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The Places Where We Live – West Virginia

Welcome to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia by Linda (Angeleyes)

 

 

Yes, you read it right.  Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.  So many times when asked “Where are you from?  West Virginian’s hear “oh Western Virginia?”  No, not Western Virginia.  Noted for its mountains and rich terrain, West Virginia became the 35th state of the union on June 20, 1863.

With a population of only 1,816,856 in 24,231 miles 75% of the state is covered with forest, giving reason to the nickname “The Mountain State”.   Myself, I’m a transplant to this great state.  I came here almost 26 years ago and fell in love with the mountains, the trees, the wildlife.  Much different than the concrete jungle where I grew up.  One of my favorite things to do is just jump in the car and go for a ride.  The state is absolutely beautiful no matter what time of year.  And it is such a diverse state that there truly is something for everyone.   Small towns with warmth and charm, larger cities, camping, biking, hiking, skiing, hunting, fishing, spelunking, and some of the best white water rafting in the country.   Whatever you’re looking for you can find it here.  Another neat aspect of West Virginia is its history which is filled with as many twists and turns as our famed country roads. Here you’ll find Native American burial mounds, re-creations of frontier forts, sites that recognize the heritage of our early presidents and in many of the small towns it’s like stepping back in time with general stores, outhouses, antique tools and appliances.

West Virginia is not a leading agricultural state because its rugged terrain and mountainous landscape have made farming difficult. The state relies on its rich mineral deposits and natural resources, oil, natural gas, timber, clay, limestone, salt and sand. Chemical production is West Virginia’s most important industry.  Coal deposits can be found under about two-thirds of West Virginia’s land, making it one of the leading producers of soft coal in the country.

If you like college football, West Virginia is the place to be.  WVU and Marshall University football are what bring this state together. And tear it apart.  Everywhere you go, no matter what time of year, you’ll see the blue and gold of WVU or the green of Marshall proudly displayed.  And once a year the day the two stare each other down on the field is an unofficial holiday.  Pick your team, get a cold drink and a good seat because you are in for a great show.  Go Mountaineers !  Go Thundering Herd !  (as you can see I’m sitting on the fence for this one.)

And there can be no discussion of West Virginia without mentioning the Hatfields and McCoys.  Most of us remember the story from our childhood.  Two families feuding across state lines: the Hatfields in WV and the McCoys in Kentucky.  The feud has entered the American folklore lexicon as a metaphor for any bitterly feuding rival parties. More than a century later, the story of the feud has become a modern allegory on the perils of family honor, justice and vengeance.

If you ever get a chance plan a trip to West Virginia.  I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it just like I did.

 

Did You Know:

  • The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, West Virginia, on October 23, 1870, on Summers Street, between Kanawha and Virginia Streets.
  • The first organized golf club in America was formed in West Virginia.
  • The first rural free mail delivery was started in Charles Town on October 6, 1896, and then spread throughout the United States.
  • Mother’s Day was first observed at Andrews Church in Grafton on May 10, 1908.
  • The New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville is the second highest steel arch bridge in the United States. The bridge is also the longest steel arch bridge (1,700 feet) in the world. Every October on Bridge Day, the road is closed and individuals parachute and bungee cord jump 876 feet off the bridge. Its West Virginia’s largest single day event and attracts about 100,000 people each year.
  • The first free school for African Americans in the entire south opened in Parkersburg in 1862.
  • Fairmont native Mary Lou Retton became the first woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics at the Los Angeles Olympics. She also took home two silver medals, two bronze medals and went on to become an official spokesperson for Wheaties, appearing on several breakfast cereal packages.
  • Outdoor advertising had its origin in Wheeling about 1908 when the Block Brothers Tobacco Company painted bridges and barns with the wording: “Treat Yourself to the Best, Chew Mail Pouch.” – so yes you can blame all those billboards you see on WV. It’s our fault. : )
  • The favorite karaoke song sung in the state is “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver.
  • The first state sales tax in the United States went into effect in West Virginia on July 1, 1921

 

Literary West Virginia

Pearl S. Buck – Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winning author was born in Hillsboro WV


The Good Earth:
Pearl S. Buck

 

Homer H. Hickam, Jr. – Author of Rocket Boys: A Memoir, the story of his life in the little town of Coalwood, WV that Inspired the #1 Bestseller and Award-Winning Movie October Sky.

Rocket Boys: Homer K Hickam Jr.

John Forbes Nash Jr. – 1994 Nobel Prize winning mathematician who was the subject of the 1998 biography and 2002 film “A Beautiful Mind.” Born and raised in Bluefield WV

A Beautiful Mind The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash: Sylvia Nasar

 

Carlene Thompson – Author of numerous books set in WV.  Born and lives in Point Pleasant, WV

You Can Run: Carlene Thompson

 

The Coffin Quilt: The Feud Between the Hatfields and the McCoys: Ann Rinaldi


 

 

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2 Responses to “The Places Where We Live – West Virginia”

  1. Misty (millywv) says:

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!! Wonderful story, Linda!!!!! Thank you so much for the time you took to bring the beauty and value of our great state to others!

  2. Rachel P. (Retrogram) , says:

    Good job, Linda. You forgot to mention Fiesta dinnerware tho WV is famous for that also!!

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