and Folklore in West Virginia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1999.
  • Otis K. Rice, The Allegheny Frontier: West Virginia Beginnings, 1730–1830 (1970),
  • Otis K. Rice and Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia: A History, 2d ed. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1993), standard
  • Curtis Seltzer, Fire in the Hole: Miners and Managers in the American Coal Industry (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985), conflict in the coal industry to the 1980s.
  • Joe William Trotter Jr., Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia, 1915-32 (1990)
  • John Alexander Williams, West Virginia: A History for Beginners. 2nd ed. Charleston, W.Va.: Appalachian Editions, 1997.
  • John Alexander Williams. West Virginia: A Bicentennial History (1976)
  • John Alexander Williams. West Virginia and the Captains of Industry 1976.
  • John Alexander Williams. Appalachia: A History (2002)

Primary sources

  • Elizabeth Cometti, and Festus P. Summers. The Thirty-fifth State: A Documentary History of West Virginia. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1966.

External links

State Government
U.S. Government
Other


Preceded by
Kansas
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on June 20, 1863 (35th)
Succeeded by
Nevada

Coordinates: 39°00′N 80°30′W / 39°N 80.5°W / 39; -80.5


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Upper part of the Brush Creek Falls, near Princeton
Upper part of the Brush Creek Falls, near Princeton
State of West Virginia Regions

West Virginia [1] is a state in the Southern Region of the United States of America. It's often called the "Mountain State", being the only state in the USA to lie completely within a mountain range (in this case, the Appalachians). West Virginia is bordered by five states, on the south and east by Virginia, Maryland to the north and east, the north by Pennsylvania, the north and west by Ohio and Kentucky to the west.

Originally part of the state of Virginia, the residents of the counties that became West Virginia split from the rest of the state in part due to a disagreement over the issues of slavery and secession. These counties elected to remain with the Union, and the new state was born on June 20, 1863. Many counties in present day West Virginia however were very loyal supporters of the Confederacy. The central and southern parts of western Virginia were all pro Confederate counties. The population of the state today is around 1.7 million people. The capital city is Charleston, and the state motto is "Mountaineers are always free."

Ohio Valley
Ohio Valley
  • Metro Valley - The state's urban center which includes the capital. This region borders Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia.
  • Ohio Valley - Bordering the Ohio River and the western panhandle of the state.
  • Mountains and Lakes Country - West Virginia's technology corridor, bordering the south of Pennsylvania and the central part of the state, with lots of lakes, rivers and streams.
  • Potomac Highlands - Tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains and the Monongahela National Forest, with much of the state's skiing and caving, this region contains an important part of the state's Civil War heritage.
  • Beckley — home to Tamarack ("the best of West Virginia") and an exhibition coal mine
  • Bluefield — West Virginia's highest city, nestled in the East River Mountains
  • Charleston — the state capital and cultural center
  • Fairmont — home of the original pepperoni roll
  • Harpers Ferry — a major Civil War site and West Virginia's most popular tourist destination
  • Huntington — location of Marshall University
  • Morgantown — stomping grounds of the West Virginia University Mountaineers
  • Parkersburg — location of Blennerhassett Island
  • Wheeling — Victorian architecture and a popular casino
The gold-domed Capitol building in Charleston, on the banks of the Kanawha River
The gold-domed Capitol building in Charleston, on the banks of the Kanawha River

Once considered the southernmost of the North, the northernmost of the South, the easternmost of the West, and the westernmost of the East, West Virginia is nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Ohio River to the west. Rich in natural resources, physical beauty, and traditional culture, West Virginia's charm is that of being "off the beaten path". West Virginia is a destination for white water rafting, kayaking, skiing, climbing, golf, mountain biking, hiking, and off-roading. It is the only state that is entirely contained in Appalachia. Its location between the mid-west and eastern seaboard of the United States means that over 60% of the United States population lives less than 500 miles from West Virginia.

West Virginia is abundant in natural resources, being primarily known as a major producer of coal since the 1800s — in fact, it's the number-two coal producing state in the US [2]. However, it has never been a particularly wealthy state, particularly outside the larger towns; per capita income is quite low, and the poverty levels are some of the highest in the nation. From the point of view of the traveller, this isn't necessarily a negative. The people in rural areas may not have much material wealth, but they're down-to-earth, grateful for what they have, and very friendly and hospitable, and this attitude toward life generally applies to people in the larger cities as well. You'll receive a very warm welcome, as long as you respect their Southern politeness and try to return it in kind (which means: be patient, smile, engage in small talk, and no jokes about hillbillies or inbreeding).

As a visitor, you'll find that West Virginia has a lot to offer. There's beautiful natural scenery, quaint mountain towns, delicious down-home country food, traditional handicrafts, lots of pioneer and Civil War history, outdoor activities of the rollicking and stately varieties, and great cultural opportunities. The pace of life is slow and relaxed, but with so many exciting things to do, West Virginia is a wonderful destination for a quiet getaway or a weekend adventure.

Talk

Given its position as a boundary state between the North and the South, your perception of the West Virginia dialect will probably depend on where you're from. People from the North think that West Virginians have a Southern accent, whereas people from the South perceive them as speaking a more Northern dialect. Nevertheless, most West Virginians do have at least a bit of a Southern twang, particularly if you venture into the more remote mountain communities.

There is no single West Virginia dialect. In areas of the state which border Ohio and Pennsylvania, the pronounciations tend to be more northern, with the primary marker being the long "I" sound. Some will voice the dipthong "aye" in the northern style, while others make the "ah" sound. Those in the interior of the state speak in a manner more like people from Kentucky or southern Virginia. In the southern counties particuarly, you will find a very pronounced southern twang.

Variations in dialects can be traced to immigration patterns. The coal fields of the southeastern part of the state were the destination of miners immigrating from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In the more industrialized areas along the Ohio River, the immigrant population was comprised of large numbers of eastern European immigrants.

In the most southern part of the state, there are communities which are almost entirely African-American. During the mine wars of the late 1800s, mine owners hired former slaves from the southern states to replace striking miners. Because these communities tend to be segregated (by choice), the dialects of the southern slaves live on in their speech.

Get in

By car

There are three main interstates in West Virginia: I-64 crosses the lower third of the state from Kentucky into Huntington, through Charleston and Beckley, and then past Lewisburg into Virginia. I-77 moves up the western third of the state, from Virginia into Bluefield, through Charleston and then past Parkersburg into Ohio. I-79 begins in Charleston and continues through Morgantown into Pennsylvania.

Interstates that only cross a piece of West Virginia include I-70, which crosses from Ohio to Pennsylvania through the northern panhandle, past Wheeling; I-68, which branches off I-79 near Morgantown and passes through Preston County into Maryland; and I-81, which crosses from Virginia into Maryland and Pennsylvania through the eastern panhandle, past Martinsburg.
Greyhound [3] stops in Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg and Wheeling.
Amtrak [4] offers two routes that pass through West Virginia.
The Maryland Rail Commuter [5] ferries passengers between Martinsburg and Washington, D.C. on weekdays.
West Virginia is served by one major airport:
There are over 30 smaller airports in the state, seven of which offer regular commercial flights to other cities:
  • Harrison/Marion Regional Airport (CKB) in Clarksburg. Continental offers daily flights to Cleveland.
Road map of West Virginia
Road map of West Virginia

By car

The best way to see the state is definitely by driving, as West Virginia is generally lacking in reliable statewide public transportation. Many towns are basically inaccessible except by car, as is some of the best scenery. But be careful — off the main highways, the roads often loop around the mountaintops, which makes for some stunning views but also requires careful driving. Hairpin curves around mountain roads are not to be taken at high speeds, and the smaller country roads don't always have guard rails. Many such turns are also at steep inclines - make sure you engine brake and obey all speed limit signs. Do not follow too closely to coal trucks, lest your windshield be cracked by falling hunks of coal.

By Motorcycle

Motorcyclists will tell you that the best way to see the state is definitely by motorcycle. The warnings about hairpin curves and smaller country roads do apply, but those roads are motorcycling nirvana - endless curves and elevation changes. The state even encourages motorcycle tourism, offering pamphlets with suggested tour routes.

By bus

Although there aren't any statewide bus lines, many of the metropolitan areas have their own inter-area bus systems.

Lakefront Lines [12] also offers a daily service between Parkersburg and Charleston.

By train

There are several scenic train lines, if you want to view some of West Virginia's picturesque landscapes from the comfort of an excursion train:

  • The Cass Scenic Railroad [13] offers trips on a restored locomotive near Marlinton in Cass.
  • The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad [14] has several picturesque lines that travel through the eastern part of the state.
  • New River Excursions [15] offers fall foliage trips through the New River Gorge Valley.
  • The Potomac Eagle [17] in Romney follows the course of the Potomac River on weekends from May through September, and daily for three weeks in October.
Overlooking the Blackwater River, near Davis
Overlooking the Blackwater River, near Davis
  • The beautiful natural scenery. Just driving around backwoods West Virginia, with its hills and creeks and rivers and forests and mountaintop vistas, is a wonderful experience in and of itself. There are lots of out-of-the-way wonders to be discovered, and quite a few scenic routes, including the Coal Heritage Trail from Bluefield to Beckley, the Midland Trail along route 60 from Huntington to White Sulphur Springs, and the Highland Scenic Highway from Richwood to north of Marlinton.
  • Blackwater Falls State Park is named for the falls of the Blackwater River whose amber-colored waters plunge five stories then twist and tumble through an eight-mile long gorge near Davis. The "black" water is a result of tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. The falls are one of the most photographed sites in West Virginia.
  • The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs near Lewisburg, is probably the best-known resort and spa in West Virginia. It's a beautiful white building on 6,500 acres of land with golf courses, shops, and even a once-secret underground bunker for the President to use in the event of an international crisis.
  • Harpers Ferry was the site of a raid on the US Arsenal by abolitionist John Brown in 1859, an event that was a precursor to the Civil War. Today there's a national historic park on the site.
  • West Virginia University in Morgantown has museums, an arboretum, and a loyal football following.
  • Visit the Victorian downtown, scenic Ohio River waterfront and Oglebay Park in Wheeling. In nearby Moundsville, you can see the country's largest Adena burial mound, with an adjacent museum explaining the culture and customs of this Native American tribe.
  • The Swiss village of Helvetia, founded in 1869, with Swiss-themed events and festivals during the year.
  • Paranormal buffs might enjoy visiting Point Pleasant, site of the famous Mothman sightings in the 1960s. There's a Mothman festival every September.
  • The state capitol, Charleston, boasts a gold-covered Capitol Dome and some of the best cultural activities in the state.
  • The nation's oldest five-and-dime store, Berdine's Five and Dime, is located near Parkersburg in Harrisville.
  • Blennerhassett Island is a historical state park near Parkersburg with a mansion, wagon ride tours and nature walks.
  • History buffs will also enjoy touring Jackson's Mill Historic Area, which has links to the family of Stonewall Jackson, near Weston.
  • West Virginia is the site of the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud; the Hatfield family cemetery, with a marble statue of patriarch "Devil Anse", is near Logan.
Blackwater Falls State Park
Blackwater Falls State Park
  • West Virginia's rugged nature lends itself well to outdoor sports like fishing, hunting, horseback riding, hiking, biking, camping, golfing, windsurfing, water skiing and scuba diving. However, much of West Virginia's outdoor tourism comes from two particular sources:
  • If you like to hit the slopes, there are several popular ski resorts in the state:
  • White-water rafting is also extremely popular and can be done on several rivers in the state, although the most popular — and the most commercial — are the New River and the Gauley River near Fayetteville.
  • West Virginia also has an abundance of caverns and underground grottos to tour.
  • Berkeley Springs State Park near Berkeley Springs, with its warm mineral-water spas.
  • Cathedral State Park near Aurora is a national historic landmark with old-growth forest.
  • Hawks Nest State Park near Fayetteville features a tram up to a lodge overlooking the New River Gorge.
  • Pipestem Resort State Park near Princeton has scenic overlooks of the Bluestone Gorge.
  • Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park near Weston is home to the Stonewall Resort, one of West Virginia's premier resorts and conference centers.
  • On Bridge Day, in October, you can also go BASE jumping or rappelling from the scenic New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, the longest steel-arch bridge in the western hemisphere.
  • Explore West Virginia's coal heritage by driving the Coal Heritage Trail from Bluefield to Beckley, where you can visit the Exhibition Coal Mine.
  • Being a coal state, West Virginia gift shops routinely stock coal sculptures, which are surprisingly lightweight and make for a unique souvenir. However, they're frequently tacky (with googly eyes glued onto bears, turtles, what have you), so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for the really nice ones.
  • A major West Virginia industry is handblown glass, with several very nice factories whose wares can be found in gift shops statewide. Some of the major ones are below, although other prominent local glass factories and sales outlets can be found in Weston, Morgantown and Wheeling.
  • If you're looking for a one-stop-shop to peruse a variety of local specialties, there are a couple of really good markets in the state:
  • Tamarack is a statewide collection of handmade crafts, art and cuisine showcasing the best of West Virginia. It's located in a large complex near Beckley, and is well worth a stop if you're travelling up I-77 and want to purchase something really nice from the state.
  • The Flatwoods Factory Outlet Stores near Sutton is home to Poplar Forest, a cooperative representing over 200 juried West Virginia artists and craftsmen.

Eat

Traditional West Virginia cooking is broadly similar to Southern cuisine, but it's technically part of the Appalachian style of cooking, which was mostly subsistence-based, meaning that people ate what they could grow or catch themselves. This style of cooking emphasizes wild or cultivated plants, berries, nuts, wild game and corn. While this does mean that some West Virginians eat opossum, squirrel and raccoon, you won't find them on any restaurant menus (unless you visit the Roadkill Cook-off in Marlinton). Foods like fried chicken, sausage, cornbread, green and pinto beans, greens, squash casserole, mashed potatoes, fresh cucumbers and onions, ripe tomatoes, pickles and berry cobbler are commonly found throughout the state.

two varieties of pepperoni roll
two varieties of pepperoni roll
  • The pepperoni roll is an unexpected little West Virginia specialty that was reportedly invented in Fairmont in 1927, and was often used as a miner's lunch in early days. It's a soft bread roll with pepperoni baked inside, yielding a moist and spicy snack; variations include slices versus strips of pepperoni, the inclusion of cheese (pepper jack, mozzarella or provolone), tomato sauce and banana peppers. They're popular throughout the state, ubiquitous in convenience stores, and can be found from small family bakeries up through local eateries. Country Club bakery, the reported home of the original pepperoni roll, is still making them.

One of West Virginia's most famous (or infamous?) foods is the ramp, or wild leek, a wild onion similar to a scallion that is much beloved in the area, even though the flavor is so potent that the garlicky scent will linger on a person for days after consuming them. There are even ramp festivals throughout the state in spring, with the best-known being held in Elkins, Richwood and Helvetia. Usually served family style, typical offerings include ham, fried potatoes, stewed and raw ramps, and soup beans.

  • As with many country communities, home canning is a popular activity in West Virginia. You'll see lots of home-canned vegetables, pickles, jellies and jams for sale around the state, with apple butter being a particular favorite. In fact, West Virginia's state fruit is the apple — specifically, the yellow Golden Delicious, which was discovered in West Virginia and has been grown in the state since 1912. There are apple butter festivals every September near Logan and October in Berkeley Springs and Salem, as well as apple festivals in October in Martinsburg and Clay, the home of the Golden Delicious.
  • West Virginia has lots of mountain streams brimming with river fish, and the brook trout — the state fish — is commonly found on local menus.
  • Buckwheat from Preston County, used (along with local pork) to make their famous annual buckwheat cake and sausage dinners in September.
  • Swiss cheese from Helvetia, a local tradition since the 1800s.
West Virginia ramp and red currant wines and moonshine, from Kirkwood Winery
West Virginia ramp and red currant wines and moonshine, from Kirkwood Winery

Although most people probably think of home-distilled whiskey and moonshine when they think of West Virginia, the state has a burgeoning wine industry these days. Wineries can be found all over the state; some also produce specialty products like mead and fruity melomel, and cooking wine made from ramps. A small selection of wineries is below:

However, if you really want to sample local moonshine, you can still get it at legal distilleries in the state:

West Virginia also has a number of microbreweries, including:

  • Blackwater Brewing Company in Davis
  • Mountain State Brewing Company in Thomas
  • North End Tavern & Brewery in Parkersburg
  • West Virginia Brewing Company in Morgantown

Sleep

Along with the usual assortment of hotels and mom-and-pop motels, West Virginia has a number of fine resorts and spas if you're looking for luxury accommodations.

  • Snowshoe Mountain and Timberline Four Seasons Resort near Elkins.
  • The Resort at Glade Springs [18], 255 Resort Drive, Daniels, Phone: 800- 634-5233. Located in Daniels, West Virginia, this resort spa offers quality lodging accommodations and vacation activities. Choose between golf, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, and ski vacation packages for an ideal outdoor vacation to West Virginia.
  • Canaan Valley Resort, [19] in Davis is set on 6,300 acres of land along the Monongahela National Forest. The West Virginia resort is surrounded by 18 miles of trails and offers various activities including golf, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Canaan Valley Resort also offers secluded lodges, complete with a fireplace and full kitchen, and campgrounds.

Stay safe

Be careful when driving on mountain roads, especially in the winter. The roads can be very steep, hairpin turns are common, most roads outside main traffic routes are unpaved, and if you're driving in the mountains, you may find yourself on the edge of a very steep drop with at most a guardrail to protect you. In the winter, West Virginia is susceptible to fairly large snowfalls, which can make the roads treacherous if not impassable, particularly if your car doesn't have good traction on the inclines.

As you're driving, you'll also notice road signs at certain locations advising you to be alert for rockfalls in the vicinity. Many of the roads in the state were cut right through the mountains, giving you interesting geological sights as you drive, but bad weather and erosion can lead to rocks coming loose and tumbling down onto traffic below. It's not at all common, but it does occur, so pay attention to the signs and keep alert.

If you're in the state to partake of its outdoor adventures, be sure you follow the usual precautions. During hunting season, wear hunter's blaze orange clothing if you go into the woods. If you're canoeing or whitewater rafting, be sure to keep a lifejacket on. And if you're into extreme sports, don't take unnecessary risks; more than one experienced BASE jumper has perished at the annual Bridge Day festivities, most recently in 2006.

Unleashed dogs are abundant, especially on back roads. Carry a large walking stick and pepper spray when hiking and don't venture uninvited onto posted property.

In the woods, it's also wise to take precautions against insect-borne diseases. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are both spread by ticks, and West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, both of which are common in West Virginia forests. Fortunately, the diseases themselves are fairly uncommon in the state, but it never hurts to stay safe. Wear long clothes that cover your skin, use a good insect repellent, and check your body for ticks as soon as you return indoors.

Stay out of abandoned coal mines, which can be full of hazards such as rotten timber supports, unstable ground, rats, snakes, undetonated explosives, blasting caps, explosive methane gas, and pockets of "blackdamp" or air without enough oxygen to support life.

In terms of natural disasters, West Virginia is quite a safe place to be. Earthquakes are practically nonexistent [20], it's far enough inland that hurricanes are rarely a major problem, and the mountain range seems to discourage tornadoes from forming, although the state does average about two per year. [21] The most common type of natural disaster in the state is flooding, which can be a serious problem, so pay attention to news bulletins during periods of heavy rain, and stay away from affected areas. [22]

Get out

On the eastern and southern border, Virginia, of which West Virginia was originally a part, has Shenandoah National Park and Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson.

To the west, Kentucky is rich in horse related attractions, including the Kentucky Horse Park and the Kentucky Derby.

Three states are on the northern border. Ohio has the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the only Y-shaped bridge in the world. Pennsylvania is the home to five-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and to the Gettysburg Battlefield. Maryland is where The Star Spangled Banner was written and is home to the US Naval Academy.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WEST VIRGINIA, the north-westernmost of the so-called Southern states of the United States of America, lying between latitudes 37° 10' and 40° 40' N., and longitudes 77° 40' and 82° 40' W. It is bounded on the north-west by Ohio, from which it is separated by the Ohio river, on the north by Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Potomac river dividing it from the latter state; on the east and south-east by Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, the boundary lines in the first two cases being meridians, in the last case a very irregular line following the crest of mountain ridges in places; and on the south-west by Virginia and Kentucky, the Big Sandy river separating it from the latter state. The extreme length of the state from north to south is about 240 m., the extreme breadth from east to west about 265 m. Area, 24,170 sq. m., of which 148 sq. m. is water surface.

Table of contents

Physical Features

The state is divided into two distinct physiographic provinces; the Alleghany Plateau on the west, comprising perhaps two-thirds of the area of the state, and forming a part of the great Appalachian Plateau Province which extends from New York to Alabama; and the Newer Appalachians or Great Valley Region on the east, being a part of the large province of the same name which extends from Canada to Central Alabama. The Alleghany Plateau consists of nearly horizontal beds of limestone, sandstone and shales, including important seams of coal; inclines slightly toward the north-west, and is intricately dissected by extensively branching streams into a maze of narrow canyons and steep-sided hills. Along the Ohio river, these hills rise to an elevation of 800 to woo ft. above sea-level, while toward the south-east the elevation increases until 3500 and 4000 ft. are reached along the south-east margin of the plateau, which is known as the Alleghany Front. The entire plateau area is drained by the Ohio river and its tributaries. Along the flood-plains of the larger rivers are fertile " bottomlands," but the ruggedness of the plateau country as a whole has retarded the development of the state, much of which is still sparsely populated. The coal beds are of enormous extent, and constitute an important element in the wealth of the state. Petroleum and natural gas also occur in the plateau rocks in great quantities.

In the Newer Appalachian region, the beds which still lie horizontal in the plateau province were long ago thrown into folds and planed off by erosion, alternate belts of hard and soft rock being left exposed. Uplift permitted renewed erosion to wear away the soft belts, leaving mountain ridges of hard rock separated by parallel valleys. Hence the region is variously known as the Ridge and Valley Belt, the Great Valley Region, or the Folded Appalachians. The mountain ridges vary in height up to 4000 ft. and more, the highest point in the state being Spruce Knob (4860 ft.). The parallel valleys are drained by north-east and south-west flowing streams, those in the north-east being tributary to the Potomac, those farther south tributary to the Great Kanawha. Although the valleys between the ridges are not always easy of access, they give broad areas of nearly level agricultural land.

Flora

The plateau portion of West Virginia is largely covered by hardwood forests, but along the Ohio river and its principal tributaries the valuable timber has been removed and considerable areas have been wholly cleared for farming and pasture lands. Among the most important trees of this area are the white and chestnut oaks, the black walnut, the yellow poplar, and the cherry, the southern portion of the state containing the largest reserve supply. In the area of the Newer Appalachian Mountains, the eastern Panhandle region has a forest similar to that of the plateau district; but between these two areas of hardwood there is a long belt where spruce and white pine cover the mountain ridges. Other trees common in the state are the persimmon, sassafras, and, in the Ohio Valley region, the sycamore. Hickory, chestnut, locust, maple, beech, dogwood, and pawpaw are widely distributed. Among the shrubs and vines are the blackberry, black and red raspberry, gooseberry, huckleberry, hazel and grape. Ginseng is an important medicinal plant. Wild ginger, elder and sumach are common, and in the mountain areas, rhododendrons, mountain laurel and azaleas.

Climate

Inasmuch as the state has a range of over 4000 ft. in altitude, the climate varies greatly in different districts. The mean annual temperatures for typical sections are as follows: Ohio Valley north of the thirty-ninth parallel, 53° F.; south-western part of state, 56°; central plateau district, 52°; mountainous belt along south-eastern boundary of state, 48° to 50°. Wellsburg, in the northern Panhandle, has a mean winter temperature of 27°, a summer mean of 70°. Parkersburg, farther down the Ohio Valley, has a winter mean of 34° and a summer mean of 74°. Martinsburg, in the eastern Panhandle, has nearly the same means, 32° and 74°. Terra Alta, in the north-eastern mountains, has a winter mean of 26°, a summer mean of only 67°. The first' killing frosts generally occur about the middle of October in the Ohio Valley region, and about the first of October in the higher plateau and mountain region; the average dates for the last killing frosts in the same localities are the middle and last of April respectively. In the Ohio Valley and eastern Panhandle the summer mean temperature is 74°, the winter mean 31° to 34°. The highest recorded temperature for the state is 107°, the lowest-35°. Temperatures above ioo° and below-15° are rare. Precipitation is greatest in the mountains, over 50 in.; and least over the Ohio Valley, the eastern Panhandle and the extreme south-east, 35 to 40 in. Snows are frequent during the winter, and sometimes deep in the higher plateau and mountain districts. The prevailing winds are from south to west.

Agriculture. - The state is primarily agricultural. In general the richer western part is devoted to crops, and the eastern part to raising live-stock. The crop of Indian corn in 1909 was 27,632,000 bushels, and the acreage 880,000. The wheat crop was 4,810,000 bushels, and the acreage 370,000. The crop of buckwheat was 499,000 bushels (grown on 22,000 acres). The rye crop was 148,000 bushels, and the acreage 11,000. The production of oats was 2,156,000 bushels (grown on 98,000 acres). In 1909 the acreage of hay alone was 675,000 acres, and the crop was 844,000 tons, valued at $11,225,000. Tobacco is grown throughout the state; in 1909 on 12,000 acres was grown a crop of 12,000,000 lb, valued at $1,663,200.

Stock-raising is an important industry, especially in the eastern part of the state. Mines and Quarries. - The state's great mineral wealth is in coals of various kinds, petroleum, and natural gas.

The coal deposits underlie about 17,000 sq. m. (more than 70% of the total) of the state's area, and bituminous coal has been found in 51 of the 55 counties; this is one of the largest continuous coal fields in the world. The principal districts are the Fairmont (or Upper Monongahela) and the Elk Garden (or Upper Potomac) in the northern, and the Pocahontas (or Flat Top) and the New and Kanawha rivers districts in the southern part of the state. The total output of the state was 44,648 tons in 1863, when the first shipments outside the state were made; and 41,897,843 tons (valued at $40,009,0J4) in 1908, when the output of West Virginia was third in quantity and in value among the states of the Union, being exceeded only by that of Pennsylvania and of Illinois. The seams are principally above water levels and in many cases have been laid bare by erosion; and the supply is varied - besides a " fat coking, gassy bituminous," there are an excellent grade of splint coal (first mined in 1864 at Coalburg, Kanawha county) and (except that in Kentucky) the only important supply of cannel coal in the United States. Most of the mines are operated under " non-union " rules. The bituminous coal of West Virginia is a particularly good coking coal, and in 1905, 1906, 1907 and 1908 West Virginia ranked second (to Pennsylvania) among the states of the Union in the amount of coke manufactured; the Flat Top district is the principal cokemaking region.

Petroleum ranks second to coal among the state's mineral resources. In 1771 Thomas Jefferson described a " burning spring " in the Kanawha Valley, and when wells were drilled for salt brine near Charleston petroleum and natural gas were found here before there was any drilling for oil in Pennsylvania. Immediately before the Civil War, petroleum was discovered in shallow wells near Parkersburg, and there was a great rush of prospectors and speculators to the Little Kanawha Valley. But the Civil War interrupted development. After the war, wells were drilled at Burning Springs, Oil Rock, California House, Volcano, Sandhill and Horseneck, and in the years1865-18763,000,000 bbls. of oil, valued at $20,000,000, were taken out of these districts. A successful well in Marion county, near Mannington, far from the region of the earlier wells, was drilled in 1889, and the output of the state increased from 119,448 bbls. in 1888 to 544,113 in 1889, and to 2,406,218 in 1891; in 1893 it was first more than 8,000,000 bbls.; and in 1900 it was 16,195,675. After 1900 it gradually decreased - although new pools in Wetzel county were found in 1902 - and in 1908 it was 9,523,176 bbls. (valued at $16,911,865).

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Natural gas, like petroleum, was first heard of in West Virginia in connexion with a burning spring on the Kanawha, and there were gas springs on the Big Sandy and the Little Kanawha. Jn 1841 natural gas was found with salt brine in a well on the Kanawha, and was used as a fuel to evaporate the salt water. The production was not large until after 1895; it was valued at $1,334,023 in 1898, at $3,954,47 2 in 1901, at $10,075,804 in 1905, at $16,670,962 in 1907, and at $14,837,130 in 1908, when (as since 1904, when it first was greater than that of Indiana) it was second only in value to that of Pennsylvania. The principal field is in Wetzel county, but there are important supplies in Lewis, Harrison, Marion, Monongahela, ? lB?p Fr r t oyA J? ReAd°r' I ? o, ?r endl} fuka lT  ?yn ??' L E ?AIf%y' ? ehn ta dr `Alnm L'h,?oi ° 5 e?n v o .HnS ?ro o IR a lie ar - ule n Hebruuo ? n u1'%r?u?c?, no Pleasants,:"

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Fi, Cumberlan Scale, English Miles 40 E 79° on?// 'V041? 81 C Longitude West 80° of Greenwich 3 Ke Lincoln and Wayne counties. Much of the natural gas is piped out of the state into Ohio (even into the northern parts), Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Maryland; within the state gas has been utilized as a fuel in carbon black and glass factories.

Brine wells have been mentioned above; the salt industry is still carried on in Mason county, and in 1908 145,157 bbls. were produced with a value of $10,481; and there is a small output of bromine. Iron ore is found in the state in the coal hills (especially Laurel Hills and Beaver Lick Mountain), but the deposits have not been worked on a large scale. Pig iron is manufactured cheaply because of the low price of fuel; in 1907 the value of pig iron manufactured in the state was $6,454,000. There are deposits of excellent clay, especially for pottery, and in 1907 ($2,159,132) and 1908 ($2,083,821) the state ranked after Ohio and New Jersey in the value of pottery. The total value of all clay products in West Virginia was $3,261,736 in 1908. An excellent glass sand is procured from crushed sandstone near Berkeley Springs, Morgan county. Grindstones have been quarried in Wood and Jackson counties. There are black slate deposits near Martinsburg. There are mineral springs, mostly medicinal waters, in Greenbrier, Summers, Webster, Ohio and Preston counties. Among the more noted medicinal springs are: classed as calcareous and earthy, Sweet Springs, 74° F., in Monroe (disambiguation)|Monroe county, diuretic and diaphoretic; and Berkeley Springs, 74° F., in Morgan county, reputed restorative in neuralgic cases, and as containing sulphur; Salt Sulphur Springs, in Monroe county, of value in scrofula and skin diseases.

Manufactures

Manufacturing is largely localized in the northwestern part of the state along the Ohio river. The value of the factory product in 1905 was $99,040,676. The principal manufacture is iron and steel: in 1905 the product of steel works and rolling mills was $13,454,802. The iron mills are almost all in the vicinity of Wheeling. The first rolling mill west of the Alleghanies was probably one near Morgantown. Next in importance among the state's manufactures are lumber and timber, and flour and grist mills. The tanning, currying and finishing of leather, an industry largely dependent on the plentiful supply of oak and hemlock bark for tanning, is centralized in the northern and eastern parts of the state, near the forests. The glass industry began in Wheeling in 1821, and there a process was discovered by which in 1864 for soda ash bicarbonate of lime was substituted, and a lime glass was made which was as fine as lead glass; other factors contributing to the localization of the manufacture of glass here are the fine glass sand obtained in the state and the plentiful supply of natural gas for fuel Transportation and Commerce. - Railway development in West Virginia has been due largely to the exploitation of the coal and lumber resources of the state. The Baltimore & Ohio railway leads in trackage: it enters the state with several lines at its northern end; its main line crosses this portion of the state from east to west, striking the Ohio at Parkersburg, and one of its lines (Ohio River railway) extends nearly the length of the state from Wheeling in the north through Parkersburg to Kenova in the south. This road serves as a carrier for the northern coal producing districts. The Chesapeake & Ohio traverses the southern part of the state, from White Sulphur Springs in the east, through Charleston to the Ohio, serving the New and Kanawha rivers coal district as a freight carrier; the Norfolk & Western runs just within the south-western boundary along the valley of the Big Sandy, carrying coal both east and west from the Pocahontas coal-field; and the new Virginian railway entering at the south-east taps the coal-producing region (the Kanawha and Pocahontas districts) at Deepwater, serving in addition to the Norfolk & Western as a carrier of coal to Norfolk on the Virginia coast. The railway mileage of the state grew with great rapidity in the decade 1880-1890; it was 691 m. in 1880, 1 ,433.3 0 in 1890, 2,473.34 in 1900 and 3,215.32 in January 1909. Natural facilities for transportation, afforded by the Ohio river and its branches, the Monongahela, at the northern end of the state, and the Little Kanawha and the Great Kanawha, are of special value for the shipment of lumber and coal. The Monongahela has been improved by locks and dams to Fairmont. It is the carrier of a heavy tonnage of coal to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The Little Kanawha, which has also been improved, serves chiefly for the transportation of logs which are floated down to the Ohio.

Population

The population of West Virginia at the various censuses since its organization as a state has been as follows: 1870, 442,014; 1880, 618,457; 1890, 762,794; 1900, 958,800; 1910, 1,221,119. In1890-1900and1900-1910the increase in population was more than one fourth. Of the total population in 1900, 97.7% was native-born, 892,854 were native whites, 43,499 were negroes, 56 were Chinese and 12 were Indians. Of the inhabitants born in the United States 61,508 were natives of Virginia, 40,301 of Ohio, 28,927 of Pennsylvania and 10,867 of Kentucky; and of the foreign-born there were 6J37 Germans, 334 2 Irish, 2921 Italians and 2622 English. Of the total population 71,388 were of foreign parentage - i.e. either one or both parents were foreign-born, and 18,232 were of German and 10,534 of Irish parentage, on both the father's and the mother's side.

In 1906 there were in the state 301,565 members of religious denominations, of whom 86.2% were Protestants. The Methodist bodies with 115,825 communicants (38.4% of the total communicants or members) were the strongest. There were 67,044 Baptists (2226 United Baptists, 2019 Primitive Baptists and 1513 Free Baptists); 40,011 Roman Catholics; 1 9,993 United Brethren, all of the " New Constitution "; 19,668 Presbyterians; 13,323 Disciples of Christ; 6506 Lutherans, and 5230 Protestant Episcopalians. The principal cities of the state are Wheeling, Huntington, Parkersburg, Charleston (the capital), Martinsburg, Fairmont and Grafton.

Administration

The first constitution of 1863 was superseded by the present instrument which was adopted August 1872 and was amended in 1880, 1883 and 1902. The constitution may be amended by either of two methods. A majority of the members elected to each house may submit the question of calling a convention to the people; and if a majority of the votes cast approve, an election for members of a convention shall be held, and all acts of the convention must be submitted to the people for ratification or rejection. On the other hand, a two-thirds majority of each house of the legislature may submit an amendment or amendments to popular vote at the next general election, when the approval of a majority of the qualified voters is necessary for ratification. All male citizens above twenty-one years of age have the right of suffrage, subject to a residence of one year in the state and sixty days in the county in which they offer to vote. Paupers, insane, and those convicted of treason, felony or bribery in an election are barred, " while the disability continues," and no person in the military, naval or marine service of the United States is deemed. a resident of the state by reason of being stationed therein. An official blanket ballot containing the names of the candidates. arranged in columns according to party is provided at public expense.

Executive

The executive department consists of the governor, secretary of state, superintendent of free schools, auditor, treasurer and attorney-general, all elected by the people at the time of the presidential election and serving for four years from the fourth of March following. The governor must have been a citizen for five years preceding this election, must have attained the age of thirty and is ineligible for re-election during the four years succeeding the expiration of his term. In case of the death, resignation or other disability of the governor, the president of the Senate acts as governor, and in case of his incapability the Speaker of the House of Delegates; and these two failing, the legislature on joint ballot elects an acting governor. A new election must be called to fill the vacancy unless the unexpired term is less than one year. The governor appoints, subject to the consent of a majority of the members elected to the Senate, all officers whose appointment or election is. not otherwise provided for. In case of a vacancy in the court of appeals or in the circuit court the governor appoints until the next general election, or if the unexpired term is less than two years, until the end of the term. The governor sends a message at the beginning of each session of the legislature, and may convene the houses in extraordinary session when he deems it necessary. He may veto a bill, or in case of an appropriation bill, the separate items, but this veto may be overridden by a simple majority of the total membership of each house. Any bill not returned with objections within five days after presentation becomes a law. An appropriation bill cannot be vetoed after the legislature adjourns.

Legislative

The legislature, consisting of the Senate and the House of Delegates, meets at the capital on the first Wednesday in January of the odd years. The Senate is composed (1910) of thirty members, chosen from fifteen districts for a term of four years, but one half the membership retires biennially. A senator must be twenty-five years of age, and must have been a citizen of the state for five years and a resident of the district for one year preceding his election. The Senate elects a president, confirms or rejects the nominations of the governor, and acts as a court of impeachment for the trial of public officers, besides sharing in legislative functions. The House of Delegates is composed (1910) of eighty-six members, of whom each county chooses at least one. A delegate must be a. citizen and have resided one year in the county from which he is chosen. No person holding a lucrative office under the state or the United States, no salaried officer of a railroad company, and no officer of any court of record is eligible for membership in either house. Besides its legislative functions the House prepares articles of impeachment and prosecutes the proceedings before the Senate. The length of the legislative session is forty-five days, but it may be extended by a vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house. No act takes effect until ninety days after its passage unless two-thirds of the members of each house specifically order otherwise.

Judiciary

The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Circuit courts, such inferior courts as may be established, county courts, the powers and duties of which are, however, chiefly police and fiscal, and in justices of the peace. The Supreme Court of Appeals, consisting of five judges, elected for terms of twelve years, holds three terms annually, one at Wheeling, one at Charleston and one at Charles Town. It has original jurisdiction in cases of habeas corpus, mandamus and prohibition, and appellate jurisdiction in cases involving a greater amount than one hundred dollars; concerning title or boundary of lands, probate of wills; the appointment or qualification of personal representatives, guardians, curators, committees, &c.; concerning a mill, roadway, ferry or landing; the right of a corporation or county to levy tolls or taxes; in cases of quo warranto, habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari and prohibition, and all others involving freedom or the constitutionalit y of a law; in criminal cases where there has been a conviction for felony or misdemeanour in a circuit, criminal or intermediate court; and in cases relating to the public revenues. The court designates one of its members as president. Nineteen judges elected for terms of eight years in eighteen circuits compose the circuit court, the judges of which have original jurisdiction of matters involving more than $50; of all cases of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto and prohibition; of all cases in equity; and of all crimes and misdemeanours. The judges have appellate jurisdiction of cases civil and criminal coming up from the lower courts. In order to relieve the circuit judges the legislature has established by special acts inferior courts, generally with criminal jurisdiction only, in nine counties of the state. The judicial powers of the county court are confined to probate, the appointment of executors, administrators and other personal representatives, and the settlement of their accounts, matters relating to apprentices and to contested elections for county and district officers. (See below under Local Government.) One or two justices of the peace (depending on population) are elected from each magisterial district; there must be not less than three, nor more than ten, districts in each county.

Local Government

As in Virginia, the county is the unit of government, though an unsuccessful attempt to introduce the township system was made in the first constitution. The county court, consisting of three commissioners elected for six years but with terms so arranged that one retires every two years, is the police and fiscal authority. Other officers are the clerk of the county court, elected for six years, the sheriff, who also acts as tax-collector and treasurer, the prosecuting attorney, one or two assessors, the surveyor of lands and the superintendent of free schools, all elected for the term of four years; the sheriff may not serve two consecutive full terms. In addition there are boards appointed or elected by various authorities and charged with specific duties. They include the local board of health and the board of jury commissioners. Each of the magisterial districts (of which, as has been said, there must be at least three and not more than ten in each county) elects one or two magistrates and constables, and a board of education of three members. The constitution provides that the legislature, on the request of any county, may establish a special form of county government, and several of the larger and more populous counties have special acts.

Miscellaneous Laws

A woman's right to hold, manage and acquire property is not affected by marriage, except that unless she lives apart from her husband, she may not mortgage or convey real estate without his consent. A woman becomes of age at twenty-one. Rights of dower and courtesy both exist. When a husband dies 'intestate leaving a widow and issue, the widow is entitled to the life use of one-third of the real estate and to one-third of the personal estate absolutely. If there is no issue she takes the whole of the personal estate, while the real estate, subject to her dower, goes first to her husband's father and then to his mother, brothers and sisters. If the wife dies intestate the husband has a right to the use of her real estate for life, and to one-third of the personal estate if there is issue; otherwise to the whole. Neither can by will deprive the other of the right of dower or courtesy in the real estate and of the right to one-third of the personal estate. Children may be disinherited with or without cause. Any parent or infant children of deceased parents may set apart personal estate not exceeding $200 in value which shall be exempt from execution. A homestead not exceeding $1000 in value may be set apart, provided that it is recorded before the debt against which it was claimed was contracted. Marriages between whites and negroes, or where either party had a wife or husband living, or within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity, or where either was insane or physically incapable of marriage, or where the male was under eighteen or the female under sixteen may be annulled. No female or male under twelve may be employed in mines, and no child under twelve may be employed in a factory, and when school is in session none under fourteen.

Charities, &c. - The state charitable and penal institutions consist of the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane at Weston, the Second Hospital for the Insane at Spencer, three miners' hospitals - one at Welch, one at McKendree and one at Fairmont; the West Virginia Asylum for Incurables at Huntington, Schools for the Deaf and Blind at Romney, the West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville, the West Virginia Reform School at Grafton and the West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls near Salem. These are all under the supervision of a state board of control of three members, appointed by the governor, which was created in 1909, and also has control of the finances of the state educational system. There is also a state humane society, which was organized in 1899 for the protection of children and of the helpless aged, and for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The West Virginia Colored Orphans' Home near Huntington is not under state control, but has received appropriations from the legislature. In 1908 a law was enacted for establishing the West Virginia Children's Home to be under the control of the Humane Society.

Education

Each magisterial district constitutes a school district and there are also a few independent school districts. For each school district there is a board of education consisting of a president and two commissioners, each elected for a term of four years, one commissioner every two years. This board is authorized to establish and alter sub-districts. A law enacted in 1908 requires that children between eight and fifteen years of age shall attend school twenty-four weeks each year, provided the public school in their district is in session that length of time. The county supervision of public schools is vested in a county superintendent, who is elected for a term of four years. The state supervision is vested in a state superintendent, who is elected for a term of four years. A state board of education, consisting of the state superintendent and five other persons appointed by him, constitutes a state board of examiners (for special primary, high school and professional certificates) and prescribes the course of study. There is also a state school book commission, consisting of the state superintendent and eight other members appointed by the governor. The state maintains six normal schools for whites (at Huntington, Fairmont, West Liberty, Glenville, Shepherdstown, Athens) and two for negroes (at Institute and at Bluefield). They are governed by a board of regents consisting of the state superintendent and six other members appointed by the governor. At the head of the educational system is the West Virginia University (1867) at Morgantown (q.v.). The principal institutions of higher learning not under state control are Bethany College (Christian, 1841), at Bethany; Morris Harvey College (Methodist Episcopal, Southern, 1888), at Barboursville; West Virginia Wesleyan College (Methodist Episcopal, 1890), at Buckhannon; and Davis and Elkins College (Presbyterian, 1904), at Elkins.

Finance

The state revenue is derived mainly from a general property tax, licence taxes levied on various businesses and occupations, a collateral inheritance tax and a capitation tax. For the year ending on the 30th of September 1908 the receipts were $3,382,131.66 and the disbursements $3,482,317.03. West Virginia's share of the Virginia debt which existed when West Virginia was set off from Virginia has not yet been determined (see below, § History), but other than this the state has no debt, and the contraction of a state debt other than " to meet casual deficits in the revenue, to redeem a previous liability of the state, to suppress insurrection, repel invasion or defend the state in time of war " is forbidden by the constitution. The indebtedness of a county, municipality or school district is limited to 5% of the value of its taxable property.

History

That part of Virginia beyond the Alleghany mountains was a favourite haunt of the Indians before the first coming of the whites, and there are many Indian mounds, indicative of an early and high cultural development, within the present limits of the state, and especially in the neighbourhood of Moundsville (q.v.). The western part of Virginia was not explored until long after considerable settlements had been made in the east. In 1671 General Abram Wood, at the direction of Governor William Berkeley (c. 1610-1677), sent a party which discovered Kanawha Falls, and in 1716, Governor Alexander Spottswood with about thirty horsemen made an excursion into what is now Pendleton county. John Van Metre, an Indian trader, penetrated into the northern portion in 1725, and Morgan ap Morgan, a Welshman, built a cabin in the present Berkeley county in 1727. The same year German settlers from Pennsylvania founded New Mecklenburg, the present Shepherdstown, on the Potomac, and others soon followed. Charles II.of England, in 1661, granted to a company of gentlemen the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, commonly known as the " Northern Neck." The grant finally came into the possession of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, and in 1746 a stone was erected at the source of the north branch of the Potomac to mark the western limit of the grant. A considerable part of this land was surveyed by George Washington between 1748 and 1751. The diary kept by the young surveyor indicates that there were already many squatters, largely of German origin, along the South Branch of the Potomac. Christopher Gist, a surveyor in the employ of the first Ohio Company (see Ohio Company), which was composed chiefly of Virginians, in1751-1752explored the country along the Ohio river north of the mouth of the Kanawha, and the company sought to have a fourteenth colony established with the name " Vandalia." Many settlers crossed the mountains after 1750, though they were somewhat hindered by Indian depredations. Probably no Indians lived within the present limits of the state, but the region was a common hunting ground, crossed also by many war trails, and during the French and Indian war (1 7546 3) the scattered settlements were almost destroyed. In 1 774 the governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, himself led a force over the mountains, and a body of militia under General Andrew Lewis dealt the Shawnee Indians under Cornstalk a crushing blow at Point Pleasant at the junction of the Kanawha and the Ohio rivers, but Indian attacks continued until after the War of Independence. During the war the settlers in Western Virginia were generally active Whigs and many served in the Continental army.

Social conditions in western Virginia were entirely unlike those existing in the eastern portion of the state. The population was not homogeneous, as a considerable part of the immigration came by way of Pennsylvania and included Germans, the Protestant Scotch-Irish and settlers from the states farther. north. During the War of Independence the movement to create another state beyond the Alleghanies was revived, and a petition (1776) for the establishment of " Westsylvania" was presented to Congress, on the ground that the mountains made an almost impassable barrier on the east. The rugged nature of the country made slavery unprofitable, and time only increased the social, political and economic differences between the two sections of the state. The convention which met in 1829 to form a new constitution for Virginia, against the protest of the counties beyond the mountains, required a property qualification for suffrage, and gave the slave-holding counties the benefit of three-fifths of their slave population in apportioning the state's representation in the lower Federal house. As a result every county beyond the Alleghanies except one voted to reject the constitution, which was nevertheless carried by eastern votes. Though the Virginia constitution of 1850 provided for white manhood suffrage, yet the distribution of representation among the counties was such as to give control to the section east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Another grievance of the West was the large expenditure for internal improvements at state expense in the East compared with the scanty proportion allotted to the West. For an account of the Virginia convention of 1861, which adopted the Ordinance of Secession, see Virginia. Here it is sufficient to say that only nine of the forty-six delegates from the present state of West Virginia voted to secede. Almost immediately after the adoption of the ordinance a mass meeting at Clarksburg recommended that each county in north-western Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in Wheeling on the 13th of May 1861. When this " First Wheeling Convention" met, four hundred and twenty-five delegates from twenty-five counties were present, but soon there was a division of sentiment. Some delegates favoured the immediate formation of a new state, but the more far-sighted members argued that as the ordinance had not yet been voted upon by the people, and Virginia was still in the Union, such action would be revolutionary, since the United States Constitution provides that no state may be divided without its consent. Therefore it was voted that in case the ordinance should be adopted (of which there was little doubt) another convention including the members-elect of the legislature should meet at Wheeling on the 11th of June. At the election (23rd May 1861) the ordinance was ratified by a large majority in the state as a whole, but in the western counties 40,000 votes out of 44,000 were cast against it. The " Second Wheeling Convention" met according to agreement (11th June), and declared that, since the Secession Convention had been called without the consent of the people, all its acts were void, and that all who adhered to it had vacated their offices. An act for the " reorganization " of the government was passed on the 19th of June. The next day Francis H. Pierpont was chosen governor of Virginia, other officers were elected and the convention adjourned. The legislature, composed of the members from the western counties who had been elected on the 23rd of May and some of the holdover senators who had been elected in 1859, met at Wheeling on the 1st of July, filled the remainder of the state offices, organized a state government and elected two United States senators who were recognized at Washington. There were, therefore, two state governments in Virginia, one owning allegiance to the United States and one to the Confederacy. The Convention, which had taken a recess until the 6th of August, then reassembled and (August 20) adopted an ordinance providing for a popular vote on the formation of a new state, and for a convention to frame a constitution if the vote should be favourable. At the election (October 24, 1861) 18,489 votes were cast for the new state and only 781 against. The convention met on the 26th of November 1861, and finished its work on the 18th of February 1862, and the instrument was ratified by the people (18,162 for and 514 against) on the 11th of April 1862. Next the legislature of the " Reorganized " government on the 13th of May gave its consent to the formation of the new state. Application for admission to the Union was now made to Congress, and on the 31st of December 186 2 an enabling act was approved by President Lincoln admitting the state on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in the Constitution. The Convention was reconvened on the 12th of February 1863, and the demand of Congress was met. The revised instrument was adopted by the people on the 26th of March 1863, and on the 10th of April 1863 President Lincoln issued a proclamation admitting the state at the end of sixty days (June 20, 1863). Meanwhile officers for the new state were chosen, and Governor Pierpont removed his capital to Alexandria where he asserted jurisdiction over the counties of Virginia within the Federal lines. The question of the constitutionality of the formation of the new state was brought before the Supreme Court of the United States in the following manner. Berkeley and Jefferson counties lying on the Potomac east of the mountains, in 1863, with the consent of the " Reorganized " government of Virginia voted in favour of annexation to West Virginia. Many voters absent in the Confederate army when the vote was taken refused to acknowledge the transfer on their return. The Virginia legislature repealed the act of cession and in 1866 brought suit against West Virginia asking the court to declare the counties a part of Virginia. Meanwhile Congress on the 10th of March 1866 passed a joint resolution recognizing the transfer. The Supreme Court in 1871 decided in favour of West Virginia, and there has been no further question. During the Civil War West Virginia suffered comparatively little. McClellan's forces gained possession of the greater part of the territory in the summer of 1861, and Union control was never seriously threatened, in spite of Lee's attempt in the same year. In 1863 General John D. Imboden, with s000 Confederates, overran a considerable portion of the state. Bands of guerrillas burned and plundered in some sections, and were not entirely suppressed until after the war was ended. The state furnished about 36,000 soldiers to the Federal armies and somewhat less than io,000 to the Confederate. The absence in the army of the Confederate sympathizers helps to explain the small vote against the formation of the new state. During the war and for years afterwards partisan feeling ran high. The property of Confederates might be confiscated, and in 1866 a constitutional amendment disfranchising all who had given aid and comfort to the Confederacy was adopted. The addition of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution caused a reaction, the Democratic party secured control in 1870, and in 1871 the constitutional amendment of 1866 was abrogated. The first steps toward this change had been taken, however, by the Republicans in 1870. In 1872 an entirely new constitution was adopted (August 22).

Though the first constitution provided for the assumption of a part of the Virginia debt, negotiations opened by Virginia in 1870 were fruitless, and in 1871 that state funded two-thirds of the debt and arbitrarily assigned the remainder to West Virginia.

The legislature of the latter state in 1873 adopted a report declaring that between 1822 and 1861, during which period the debt had been incurred, the western counties had paid an excess of taxes, more than equal to the amount which had been expended in the west for the purposes for which the debt had been incurred, and concluded with the statement: " West Virginia owes no debt, has no bonds for sale and asks no credit." In 1906 Virginia entered suit in the U.S. Supreme Court to compel West Virginia to assume a portion of the debt. West Virginia demurred, but was overruled, and on the 4th of May 1908 a master was appointed to take testimony. The state rejected decisively the overtures made by Virginia in 1866, looking towards a reunion of the commonwealths.

Republican

186

-1869

1869

186

-1871

Democrat

187

-1877

187

-1881

188

-1885

188

-1890

189

-1893

189

-1897

Republican

189

-1901

190

-1905

Governors of West Virginia. 1905-1909Wm. E. Glasscock. „ 1909 Bibliography. - For general description see Henry Gannett, Gazetteer of West Virginia (Washington, 1904), being Bulletin 233 of the U.S. Geological Survey; the Reports; and the Bulletins of the Geological Survey of West Virginia (Morgantown, 1901 sqq.). Bulletin I is a Bibliography of Works upon the Geology and Natural Resources of West Virginia, by S. S. Brown; folios 26, 28, 32, 34, 44, 69, 7 2, 77 and 160 of the Geologic Atlas of the United States; M. F. Maury and W. M. Fontaine, Resources of West Virginia (Charleston, 1876); and George W. Summers, The Mountain State (ibid. 1893). For administration and history see the Manual of West Virginia (Charleston, 1907), issued by the Secretary of State; West Virginia Public Documents (ibid. 1902 sqq.); The Code of West Virginia (St Paul, 1906);; A. R. Whitehill, History of Education in West Virginia (Washington, 1902), a Circular of Information of the U.S. Bureau of Education; a History of Education in West Virginia (Charleston, 1904), by the State Superintendent of Free Schools; V. A. Lewis, History of West Virginia (new ed., New York, 1904), and History and Government of West Virg i nia (Chicago, 1896); R. E. Fast and Hu Maxwell, History and Government of West Virginia (Morgantown, 1901; new edition, 1908); A. S. Withers, Chronicles of Border Warfare (1831, reprinted Cincinnati, 1905); J. P. Hale, Trans-Alleghany Pioneers (Cincinnati, 1887); W. P. Willey, Formation of West Virginia (Wheeling, 1901); and M. F. Callahan, Evolution of the Constitution of West Virginia (Morgantown, 1909).


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Map of US highlighting West Virginia

Etymology

From west + Virginia.

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
West Virginia

Plural
-

West Virginia

  1. A state of the United States of America. Capital: Charleston.

Derived terms

Translations

See also

External links


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of West Virginia
Flag of West Virginia State seal of West Virginia
Flag of West Virginia SealImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Mountain State
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Montani semper liberi
Map of the United States with West Virginia highlighted
Official language(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif English
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Charleston
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Charleston
Largest metro areaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Charleston metro area
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 41stImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 24,244 sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(62,809 km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 130 miles (210 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 240 miles (385 km)
 - % water 0.6
 - Latitude 37° 12′ N to 40° 39′ N
 - Longitude 77° 43′ W to 82° 39′ W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 37thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 1,808,344
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 75.1/sq mi 
29.0/km² (27th)
 - Median incomeImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  $32,589 (50th)
ElevationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - Highest point Spruce Knob[1]
4,863 ft  (1,427 m)
 - Mean 1,500 ft  (460 m)
 - Lowest point Potomac River[1]
240 ft  (73 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  June 20, 1863 (35)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Joe Manchin (D)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Robert C. Byrd (D)
Jay Rockefeller (D)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zoneImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations WVImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-WVImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site www.wv.gov

West Virginia (IPA: /ˌwɛstvɚˈdʒɪnjə/) is a state in the Appalachia / Upland South region of the United States. West Virginia broke away from Virginia during the American Civil War and was admitted to the Union as a separate state on June 20, 1863 (an anniversary now celebrated as West Virginia Day in the state). It is the only state formed as a direct result of the American Civil War, and the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state.

West Virginia is one of the Border States. The Census Bureau considers West Virginia part of the South because most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon Line, though its northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio with Weirton on a parallel with Pittsburgh. The unique position of West Virginia means that it is included in a wide variety of geographical regions (though often only marginally), such as the Upper South, the Upland South, the Southeastern United States, the Southern United States, the Mid-Atlantic, Appalachia and even the Midwestern United States and Northeastern United States. Notably, it is the only state which entirely lies within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is a common definition of "Appalachia".[2] While West Virginians recognize that their state is part of Appalachia, many do not welcome the term for purposes of self-identification.WVU Social and Cultural Study The state's Northern Panhandle, and North-Central region feel an affinity for Pittsburgh. Also, those in the Eastern Panhandle feel a connection with the Washington suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, and southern West Virginians often consider themselves Southerners. Finally, the towns and farms along the mid-Ohio River have an appearance and culture somewhat resembling the Midwest, see: An Introduction to West Virginia's Ethnic Communities. The capital and largest city is Charleston.

The state is noted for its great natural beauty, its historically significant logging and coal mining industries, and its labor history. It is also well known as a tourist destination for those people interested in outdoor activities such as skiing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, fishing, hiking, and hunting.

Contents

Geography

Shaded relief map of the Cumberland Plateau and Ridge-and-valley Appalachians.
The summit of Spruce Knob is often covered in clouds.
Main article: Geography of West Virginia
See also: List of counties in West Virginia and List of West Virginia county seats

West Virginia is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north; by Ohio to the north and west; by Kentucky to the west; by Maryland to the north and east; and by Virginia to the east and south. The Ohio and Potomac rivers form parts of the boundaries.

West Virginia is the only state in the nation located entirely within the Appalachian Mountain range, and in which all areas are mountainous; for this reason it is nicknamed The Mountain State. About 75% of the state is within the Cumberland Plateau and Allegheny Plateau regions. Though the relief is not high, the plateau region is extremely rugged in most areas.

On the eastern state line with Virginia, high peaks in the Monongahela National Forest region give rise to an island of colder climate and ecosystems similar to those of northern New England and eastern Canada. The highest point in the state is atop Spruce Knob, which at 4,863 feet (1,482 m)[1] is covered in a boreal forest of dense spruce trees at altitudes above 4,000 feet (1,220 m). Spruce Knob lies within the Monongahela National Forest and is a part of the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. [2] A total of six wilderness areas can also be found within the forest. Outside the forest to the south, the New River Gorge is a 1,000-foot (304 m) deep canyon carved by the New River. The National Park Service manages a portion of the gorge and river that has been designated as the New River Gorge National River, one of only 15 rivers in the U.S. with this level of protection.

Other areas under protection and management include:

The native vegetation for most of the state was originally mixed hardwood forest of oak, chestnut, maple, beech, and white pine, with willow and American sycamore along the state's waterways. Many of the areas are rich in biodiversity and scenic beauty, a fact that is appreciated by native West Virginians, who refer to their home as Almost Heaven. Ecologically, most of West Virginia falls into the Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests ecoregion.

The underlying rock strata are sandstones, shales, bituminous coal beds, and limestones laid down in a near shore environment from sediments derived from mountains to the east, in a shallow inland sea on the west. Some beds illustrate a coastal swamp environment, some river delta, some shallow water. Sea level rose and fell many times during the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian eras, giving a variety of rock strata. The Appalachian Mountains are some of the oldest on earth, having formed over 300 million years ago.

Climate

The climate of West Virginia borders on a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa) in the lower elevations of the extreme southwestern part of the state (including Huntington) and parts of the Eastern Panhandle east of the Appalachians with hot, humid summers and milder winters. The rest of the state has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa, except Dfb at the higher elevations) with warm to hot, humid summers and cold winters, increasing in severity with elevation. However, the weather is subject in all parts of the state to change. The hardiness zones range from zone 5b in the central Appalachian mountains to zone 7a in the warmest parts of the lowest elevations. In the Eastern Panhandle and the Ohio River Valley temperatures are warm enough to see and grow subtropical plants such as Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Crepe Myrtle, Albizia julibrissin, American Sweetgum and even the occasional needle palm and sabal minor. These plants don't thrive as well in other parts of the state.

Average January temperatures range from around 28°F (-2°C) near the Cheat River to 43°F (5°C) along sections of the border with Kentucky. July averages range from 67°F (19°C) along the North Branch Potomac River to 76°F (24°C) in the western part of the state. It is cooler in the mountains than in the lower sections of the state.

Annual precipitation ranges from less than 32 inches (810 mm) in the lower eastern section to more than 56 inches (1,400 mm) in higher parts of the Allegheny Front. Slightly more than half the rainfall occurs from April to September. Dense fogs are common in many valleys of the Kanawha section, especially the Tygart Valley. Snow usually lasts only a few days in the lower sections but may persist for weeks in the higher mountain areas. An average of 34 inches (86 cm) of snow falls annually in Charleston, although during the winter of 1995-1996 more than three times that amount fell as several cities in the state established new records for snowfall.

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various West Virginia Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Beckley 39/22 43/25 52/32 62/41 71/49 77/57 80/61 79/60 73/54 63/42 52/34 43/26
Charleston 43/24 47/27 57/34 67/42 75/50 82/58 85/63 84/62 77/55 67/43 56/35 47/28
Elkins 39/18 44/20 53/27 63/35 72/44 78/53 82/58 80/57 74/50 64/37 53/29 44/22
Huntington 41/24 46/28 56/36 67/44 75/53 82/61 85/65 84/64 77/57 66/45 55/37 45/29
[3]

History

West Virginia's unique geography allowed for exploration from two concurrent directions and a duality of a "Border State".

Prehistory

The area now known as West Virginia was a favorite hunting ground of numerous Native American peoples before the arrival of European settlers. Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various mound builder cultures survive, especially in the areas of Moundsville, South Charleston, and Romney. Although little is known about these civilizations, the artifacts uncovered give evidence of a complex, stratified culture that practiced metallurgy.

European exploration and settlement

Thomas Lee, the first manager of the Ohio Company of Virginia.

In 1671, General Abram Wood, at the direction of Royal Governor William Berkeley of the Virginia Colony, sent a party which discovered Kanawha Falls. In 1716, Governor Alexander Spotswood with about thirty horsemen made an excursion into what is now Pendleton County. John Van Metre, an Indian trader, penetrated into the northern portion in 1725. The same year, German settlers from Pennsylvania founded New Mecklenburg, the present Shepherdstown, on the Potomac River, and others followed.

King Charles II of England, in 1661, granted to a company of gentlemen the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, known as the Northern Neck. The grant finally came into the possession of Thomas Fairfax, and in 1746, a stone was erected at the source of the North Branch Potomac River to mark the western limit of the grant. A considerable part of this land was surveyed by George Washington between 1748 and 1751. The diary kept by the surveyor indicates that there were already many squatters, largely of German origin, along the South Branch Potomac River. Christopher Gist, a surveyor in the employ of the first Ohio Company, which was composed chiefly of Virginians, explored the country along the Ohio River north of the mouth of the Kanawha River between 1751 and 1752. The company sought to have a fourteenth colony established with the name "Vandalia". Many settlers crossed the mountains after 1750, though they were hindered by Native American resistance. Few Native Americans lived permanently within the present limits of the state, but the region was a common hunting ground, crossed by many trails. During the French and Indian War the scattered British settlements were almost destroyed.

In 1774, the Crown Governor of Virginia John Murray, led a force over the mountains, and a body of militia under then-Colonel Andrew Lewis dealt the Shawnee Indians, under Hokoleskwa (or "Cornstalk"), a crushing blow during the Battle of Point Pleasant at the junction of the Kanawha and the Ohio rivers. Native American attacks continued until after the American Revolutionary War. During the war, the settlers in western Virginia were generally active Whigs and many served in the Continental Army.

Trans-Allegheny Virginia, 1776-1861

For more details on this topic, see Virginia.

Social conditions in western Virginia were entirely unlike those in the eastern portion of the state. The population was not homogeneous, as a considerable part of the immigration came by way of Pennsylvania and included Germans, Protestant Ulster-Scots, and settlers from the states farther north. During the American Revolution, the movement to create a state beyond the Alleghanies was revived and a petition for the establishment of "Westsylvania" was presented to Congress, on the grounds that the mountains made an almost impassable barrier on the east. The rugged nature of the country made slavery unprofitable, and time only increased the social, political, economic and cultural differences (see Tuckahoe-Cohee) between the two sections of Virginia.

The convention that met in 1829 to form a new constitution for Virginia, against the protest of the counties beyond the mountains, required a property qualification for suffrage and gave the slave-holding counties the benefit of three-fifths of their slave population in apportioning the state's representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a result, every county beyond the Alleghenies except one voted to reject the constitution, which nevertheless passed because of eastern support. Though the Virginia Constitution of 1850 provided for white male suffrage, the distribution of representation among the counties continued to give control to the section east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Another grievance of the west was the large expenditure for internal improvements at state expense by the Virginia Board of Public Works in the East compared with the scanty proportion allotted to the West.

Separation from Virginia

See also: West Virginia in the American Civil War
John S. Carlile, a leader during the First Wheeling Convention

West Virginia is the only state in the Union to secede from a confederate state, Virginia, during the American Civil War.[3] On April 17, 1861 fifteen of the forty-six delegates from the area located in the present state of West Virginia voted to secede from the United States.[4] Almost immediately after the vote to proceed with secession prevailed in the Virginia General Assembly, a mass meeting at Clarksburg recommended that each county in northwestern Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in Wheeling on May 13 1861. When this First Wheeling Convention met, 425 delegates from 25 counties were present, though more than one-third of the delegates were from the northern panhandle area,[5] but soon there was a division of sentiment. Some delegates favored the immediate formation of a new state, while others argued that, as Virginia's secession had not yet been passed by the required referendum, such action would constitute revolution against the United States.[6] It was decided that if the ordinance were adopted (of which there was little doubt), another convention including the members-elect of the legislature should meet at Wheeling in June. At the election on May 23 1861, secession was ratified by a large majority in the state as a whole, but in the western counties approximately 34,677 voted against and 19,121 voted for the Ordinance.[7]

The Second Wheeling Convention met as agreed on June 11 and declared that, since the Secession Convention had been called without the consent of the people, all its acts were void, and that all who adhered to it had vacated their offices. The Wheeling Conventions, and the delegates themselves, were never actually elected by public ballot to act on behalf of western Virginia.[8] An act for the reorganization of the government was passed on June 19. The next day Francis H. Pierpont was chosen by other delegates at the convention to be governor of Virginia, other officers were elected and the convention adjourned. The legislature was composed of 103 members, 33 of whom had been elected to the Virginia General Assembly[9] on May 23. This number included some hold-over Senators from 1859, and as such had vacated their offices to convene in Wheeling. The other members "were chosen even more irregularly-some in mass meetings, others by county committee, and still others were seemingly self-appointed"[10] They met on June 20 and filled the remainder of the state offices, organized a state government and elected two United States senators who were recognized at Washington At that point, therefore, there were two state governments in Virginia, one pledging allegiance to the United States and one to the Confederacy.

The Wheeling Convention, which had taken a recess until August 6, then reassembled on August 20, and called for a popular vote on the formation of a new state and for a convention to frame a constitution if the vote should be favorable. At the election on October 24 1861, 18,489 votes were cast for the new state and only 781 against. Most of the affirmative votes came from ten counties in the Wheeling area.[11] Over 50,000 votes had been cast on the Ordinance of Secession, yet the vote on statehood gathered only a little over 19,000. In Ohio County, home to Wheeling, a little over one-quarter of the voters cast a vote.[12] At the Constitutional Convention in November 1861, Mr. Lamb of Ohio County and Mr. Carskadon said that in Hampshire County, out of 195 votes only 39 were cast by citizens of the state, the rest by Union soldiers.[13] In most of what would become West Virginia, there was no vote at all as two-thirds of the territory of West Virginia had voted for secession and county officers were still loyal to Richmond.[14] Votes recorded from Secession counties were mostly cast in the northwest by Unionist refugees from those counties.[15] The convention began on November 26 1861, and finished its work on February 18 1862, and the instrument was ratified (18,162 for and 514 against) on April 11 1862.

File:Harper's Ferry seen from Maryland side of Potomac River.jpg
Harpers Ferry (as it appears today) changed hands a dozen times during the American Civil War.

On May 13, the state legislature of the reorganized government approved the formation of the new state. An application for admission to the Union was made to Congress, and on December 31 1862, an enabling act was approved by President Abraham Lincoln admitting West Virginia, on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in the Constitution. The Convention was reconvened on February 12 1863, and the demand was met. The revised constitution was adopted on March 26 1863, and on April 20 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation admitting the state at the end of sixty days (June 20 1863). Meanwhile officers for the new state were chosen and Governor Pierpont moved his capital to Alexandria where he asserted jurisdiction over the counties of Virginia within the Federal lines.

The question of the constitutionality of the formation of the new state was brought before the Supreme Court of the United States in the following manner: Berkeley and Jefferson counties lying on the Potomac east of the mountains, in 1863, with the consent of the reorganized government of Virginia voted in favor of annexation to West Virginia. Many voters absent in the Confederate Army when the vote was taken refused to acknowledge the transfer upon their return. The Virginia General Assembly repealed the act of secession and in 1866 brought suit against West Virginia asking the court to declare the counties a part of Virginia. Meanwhile, Congress, on March 10 1866, passed a joint resolution recognizing the transfer. The Supreme Court, in 1870, decided in favor of West Virginia.[16]

During the American Civil War, West Virginia suffered comparatively little. George B. McClellan's forces gained possession of the greater part of the territory in the summer of 1861, and Union control was never seriously threatened, in spite of the attempt by Robert E. Lee in the same year. In 1863, General John D. Imboden, with 5,000 Confederates, overran a considerable portion of the state. Bands of guerrillas burned and plundered in some sections, and were not entirely suppressed until after the war ended.

The area which became West Virginia furnished about an equal amount of soldiers to the Federal and Confederate governments[4], approximately 22-25,000 each. The Wheeling government found it necessary in 1865 to strip voting rights from returning Confederates. James Ferguson, who proposed the law, said that if it was not enacted he would lose election by 500 votes.[17] The property of Confederates might be confiscated, and in 1866 a constitutional amendment disfranchising all who had given aid and comfort to the Confederacy was adopted. The addition of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution caused a reaction, the Democratic party secured control in 1870, and in 1871, the constitutional amendment of 1866 was abrogated. The first steps toward this change had been taken, however, by the Republicans in 1870. On August 22 1872, an entirely new constitution was adopted.

Beginning in Reconstruction, and for several decades thereafter, the two states disputed the new state's share of the pre-war Virginia government's debt, which had mostly been incurred to finance public infrastructure improvements, such as canals, roads, and railroads under the Virginia Board of Public Works. Virginians, led by former Confederate General William Mahone, formed a political coalition which was based upon this theory, the Readjuster Party. Although West Virginia's first constitution provided for the assumption of a part of the Virginia debt, negotiations opened by Virginia in 1870 were fruitless, and in 1871, that state funded two-thirds of the debt and arbitrarily assigned the remainder to West Virginia. The issue was finally settled in 1915, when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that West Virginia owed Virginia $12,393,929.50. The final installment of this sum was paid off in 1939.

Hidden resources

After Reconstruction, the new 35th state benefited from development of its mineral resources more than any other single economic activity.

Salt mining had been underway since the 18th century, though it had largely played out by the time of the American Civil War, when the red salt of Kanawha County was a valued commodity of first Confederate, and later Union forces. Later, more sophisticated mining methods would restore West Virginia's role as a major producer of salt.

However, in the second half of the 19th century, there was an even greater treasure not yet developed. It was one that would fuel much of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. and the steamships of many of the world's navies: bituminous coal.

The residents (both Native Americans and early European settlers) had long-known of the underlying coal, and that it could be used for heating and fuel. However, for a long time, very small "personal" mines were the only practical development. After the War, with the new railroads came a practical method to transport large quantities of coal to expanding U.S. and export markets. As the anthracite mines of northwestern New Jersey and Pennsylvania began to play out during this same time period, investors and industrialists focused new interest in West Virginia. Geologists such as Dr. David T. Ansted surveyed potential coal fields and invested in land and early mining projects.

The completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) across the state to the new city of Huntington on the Ohio River in 1872 opened access to the New River Coal Field. Soon, the C&O was building its huge coal pier at Newport News on the large harbor of Hampton Roads. In 1881, the new Philadelphia-based owners of the former Atlantic (AM&O) which stretched across Virginia's southern tier from Norfolk, had sights clearly set on the Mountain State, where the owners had large land holdings. Their railroad was renamed Norfolk and Western (N&W), and a new railroad city was developed at Roanoke to handle planned expansion. After its new president Frederick J. Kimball and a small party journeyed by horseback and saw firsthand the rich bituminous coal seam which his wife named "Pocahontas", the N&W redirected its planned westward expansion to reach it. Soon, the N&W was also shipping from new coal piers at Hampton Roads.

In 1889, in the southern part of the state, along the Norfolk and Western rail lines, the important coal center of Bluefield was founded. The "capital" of the Pocahontas coalfield, this city would remain the largest city in the southern portion of the state for several decades. It shares a sister city with the same name, Bluefield, in Virginia.

In the northern portion of the state and elsewhere, the older Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) and other lines also expanded to take advantage of coal opportunities as well. The B&O developed coal piers in Baltimore and at several points on the Great Lakes. Other significant rail carriers of coal were the Western Maryland Railway (WM), Southern Railway (SOU), and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N).

Particularly notable was a latecomer, the Virginian Railway (VGN). By 1900, only a large area of the most rugged terrain of southern West Virginia was any distance from the existing railroads and mining activity. Within this area west of the New River Coalfield in Raleigh and Wyoming counties lay the Winding Gulf Coalfield, later promoted as the "Billion Dollar Coalfield."

A protégé of Dr. Ansted was William Nelson Page (1854-1932), a civil engineer and mining manager in Fayette County. Former West Virginia Governor William A. MacCorkle described him as a man who knew the land "as a farmer knows a field." Beginning in 1898, Page teamed with northern and European-based investors to take advantage of the undeveloped area. They acquired large tracts of land in the area, and Page began the Deepwater Railway, a short-line railroad which was chartered to stretch between the C&O at its line along the Kanawha River and the N&W at Matoaka, a distance of about 80 miles.

Although the Deepwater plan should have provided a competitive shipping market via either railroad, leaders of the two large railroads did not appreciate the scheme. In secret collusion, each declined to negotiate favorable rates with Page, nor did they offer to purchase his railroad, as they had many other short-lines. However, if the C&O and N&W presidents thought they could thus kill the Page project, they were to be proved mistaken. One of the silent partner investors Page had enlisted was millionaire industrialist Henry Huttleston Rogers, a principal in John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust and an old hand at developing natural resources, transportation. A master at competitive "warfare", Henry Rogers did not like to lose in his endeavors, and also had "deep pockets".

Instead of giving up, Page (and Rogers) quietly planned and then built their tracks all the way east across Virginia, using Rogers' private fortune to finance the $40 million cost. When the renamed Virginian Railway (VGN) was completed in 1909, no less than three railroads were shipping ever-increasing volumes of coal to export from Hampton Roads. West Virginia coal was also under high demand at Great Lakes ports as well. The VGN and the N&W) ultimately became parts of the modern Norfolk Southern system, and the VGN's well-engineered 20th century tracks continue to offer a favorable gradient to Hampton Roads.

As coal mining and related work became a major employment activities in the state, there was considerable labor strife as working conditions, safety issues, and economic concerns arose. Even in the 21st century, mining safety and ecological concerns were challenging to the state whose coal continued to power electrical generating plants in many other states.

Coal is not the only valuable mineral found in West Virginia, as the state was the site of the 1928 discovery of the 34.48 carat (6.896 g) Jones Diamond..

Demographics

West Virginia population density map.


The center of population of West Virginia is located in Braxton County, in the town of Gassaway [5].

As of 2005, West Virginia has an estimated population of 1,816,856, which is an increase of 4,308, or 0.2%, from the prior year and an increase of 8,506, or 0.5%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural decrease since the last census of 3,296 people (that is 108,292 births minus 111,588 deaths) and an increase from net migration of 14,209 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 3,691 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 10,518 people.

Only 1.1% of the state's residents were foreign-born, placing West Virginia last among the 50 states in that statistic. It has the lowest percentage of residents that speak a language other than English in the home (2.7%).

The five largest ancestry groups in West Virginia are: American (23.2%), German (17.2%), Irish (13.5%) (Most actually Scots-Irish), English (12%), Italian (4.8%).

Large numbers of people of German ancestry are present in the northeastern counties of the state.

5.6% of West Virginia's population were reported as under 5, 22.3% under 18, and 15.3% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.4% of the population. {{US DemogTable|West Virginia|03-54.csv|= | 96.01| 3.49| 0.59| 0.66| 0.05|= | 0.63| 0.04| 0.02| 0.01| 0.01|= | 95.99| 3.56| 0.56| 0.69| 0.05|= | 0.80| 0.04| 0.02| 0.01| 0.01|= | 0.46| 2.49| -3.96| 5.57| -2.80|= | 0.28| 2.30| -4.24| 5.96| -0.52|= | 27.74| 21.51| 5.56| -20.22| -16.67}}

Economy

Main article: Economy of West Virginia

The economy of West Virginia is one of the most fragile of any U.S. state. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, West Virginia is the third lowest in per capita income [6], ahead of only Arkansas and Mississippi. It also ranks last in median household income. [7] The proportion of West Virginia's adult population with a bachelor's degree is the lowest in the U.S. at 15.3%. [8]

One of the major resources in West Virginia's economy is coal. West Virginia also engaged in oil drilling, but currently only has a few small to medium sized oil and natural gas fields. Farming is also practiced in West Virginia, but on a limited basis because of the mountainous terrain over much of the state.

Bituminous coal seam in southwestern West Virginia

West Virginia personal income tax is based on federal adjusted gross income (not taxable income), as modified by specific items in West Virginia law. Citizens are taxed within 5 income brackets, which range from 3.0% to 6.5%. The state's consumer sales tax is levied at 6%. Effective January 1, 2004 calculation of WV consumer sales tax has been converted to a calculated figure from the bracket system, and remains at six percent for most goods (food goods are now taxable at five percent). The computation of tax is carried out to the third decimal place and rounded up when the third decimal place is five (.005) or higher; and similarly rounded down if the third place is four (.004) or lower. By virtue of this method, sales totaling $0.08 and below would not have a sales tax associated with them. [9]

West Virginia counties administer and collect property taxes, although property tax rates reflect levies for state government, county governments, county boards of education, and municipalities. Counties may also impose a hotel occupancy tax on lodging places not located within the city limits of any municipality that levies such a tax. Municipalities may levy license and gross receipts taxes on businesses located within the city limits and a hotel occupancy tax on lodging places in the city. Although the Department of Tax and Revenue plays a major role in the administration of this tax, less than one-half of one percent of the property tax collected goes to state government. The primary beneficiaries of the property tax are county boards of education. Property taxes are paid to the sheriff of each of the state's 55 counties. Each county and municipality can impose its own rates of property taxation within the limits set by the West Virginia Constitution. The West Virginia legislature sets the rate of tax of county boards of education. This rate is used by all county boards of education statewide. However, the total tax rate for county boards of education may differ from county to county because of excess levies. The Department of Tax and Revenue supervises and otherwise assists counties and municipalities in their work of assessment and tax rate determination. The total tax rate is a combination of the tax levies from four state taxing authorities: state, county, schools, and municipal. This total tax rate varies for each of the four classes of property, which consists of personal, real, and intangible properties. Property is assessed according to its use, location, and value as of July 1. All property is reappraised every three years; annual adjustments are made to assessments for property with a change of value. West Virginia does not impose an inheritance tax. Because of the phase-out of the federal estate tax credit, West Virginia's estate tax is not imposed on estates of persons who died in 2005.

Transportation

A toll plaza West Virginia Turnpike.
The Veterans Memorial Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 22.
Main article: Transportation in West Virginia

Highways form the backbone of transportation systems in West Virginia, with over 37,300 miles of public roads in the state.[18] Airports, railroads, and rivers complete the commercial transportation modes for West Virginia. Commercial air travel is facilitated by airports in Charleston, Huntington, Beckley, Bluefield, Lewisburg, Clarksburg, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, and Parkersburg. Cities like Charleston, Huntington, Clarksburg, Fairmont, Bluefield, and Logan have bus-based public transit systems. Charleston also has a limited number of trolley cars that run primarily through the downtown area. West Virginia University in Morgantown boasts a PRT (personal rapid transit) system, the state's only single rail public transit system. Developed by Boeing, the WVU School of Engineering and the Department of Transportation, it was a model for low-capacity light transport designed for smaller cities. It was also the model for DisneyWorld's tram system. Recreational transportation opportunities abound in West Virginia, including hiking trails,[19] rail trails,[20] ATV off road trails,[21] white water rafting rivers,[22] and two tourist railroads (Cass Scenic Railroad,[23] and the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad.[24])

West Virginia is crossed by several interstate highways. I-64 enters the state near White Sulphur Springs in the mountainous east, and exits for Kentucky in the west, near Huntington. I-77 enters from Virginia in the south, near Bluefield. It runs north past Parkersburg before it crosses into Ohio. I-64 and I-77 are merged in a stretch of toll road known as the West Virginia Turnpike, on which construction began in 1952. It runs from just east of Charleston south to the exit for Princeton. I-68's western terminus is in Morgantown. From there it runs east into Maryland. At the I-68 terminus, it meets I-79, which enters from Pennsylvania and runs through the state to its southern terminus in Charleston. I-70 briefly runs through West Virginia, crossing the northern panhandle through Wheeling. I-81 also briefly runs in West Virginia through the Eastern Panhandle where it goes through Martinsburg.

Rail lines in the state used to be more prevalent, but many lines have been discontinued because of increased automobile traffic. Many old tracks have been converted to rail trails for recreational use, and the state is still served by a few commercial lines for hauling coal and by Amtrak. In 2006 Norfolk Southern along with the West Virginia and U.S. Government approved a plan to modify many of the rail tunnels in West Virginia, espeically in the southern half of the state, to allow for double stacked cars (see intermodal freight). This is expected to also help bring economic growth to the southern half of the state.

Because of the mountainous nature of the entire state, West Virginia has several notable tunnels and bridges. The most famous of these is the New River Gorge Bridge, which was at a time the longest steel single-arch bridge in the world with a 3,031-foot (924 m) span. The bridge is also pictured on the West Virginia state quarter. The Veterans Memorial Bridge (Weirton-Steubenville Bridge) was at its time of construction one of only three cable-stayed steel girder trusses in the United States. It connects Steubenville with Weirton along US Route 22.

Law and government

Main article: Law and government of West Virginia

West Virginia's capital and seat of government is the city of Charleston, located in the southwest area of the state.

Legislative Branch

Further information: West Virginia LegislatureImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif

The West Virginia Legislature is bicameral, consisting of the House of Delegates and the Senate. It is a citizen's legislature, meaning that legislative office is not a full-time occupation, but rather a part-time position. Consequently, the legislators often hold a full-time job in their community of residence.

Typically, the legislature is in session for 60 days between January and early April. The final day of the regular session ends in a bewildering fury of last-minute legislation in order to meet a constitutionally imposed deadline of midnight. During the remainder of the year, monthly interim sessions are held in preparation for the regular session. Legislators also gather periodically for 'special' sessions when called by the governor.

Executive Branch

Further information: List of Governors of West VirginiaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif


The governor, elected every four years on the same day as the U.S. Presidential election, is sworn in during the following January.

Governors of West Virginia can serve two consecutive terms but must sit out a term before serving a third term in office.

Judicial Branch

Further information: Supreme Court of Appeals of West VirginiaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif

West Virginia is one of twelve states that does not have a death penalty.

For the purpose of courts of general jurisdiction, the state is divided into 31 judicial circuits. Each circuit is made up of one or more counties. Circuit judges are elected in partisan elections to serve eight-year terms.

West Virginia’s highest court is the Supreme Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is the busiest appellate court of its type in the United States. West Virginia is one of 11 states with a single appellate court. The state constitution allows for the creation of an intermediate court of appeals, but the Legislature has never created one. The Supreme Court is made up of five justices, elected in partisan elections to 12-year terms.

West Virginia is an alcoholic beverage control state. However, unlike most such states, it does not operate retail outlets, having exited that business in 1990. It retains a monopoly on wholesaling of distilled spirits only.

Politics

The West Virginia State Capitol.
Main article: Politics of West Virginia

West Virginia's politics are largely dominated by the Democratic Party as Democrats dominate most local and state offices. West Virginia also has a very strong tradition of union membership. While the state continued its Democratic tradition by supporting Bill Clinton by large margins in 1992 and 1996, a majority of West Virginia voters supported George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Bush won the state's five electoral votes in 2004 by a margin of 13 percentage points with 56.1% of the vote.

The most consistent support for Democrats is found in the coal fields of southern West Virginia (especially McDowell, Mingo, Logan, Wyoming, and Boone Counties), while Republicans are most numerous to the east of the Allegheny Mountains, especially in the state's Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands. The Northern Panhandle and North-Central West Virginia regions usually split right down the middle in terms of being Republican or Democrat.

Important cities and towns

See also: List of cities in West Virginia, List of towns in West Virginia, List of villages in West Virginia, List of census-designated places in West Virginia
Charleston is West Virginia's most populous city

Large cities (+ 10,000 population)

Towns and small cities

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Education

Main article: Education in West Virginia

Colleges and universities

Further information: List of colleges and universities in West VirginiaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif

Sports

Main article: Sports in West Virginia
Club Sport League
West Virginia Mountaineers Football College Football
Marshall Thundering Herd Football College Football
Bluefield Orioles Baseball Appalachian League
Princeton Devil Rays Baseball Appalachian League
West Virginia Power Baseball South Atlantic League
Wheeling Nailers Ice hockey ECHL
West Virginia Wild Basketball International Basketball League
Huntington Heroes Indoor football American Indoor Football Association
Ohio Valley Greyhounds Indoor football United Indoor Football
West Virginia Chaos Dogs USL Premier Development League

Miscellaneous topics

West Virginia state insignia
Motto Montani semper liberi (Latin, "Mountaineers are Always Free")
Slogan Wild and Wonderful
Open for Business' (former)'
Almost Heaven (former)
Bird Northern Cardinal
(Cardinalis cardinalis)
Animal Black Bear
(Ursus americanus)
Fish Brook Trout
(Salvelinus fontinalis)
Insect European Honey Bee
(Apis mellifera)
Flower Rhododendron
(Rhododendron maximum)
Tree Sugar Maple
(Acer saccharum)
Song "The West Virginia Hills"
"This Is My West Virginia"
"West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home"
Quarter West Virginia quarter
Released in 2005
Butterfly Monarch Butterfly
(Danaus plexippus)
Colors Old Gold and Blue
Gemstone Silicified Mississippian Fossil Coral
(Lithostrotionella)
Soil Monongahela Silt Loam
Fruit Golden Delicious Apple
(Malus domestica)

The state has a rich, lush beauty reflecting its temperate topography. Tourist sites include the New River Gorge Bridge,[25] Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and many state parks. The Greenbrier hotel and resort, originally built in 1778, has long been considered a premier hotel frequented by numerous world leaders and U.S. Presidents over the years. West Virginia is also home to the Green Bank Telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

A common story told about West Virginia is the folktale about how it got the nickname "West, By God, Virginia". According to the legend, a West Virginia native who was being inducted into the US Army during the First World War (some versions make it as early as the Spanish-American War), was repeatedly asked by his induction officer, "What part of Virginia?" And the soldier, finally getting fed up with the confusion, said "Not Virginia! West Virginia! West, by God, Virginia!". This story, whether true or not, has entered American folklore, and it is not unusual to hear not only West Virginians themselves, but other Americans, refer to the state as "West, By God, Virginia", or often as "West By-God", or sometimes simply as "By-God". Many West Virginians, when travelling outside the state, or when abroad, enjoy paying homage to the legend by referring to their home state in this manner.

Film

See also: List of television shows and movies in West Virginia

The Night of the Hunter (1955): filmed in Moundsville and Hollywood.

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004): set in Fraziers Bottom, West Virginia.

Live Free or Die Hard (2007): One scene is set in Middleton, West Virginia.

Walk the Line (2005): Actors Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon played Johnny Cash and June Cater in a scene featuring Wheeling, West Virginia in which they talk to locals and perform a concert.

Silent Hill (2006): adapted from the Konami video game series of the same name, this film is set in the fictional Toluca County, West Virginia.

Paradise Park (1990): set and filmed in West Virginia.

We Are Marshall (2006): set at Marshall University in Huntington. Filmed in Huntington and Atlanta, Georgia.

Wrong Turn (2003): set in West Virginia, although the movie was filmed in Ontario, Canada.

Bubble (2005): set and filmed in Belpre and Parkersburg.

The Mothman Prophecies (2002): set in Point Pleasant, but filmed in Pennsylvania.

October Sky (1999): set in Coalwood in McDowell County, but filmed in Tennessee.

Matewan (1987): set in Matewan, filmed in Thurmond.

Reckless (1984): partially filmed in Weirton.

The Deer Hunter (1978): partially filmed in Weirton, but is set in Western Pennsylvania.

Fool's Parade (1971): set in 1930s West Virginia, filmed in Moundsville.

Holy Ghost People (1967): documentary on a congregation in Scrabble Creek, West Virginia.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Partly filmed in Weirton, West Virginia.

Rocket Science (2007)

Music

Main article: Music of West Virginia

Appalachian Music

West Virginia's folk heritage is a part of the Appalachian folk music tradition, and includes styles of fiddling, ballad singing, and other styles that draw on Scots-Irish music. Camp Washington-Carver, a Mountain Cultural Arts Center located at Clifftop in Fayette County, hosts an annual Appalachian String Band Festival [10]. The Capitol Complex in Charleston hosts The Vandalia Gathering, where traditional Appalachian musicians compete in contests and play in impromptu jam sessions and evening concerts over the course of the weekend [11].

Classical Music

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1939, as the Charleston Civic Orchestra, before becoming the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in 1943. The first conductor was William R. Wiant, followed by the prominent conductor Antonio Modarelli, who was written about in the November 7, 1949 Time Magazine for his composition of the River Saga, a six-section program piece about the Kanawha River according to the Charleston Gazette's November 6, 1999 photo essay, "Snapshots of the 20th Century".[12]. Prior to coming to Charleston, Modarelli had conducted the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, according to the orchestra's website. [13]

Musical Innovation

The West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston[26] is home to the West Virginia Division of Culture and History[27] which helps underwrite and coordinate a large number of musical activities. The Center is also home to Mountain Stage, the internationally broadcast live-performance music radio program established in 1983.[28] The program also travels to other venues in the state such as the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center in Morgantown.[29]

The Center hosts concerts sponsored by the Friends of Old Time Music and Dance, which brings an assortment of acoustic roots music to West Virginians.[30] The Center also hosts the West Virginia Dance Festival, which features classical and modern dance.[31]

Huntington's historic Keith-Albee Theatre, built by brothers A.B. and S.J. Hyman, was originally opened to the public on May 7, 1928, and hosts a variety of performing arts and music attractions. The theatre was eventually gifted to Marshall University and is currently going through renovation to restore it to its original splendor.

The town of Glenville has long been home to the annual West Virginia State Folk Festival. [14]

The Mountaineer Opera House in Milton hosts a variety of musical acts.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Elevations and Distances in the United States. U.S Geological Survey (29 April 2005). Retrieved on November 9, 2006.
  2. ^ Appalachian Region: Counties in Appalachia. Appalachian Regional Commission. Retrieved on 2007-11-13.
  3. ^ http://www.wvculture.org/history/statehood/statehood12.html " Chapter Twelve "Reorganized Government of Virginia Approves Separation"
  4. ^ Charles Ambler "The History of West Virginia", 1933, pg. 309
  5. ^ J. McGregor "The Disruption of Virginia", pg. 193
  6. ^ The [[United States Constitution|]] provides that no state may be divided without its consent.
  7. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 147
  8. ^ C. Ambler "The History of West Virginia", pg. 318
  9. ^ Virgil Lewis "How West Virginia Was Made" pgs. 79-80
  10. ^ Charles Ambler "The History of West Virginia", pg. 318
  11. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pgs. 141-152
  12. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 149
  13. ^ J. McGregor "The Disruption of Virginia", pg. 270
  14. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided" map, pg. 49
  15. ^ Richard O. Curry "A House Divided", pg. 86
  16. ^ Virginia v. West Virginia, 78 U.S. 39 (1870)
  17. ^ Charles Ambler "Disfranchisement in West Virginia", Yale Review, 1905, pg. 41
  18. ^ West Virginia Department of Transportation, accessed 9 June 2006
  19. ^ de Hart, A, and Sundquist, B., Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Charleston, WV 1993.
  20. ^ West Virginia Rails-to-Trails Council, accessed 9 June 9, 2006
  21. ^ Hatfield and McCoys Trail web site, accessed 6 June 2006
  22. ^ WV White Water web site, access 6 June 2006
  23. ^ Cass Scenic Railroad web site, accessed 6 June 9, 2006
  24. ^ Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, accessed 6 June 2006
  25. ^ The New River Gorge Bridge is one of just two U.S. sites which have granted explicit permission for [[BASE jumping|]]. This occurs each year on the third Saturday in October, known as "Bridge Day". Bridge Day website, accessed January 17, 2006.
  26. ^ West Virginia Cultural Center accessed January 19, 2006.
  27. ^ West Virginia Division of Culture and History accessed January 19, 2006
  28. ^ In 2001, Mountain Stage debuted a television show featuring many of the radio program's guests. Mountain Stage, accessed January 20, 2006.
  29. ^ Greater Morgantown Convention & Visitors Bureau, accessed January 20, 2006.
  30. ^ A list of events can be found on the FOOTMAD website [1].
  31. ^ West Virginia Dance Festival, accessed January 20, 2006.

Further reading

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • Charles H. Ambler, A History of Education in West Virginia From Early Colonial Times to 1949 (1951)
  • Charles H. Ambler and Festus P. Summers. West Virginia, the Mountain State (1958)
  • Jane S. Becker, Inventing Tradition: Appalachia and the Construction of an American Folk, 1930-1940 1998.
  • Richard A. Brisbin, et al. West Virginia Politics and Government (1996)
  • James Morton Callahan, History of West Virginia (1923) 3 vol
  • John C. Campbell, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland (1921)reissued 1969.
  • Richard Orr Curry, A House Divided: A Study of Statehood Politics and Copperhead Movement in West Virginia (1964)
  • Donald Edward Davis. Where There Are Mountains: An Environmental History of the Southern Appalachians 2000.
  • Ronald D, Eller. Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880–1930 1982.
  • Carl E. Feather, Mountain People in a Flat Land: A Popular History of Appalachian Migration to Northeast Ohio, 1940–1965. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1998.
  • Thomas R. Ford ed. The Southern Appalachian Region: A Survey. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1967.
  • Horace Kephart, Our Southern Highlanders. Rev. ed. New York: Macmillan, 1922. Reprinted as Our Southern Highlanders: A Narrative of Adventure in the Southern Appalachians and a Study of Life among the Mountaineers . With an Introduction by George Ellison. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976.
  • Gerald Milnes, Play of a Fiddle: Traditional Music, Dance, and Folklore in West Virginia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1999.
  • Otis K. Rice, The Allegheny Frontier: West Virginia Beginnings, 1730-1830 (1970),
  • Otis K. Rice and Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia: A History, 2d ed. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1993), standard
  • Curtis Seltzer, Fire in the Hole: Miners and Managers in the American Coal Industry (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985), conflict in the coal industry to the 1980s.
  • Joe William Trotter Jr., Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia, 1915-32 (1990)
  • John Alexander Williams, West Virginia: A History for Beginners. 2nd ed. Charleston, W.Va.: Appalachian Editions, 1997.
  • John Alexander Williams. West Virginia: A Bicentennial History (1976)
  • John Alexander Williams. West Virginia and the Captains of Industry 1976.
  • John Alexander Williams. Appalachia: A History (2002)

Primary sources

  • Elizabeth Cometti, and Festus P. Summers. The Thirty-fifth State: A Documentary History of West Virginia. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1966.

External links

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Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: West Virginia



CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 39° N 80.5° W

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Simple English

State of West Virginia
File:Flag of West File:Seal of West
Flag of West Virginia Seal of West Virginia
Also called: Mountain State
Saying(s): Montani semper liberi
[[File:|center|Map of the United States with West Virginia highlighted]]
Capital Charleston
Largest city Charleston
Area  Ranked 41st
 - Total 24,244 sq mi
(62,809 km²)
 - Width 130 miles (210 km)
 - Length 240 miles (385 km)
 - % water 0.6
 - Latitude 37°10'N to 40°40'N
 - Longitude 77°40'W to 82°40'W
Number of people  Ranked 37th
 - Total (2010) {{{2010Pop}}}
 - Density {{{2010DensityUS}}}/sq mi 
{{{2010Density}}}/km² (27th)
 - Average income  $32,589 (50th)
Height above sea level  
 - Highest point Spruce Knob[1]
4,863 ft  (1,427 m)
 - Average 1,500 ft  (460 m)
 - Lowest point Potomac River[1]
240 ft  (73 m)
Became part of the U.S.  June 20, 1863 (35th)
Governor Joe Manchin (D)
U.S. Senators Carte Goodwin (D)
Jay Rockefeller (D)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations WV US-WV
Web site www.wv.gov

West Virginia is a state in the United States. Its capital and largest city is Charleston. It is often abbreviated W. Va. or simply WV.

West Virginia is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, by Ohio to the north and west, by Kentucky to the west, by Maryland to the north and east, and by Virginia to the east and south. The Ohio and Potomac Rivers form parts of the boundaries.

Statehood

West Virginia became a state in 1863. West Virginia was once a part of Virginia. At the beginning of the American Civil War, Virginia and the other southern states seceded from the United States, which means they chose to not be a part of it anymore. The people in the western part of the state felt that they had very little power in the state's affairs, including its decision to secede. They seceded from Virginia and formed their own state, West Virginia. After the war, the United States was brought back together, but West Virginia never rejoined Virginia.

Geography

West Virginia is often called the "Mountain State" because it is entirely within the Appalachian Mountain Range, and there are many hills and mountains throughout the state. The highest one is Spruce Knob, which is 4,863 feet above sea level. There are many rivers, including the Ohio, the Potomac, the Kanawha, and the Monongahela.

References

frr:West Virginia







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